Dana Point murder victim ID’d as OC ER doc, why an OC ghost bike needs to stay, and $800 million for safe streets

Let’s start with a quick update on the horrific events in Dana Point Wednesday afternoon.

The victim of the incident has been identified as 58-year old Michael John Mammone, an emergency physician with Providence Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach.

Mammone was reportedly stopped in the bike lane at the red light on PCH at Crown Valley Parkway, when a Lexus driven by 39-year old Long Beach resident Vanroy Evan Smith slammed into him from behind.

Smith then got out of his car and stabbed Mammone as he lay on the ground; Mammone died at a nearby hospital approximately three hours later.

After stabbing Mammone at least once in the back, Smith pulled out a gun and began shooting, apparently at random. Adding to the bizarre nature of the incident, there are reports that the weapon may have been a BB gun.

So far, investigators have found no link between Smith and Mammone, suggesting that it may have been a road rage attack, or possibly a case of mistaken identity.

Or it may have been completely random, which is even more frightening.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at 714/288-6740.

You can read more about Smith’s murder of Dr. Mammone here.

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels.

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Yesterday, longtime Orange County bike advocate Bill Sellin included me in his email response to someone asking about an Irvine ghost bike.

I found his response so moving and insightful, I asked for his permission to share it with you here.

Thanks for reaching out.

I know it was placed shortly after the killing of Barbora Kabatova, 26 years old (July 11 2020) by her close friend(s).

I offered, but did not help place it, and I understand it is actually one of Barbora’s own bicycles.

Kabatova ghost bike photo taken from Facebook page

 

I do not know what Caltrans policy is, but I would be happy to see it in kept in place until Caltrans applies their own ‘Complete Streets’ best practices to call out the Jeffrey Class II bikeway where it is merged across by their freeway entrance, or better yet removes the free-right acceleration lane across the bikeway and makes a 90° intersection to ’square off’ this old style dangerous condition.

Since that fatality nothing has been done to deal with this hazardous condition, where the bike lane turns into a shoulder of the entrance, and even a pedestrian or sidewalk cyclist can be killed by high speed accelerating motorists.

Not even an on-demand warning light for those trying to use the crosswalk, much less a curb bulb-out.

Irvine has not reduced posted or actual speeds on Jeffrey either.

Every time I ride past it I think of Barbora and her death. It’s a good reminder. I am grateful that Caltrans has not removed it for the last 2 1/2 years.

Your resident is correct – it has been out there, motionless, day and night, rain or shine, silent, for over 2 years.

If it were her friend or daughter killed, she might understand it’s value.

If there was a ghost bike located at the site of the other 16 Orange County cyclist who died in 2020, and the 7 in 2021, the 19 in 2022 and 2 already in 2023, the motorists and traffic engineers might take greater steps to slow down and make our roads safer.

We can only hope.

………

After so much bad news, we have a little good news to share.

The US Department of Transportation announced the first $800 million of the five year, $5 billion — yes, with a B — Safe Streets and Roads for All Program that was established in the new federal budget.

Fast Company reports that’s just a down payment, with another $1.1 billion to be released later this spring.

California is set to receive $133 million of that, including six large “transformative” projects which will receive a combined $100 million, three of which are in Southern California.

  • Los Angeles County will receive $21 million for Florence-Firestone for All, a Vision Zero plan along corridors with high collision rates.
  • The City of Los Angeles will get $9 million for the La Brea Avenue Complete Streets Project. Or maybe only sort of complete, since it doesn’t include any bicycling infrastructure or improvements.
  • And as we mentioned yesterday, Wildomar is set to receive $2 million for the Sedco Blvd Improvements.

………

Somehow I missed the announcement that California Assembly Transportation Chair Laura Friedman is running to replace Adam Schiff in the United States House of Representatives 30th District, as Schiff runs for Diane Feinstein’s US Senate seat.

While we’ll miss her strong advocacy in Sacramento for active transportation, she’ll offer an even stronger voice in DC.

Thanks to Blake Dellinger and Ravener for the heads-up.

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

No bias here. An “avid bicyclist” says a hit-and-run Jersey City councilwoman may have been wrong, but the bike rider she hit doesn’t deserve a $1 million settlement because he’s “everything that serious bikers, like myself, detest.” Like riding in flip flops, for instance.

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Local 

Rides will be free on LA Metro, Metrolink, LADOT and San Bernardino County Transportation Authority buses and trains this Saturday to mark the 6th Annual Transit Equity Day celebrating the birthday of Rosa Park.

Metro is planning to start construction later this year on a “multimodal” widening project on the 605 Freeway, which somehow fails to include any actual multimodal elements.

Registration is now open for the 45th LA Chinatown Firecracker Run/Walk, including 2 and 40-mile bike rides.

 

State

A San Francisco bike messenger worker’s collective strives to straddle the fine line between competing with large businesses, and relying on them for business.

 

National

Apparently, justice delayed isn’t always justice denied. A Las Vegas driver was arrested for DUI ten months after he killed a bike rider while driving 80 mph in a 45 mph zone; he wasn’t arrested at the scene after passing field sobriety tests, but a blood test showed THC, oxycodone and oxymorphone.

Bad enough when Denver drivers run down bike riders, but they don’t have to kill their ghost bikes, too.

NPR looks at efforts to remove a bike lane on Kansas City’s Truman Road, as business owners complain about the loss of parking spaces, as usual. Even though multiple studies show bike lanes are good for business

Four Pittsburgh cops will fight their suspensions in an effort to regain their jobs, 16 months after a man was killed when he was tased ten times in a matter of minutes, for the crime of test-riding an abandoned bicycle that had been left on the sidewalk; no charges have been filed, and prosecutors have still not released video of the incident.

According to Streetsblog, entitled New York drivers have been whining about a lack of parking for over a century. Los Angeles drivers have been whining at least as long, even though DTLA has more parking per acre than any other site on Earth, according to UCLA parking meister Dr. Donald Shoup.

Momentum talks with New York City cargo-biker Michael Palacios, who was intentionally run down by a hit-and-run driver while riding with his massive dog; he was also the person who allegedly went on a axe-wielding rampage at a New York McDonald’s.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a 12-year old Menlo Park NJ boy’s bicycle in a strong-arm robbery.

She gets it. A Philadelphia student says for her low-income, immigrant family, bicycling wasn’t recreation, it was a question of survival. And helped her get a full-ride college scholarship.

This is who we share the road with. After a severed human penis was discovered in the parking lot of an Alabama gas station, investigators said it belonged to a motorcyclist who was killed in a collision with multiple vehicles on a nearby highway, and carried to the station on the grill of a truck; it fell off when the driver parked at the station.

 

International

A professional driver played the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he killed a Welsh bike rider because the sun was in his eyes; however, it didn’t work this time, because he was found guilty anyway.

Three people, a man and two women, have been arrested in the death of a father and his teenage son who were killed when they were struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding their bikes in the UK last month; another man was arrested when the abandoned car was discovered shorty after the crash. At least one man faces a possible murder charge.

Bicyclists in Cyprus called for the immediate repeal of a new mandatory bike helmet law just hours after it went into effect, as critics called it a step backwards that will make safety worse, not better.

 

Competitive Cycling

France’s first major bike race of the year came to a sudden halt, when a major pile-up forced organizers to cancel stage 2 of the Etoile de Bessèges with less than 15 miles to go.

Cyclist rates the year’s best pro cycling kits.

 

Finally…

Forget the sports drinks, and quaff an alcohol-free beer instead. Why ride out in the hot sun when you can ride a 57-mile long climate-controlled bike path?

And that feeling when you insist your rust-ridden tetanus express just needs a tune-up.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

One comment

  1. ValleyBall1 says:

    I watched the actual video and he didn’t slow down (at all) and ran into the doc at full speed presumably running the red at the same time. The doc did absolutely nothing wrong as he was just patiently waiting for the light to turn green (in the bike lane). Hope the killer gets his in jail…karma is a b!tch…quid pro quo!