Archive for Bikes & the Law

Morning Links: Marin driver arrested for swerving into 4 cyclists, and traffic deaths up in US, including bicyclists

Call it attempted murder.

In just the latest horrifying attack on the streets, four cyclists participating in the Jensie Gran Fondo of Marin were injured when a driver allegedly swerved his truck into them.

The pickup driver fled the scene after smashing into them from behind, in an attack that witnesses described as intentional.

One of the riders is in stable condition after suffering major injuries; the other three were not seriously injured.

It’s probably not what any of them expected when they signed up to ride with cycling legend Jens Voigt.

Police later arrested 21-year old Novato resident Aaron Michael Paff, an off-duty maintenance worker for the Marin Municipal Water District.

He was taken into custody roughly 12 hours after the attack, and released on $50,000 bond. There was no word on possible charges as of Sunday night.

However, this should be a case of assault with a deadly weapon, at the bare minimum.

Dr. Christopher Thompson got five years in state prison for a similar assault, in which he intentionally brake-checked a pair of riders on Mandeville Canyon Road in 2008.

Photo of suspect vehicle from CHP. Thanks to everyone who let me know about this case.

………

It shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that our streets are getting even deadlier.

In the latest report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities shot up another 5.6% in the US last year, coming on the heels of an 8.4% increase the year before.

According to the report, there was an increase in almost every category, from pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists, to DUIs and day versus night crashes.

A total of 37,461 people were killed on American streets last year, up from 35,485 the year before.

Four hundred ninety-two pedestrians lost their lives, the highest figure since 1990. And 840 bicyclists were killed, a 1.3% increase and the most since 1991.

It’s worth noting, especially in light of the next item, that an average of over 102 people died in crashes in the US every day — dwarfing the 58 killed in Las Vegas last week.

But no one is holding vigils. No one is sending thoughts and prayers.

And hardly anyone even seems to notice.

Or care.

………

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson has written a hard-hitting piece comparing gun violence with the violence on our streets.

In the first instance, Americans have decided that mass shootings are a reasonable and acceptable cost of being able to easily and legally obtain weapons of virtually any kind. In the second, Californians have decided that individual killings of cyclists are a reasonable and acceptable cost for being able to drive as fast as possible to get where they want to go.

Whether or not you agree with his premise, it’s worth the read. Because this is a conversation our country will have to have sooner or later.

And it’s already a lot later than it should be.

………

A Belgian cyclist is lucky to walk away after flipping over a barrier at the Giro di Lombardia, as Vincenzo Nibali takes his 50th career win.

………

Local

An LA company presents its vision for a four-mile section of the LA River, calling it the LA River Gateway.

One letter writer in the LA Times asks if drivers who object to bike lanes have a better solution, while another says traffic has always been bad in Playa del Rey, and it’s not the bike lanes’ fault.

 

State

New bicycle wayfinding signs go up in Highland.

The Southern California Association of Governments has approved nearly $10 million in funding for active transportation projects in the Coachella Valley.

Ventura County approves construction of bike lanes along Potrero Road near Lake Sherwood.

Sad news from Arroyo Grande, where a woman was killed while riding her bike on the popular Corbett Canyon Road; the driver played a variation of the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he couldn’t see her because the sun was in his eyes. Even though admitting something like that should be a confession, not an alibi. Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling for the heads-up.

A drunk San Francisco salmon cyclist was responsible for one of the 13 crashes involving GM’s driverless cars when he crashed into the car’s bumper after its human operator had stopped the vehicle.

 

National

A Spokane WA woman is considering a civil suit after a bike rider plowed into her on a multi-use trial; the rider yelled “hot pizza” as a warning, somehow thinking that would make her get out of his way. Pedestrians are unpredictable. So slow the f*** down around them and pass carefully. It’s not that hard.

Dozens of wounded vets joined 71-year old former president George W. Bush on his annual Warrior 100K mountain bike ride.

A driver in Austin TX says he only drove drunk, ran down a cyclist and fled the scene because there was a two-hour wait for a cab.

A Montana man is working to send bikes to Central America to be converted to pedal-powered machines.

An Indiana man rode 2,800 miles from Portland, Oregon to his home state, despite suffering from epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Facing 35 years in prison for the drunken hit-and-run death of a bicyclist, a Kentucky driver tries to withdraw his guilty plea, saying it wasn’t fair because the crash wasn’t intentional. And the drinking — and getting behind the wheel afterwards — was probably an accident, too.

Over one thousand bicyclists turned out to ride with actor Patrick Dempsey at his annual fundraiser ride in Maine.

A New York man died a week after he was attacked with a hammer by five teenagers who were trying to steal his bike. We’ve said it many times before — no bicycle is worth your life, so just let it go.

A New York woman has died a month after she was struck by a drunk, unlicensed driver who plowed into several bicyclists who were on a fundraising ride. As I recall, there were allegation that this crash may have been intentional, as well.

A homeless man in Florida has been ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial in the stabbing death of a man who was riding his bike from Connecticut to Miami to propose to his girlfriend.

 

International

A Toronto columnist asks if there’s a war on cars in the city, why are drivers the only ones racking up a body count? It’s a question we should be asking here, and every city where drivers claim ownership of the streets. Which is pretty much everywhere. Thanks to Norm Bradwell for the link.

No bias here. Britain’s Daily Mail offers a breathless headline saying two pedestrians are killed or maimed by bicyclists every week. Then in smaller type mentions that there’s no information on who was at fault, and that it still amounts to less than 1% of pedestrian injuries each year on British roads.

Caught on video: A road raging London driver loses it because a bike rider had the audacity to be in front of him.

A London priest is urging his parishioners to pray to stop a bikeway from being installed in front of the church, claiming it would do more harm that the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.

Caught on video too: A British man learns why you don’t ride under crossing gates.

A man in the UK rode his bike 450 miles through France and Great Britain to deliver a petition to the prime minister’s office to cancel Brexit.

A new Scottish study shows riding a bike on bad roads for as little as 16 minutes is enough to cause nerve damage in the hands and arms. Which means that most LA bike riders could have trouble just picking up a pencil.

An Australian state supreme court justice is one of us, too.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be a boat. Any band can travel by bike between gigs, but how many perform along the way?

And if you’re going to suffer a heart attack while riding, do it in front of a restaurant full of medical professionals.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in Fountain Valley hit-and-run

Yet another bike rider has been killed by a heartless coward who fled the scene, this time in Fountain Valley.

According to multiple sources, 41-year old Fountain Valley resident Bihn Ngo was riding a mountain bike north on Brookhurst Street just south of Ellis Ave when he was struck at 12:54 am.

He was reportedly riding in the curb lane when he was struck from behind and thrown 50 to 60 feet into a parked car.

The driver fled north on Brookhurst, and was last seen turning right onto Ellis.

Police are looking for a red 1990s Ford Mustang with damage to the front end. Anyone with information is urged to call the Fountain Valley Police DepartKent at 714/593-4485.

This is the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Orange County.

It’s also the second fatal hit-and-run in Fountain Valley in the last three weeks, following the death of popular Orange County runner Juan Garcia; an arrest was made in that case.

Update: According to KTLA-5, 25-year old Huntington Beach resident Justin German was arrested later the same day after a tip from someone who recognized the car. Thanks to Peter for the heads-up.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Bihn Ngo and his loved ones.

 

Update: Van Nuys bike rider killed in double hit-and-run Wednesday night

Heartbreaking news from Van Nuys, where a woman was left to die by a pair of heartless cowards Wednesday night.

According to multiple sources, the victim was struck by a speeding driver around 11:23 pm at the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and Stagg Street, and thrown nearly 120 feet by the force of the impact.

The driver, later identified as 24-year old Van Nuys resident Erik Limon, fled the scene, leaving his victim lying unprotected in the street.

Another driver ran over her as she was lying in the street; that driver also fled without stopping.

The victim, who has been identified only as a woman in her 50s, died at the scene.

Police suspect her bicycle was stuck under Limon’s car as he fled, and disposed of later; as of this writing, it has still not been found.

His car was recovered, and he was arrested at his home around 3:15 Thursday afternoon.

The second driver, reportedly a woman in an older gold Camry, is still at large.

KABC-7 reports the victim was in a crosswalk when she was struck by Limon’s car. However, according to KCBS-2, she may have been riding against traffic.

Anyone who finds a damaged bicycle in the area, or who has other information about the crash, is urged to call the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division at 818/644-8000.

There is an automatic $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver, or in this case, drivers, in any fatal hit-and-run in the City of LA.

This is the 40th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 19th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the sixth in the City of Los Angeles.

Fourteen of those SoCal deaths have been the result of hit-and-runs, half of those in LA County.

Update: Surveillance video on KNBC-4 shows the victim riding northbound in the southbound lane, where she was struck by the Limon’s car as he turned right. Despite earlier reports, he does not appear to be speeding at the time of the crash.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and her loved ones.

 

Update: Long Beach man killed by fleeing driver after crosswalk collision injures 2nd rider

For the second time in three days, an LA County bike rider has been killed by a hit-and-run driver.

And this time, it may have been intentional.

According to multiple sources, two men were either riding or walking their bikes across Long Beach Boulevard in the crosswalk at Bort Street in Long Beach around 1:20 a.m.

Depending on the source, one or both were then struck by the driver of an SUV headed south on Long Beach.

One of the men somehow ended up on the hood of the Ford SUV, and was carried several blocks before being thrown off by the fleeing driver.

He was severely injured, and died at scene after police arrived.

The other rider suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

KTLA-5 reports the driver circled the block once before abandoning his car and fleeing on foot. They also say police believe they know the identity of the driver, but have not yet made an arrest.

That is contradicted by a story in the Press-Telegram, which says authorities have the vehicle, but don’t yet know who was behind the wheel or have a description of the suspect.

KTLA also places the actual site of the wreck several blocks away at the Long Beach Boulevard offramp of the 91 Freeway, saying Bout was where the victim was thrown off and landed in the street.

There is also some dispute over how the victim ended up on the SUV.

Most reports indicate he either landed on the hood as a result of the crash, or jumped onto it in an attempt to stop the driver from getting away.

However, according to KTLA,

The second cyclist then jumped on the driver’s side running board of the SUV, reached into the window and tried to turn off the ignition before the driver took off with the man clinging to the side of the vehicle, a Long Beach police news release stated.

Earlier, Watt said the bicyclist jumped on the hood before police released additional information about the incident.

Either way, the driver had to know the victim was on his vehicle, and made a conscious decision to flee with the victim clinging to his SUV, resulting in the rider’s death.

Which means he should face a charge of vehicular homicide once he’s caught. If not 2nd degree murder.

This is the 35th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th in Los Angeles County. It’s also at least the 12th bicycling death in Long Beach since 2010.

Update: The LA Times has confirmed the details of the KTLA report

According to them, the SUV struck one of the victims at the Long Beach Blvd offramp.

The other rider, who was not hit, jumped on the running board of the SUV, and hit his head on a curb when he was thrown from the vehicle as the driver made a sharp right onto Bort.

The victim has been identified only as a 51-year old man. 

This is a reminder that it’s not worth your life to stop a fleeing driver.

Gather all the details you can — make, model, color, license and a description of the driver — as well as photos or video, if possible. Then get out of the way and let the police deal with it.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 51-year old Los Angeles resident Odie Ervin. He was a popular member of a local lowrider bicycle club

Anyone with information is urged to LBPD Det. Brian Watt at 562/570-7355.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Odie Ervin and all his loved ones.

Thanks to James Johnson, John McBrearty, and Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up. 

 

Update: Man killed walking his bike across the street in South LA hit-and-run

Another human being has been murdered by a heartless hit-and-run driver, for the crime of crossing the street.

According to multiple sources, a man was walking his bike across Broadway at 88th Street at 2:30 am when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

A witness reports seeing the driver of a Chevy Tahoe plow into the victim while speeding up to go through the light after it turned red. Then flee the scene without slowing down.

The victim, identified only as a possibly being in his late 40s, died at the scene.

A street view shows a staggered intersection at 88th, with a red light and crosswalks at each corner. Broadway has two lanes and a left turn lane in each direction, with a wide parking lane, making it a very broad street to cross.

The City of Los Angeles offers an automatic $50,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the driver in a fatal hit-and-run. Information can be provided anonymously at LACrimeStoppers.org.

This is the 34th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 15th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the fifth in the City of LA.

Update: The victim has been identified as 57-year old Albert Arnold. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Albert Arnold and all his loved ones.

LA Sheriff’s reserve deputy dies competing in World Police and Fire Games mountain bike race

Tragic news from what should have been a fun competition.

The LA Daily News reported this afternoon that a mountain biker competing in the 2017 World Police & Fire Games suffered a heart attack around 9:30 this morning.

He was transported to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital from the course near Castaic Lake, where he arrived in full cardiac arrest.

Sadly, he didn’t make it.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced on Facebook this evening that Reserve Deputy Jacob Castroll passed away at 11:14.

According to their report, he was found unresponsive on the trail by another competitor at approximately 9:40 am.

Castroll’s death is being investigated by the department’s Homicide Bureau since the circumstances of his death are unknown.

It’s possible that he may have fallen after suffering a heart attack or some other physical problem, or that he may have gone into cardiac arrest after falling.

He had served as a reserve deputy with the Malibu/Los Hills sheriff’s station for the past seven years. He is survived by his wife and three children.

The Daily News gives Castroll’s age as 68.

This is the 33rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 14th in Los Angeles County.

Update: Contrary to earlier reports, The Acorn reports Castroll died due to blunt-force trauma to the head and neck, suggesting a fall rather than a heart attack.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jacob Castroll, and all his family and friends.

 

Morning Links: Beating and bike theft at gunpoint in Little Tokyo, and Peloton profiles SoCal pro cyclist Coryn Rivera

Bike theft is nothing new in Los Angeles.

A sound beating and bike theft at the point of a gun is.

This morning I received the following email from Jane Voodikon, who wrote to warn LA bicyclists about the robbers who stole a bicycle from her friend Ulises Melgar Saturday night.

Today I’m writing to report to you an incident that happened to one of my biking friends this past weekend, hoping that you can help spread the word to the bicycling community. He was riding home Saturday night at around 11:30 p.m. coming out of the Little Tokyo area across the First Street Bridge eastbound toward Mariachi Plaza when a green four-door Chevrolet pickup cut him off and the passenger in the front seat pointed a gun at him and then tried to hit him with the gun. At this point he got off his bike, and then one of the men in the truck (there were five men total, wearing hats and sweatshirts around their faces) punched him, enabling the hijackers to take his bike, throw it in the truck bed, and drive off. 

It seemed they had planned this out because they had covered up the license plate with a trash bag. Unfortunately there was nobody else around to witness the crime, and at that location there would be no surveillance cameras. Understandably my friend didn’t react by taking a photo of the truck so there are really not many other identifying details. He reported it to the police, and they said they searched the area for a truck matching the description but found nothing.

He said the truck bed was empty save for a construction toolbox. 

His bike is a 2012 silver Cinelli Mash frame, 52cm, with two noticeable dents on each side of the top tube. Fizik saddle, riser bars, platform pedals with Wellgo straps. Photos are attached. 

This is especially tough (apart from it being a terrifying and traumatic incident) because he has been getting back on his feet after being laid off last year. Since January he has been delivering food by bike for Simply Salad, UberEats, and Caviar. A friend has lent him a bike temporarily so he can continue to work but his bike is not only his property but also his transportation and most importantly his lifeline to income. 

We’re hoping you can help at least alert the cycling public to the fact that there are people driving around hijacking bikes at gunpoint, and that is downright scary.

She also reports that a friend saw someone riding the bicycle the night after the bike theft around Olympic and Normandie. You can contact Melgar directly through Facebook if you see the bike or have any information about the theft.

Meanwhile, a crowdfunding campaign has been started in an effort to raise $800 to get him a new bike and gear so he can get rolling again and get back to work, but hadn’t received any donations as of this writing.

As causes go, you could do a lot worse. Maybe we can help him get that first donation.

Or maybe even put him over the top.

Update: Good news! Ulises Melgar’s bike was recovered after being spotted in Hollenbeck Park; all he ended up losing were the lights and a Garmin. 

As a result, donations have been disabled on the GoFundMe page, and any who gave will be contacted about their donations. 

………

Peloton profiles SoCal’s own Coryn Rivera, who became the first American to win the Tour of Flanders earlier this year.

Former Tour de France, Giro and Vuelta champ Alberto Contador announced his plans to retire after this year’s Vuelta.

Next year’s Giro d’Italia will start just a tad outside the country, in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Jillian Bearden will become the first transgendered woman to ride in a pro peloton when she takes part in Thursday’s Colorado Classic, setting a standard for trans athletes around the world; she credits bike racing with saving her life.

The last two days of the Colorado Classic will be part bike race, and part music and lifestyle festival.

……….

Local

A man riding a bicycle was the victim of a drive-by shooting in South LA early Monday; he was hospitalized in stable condition with bullet wound to one leg.

The Daily Breeze looks forward to Sunday’s CicLAvia in San Pedro and Wilmington, though not all the local businesses seem to be on board. They may get a pleasant surprise if they reach out to participants, instead of closing their shops or turning their backs on the event.

Competition kicked off in the 2017 World Police and Fire Games with a crit in Santa Clarita on Sunday, won by a 35-year old Cat 1 rider from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

 

State

Up to 1,000 people turned out for Santa Barbara’s annual unsanctioned Fiesta Cruiser Ride to Isla Vista and back. If the ride has been taking place every year since the 1970s, resulting in traffic citations and safety concerns, why not just make it official and control — if not close down — the route?

Sad news from Kern County, where a man was killed in a collision while riding his bike on Edwards Air Force Base early Monday morning.

The Hayward-based maker of Abba-Zaba, Big Hunk, Look, Rocky Road and U-No candy bars is one of us.

San Francisco installs concrete K rails to upgrade an existing protected bike lane, which was previously marked with paint and plastic bollards, but does nothing to improve safety at dangerous intersections.

Calbike released the schedule for October’s California Bike Summit in Sacramento.

 

National

A new CyclingTips podcast tackles the question of whether ebikes belong on singletrack trails.

The Department of DIY strikes in Spokane WA, as someone reinstalled a bike lane the city had moved to the opposite side of the street.

An Idaho man is training to compete in the Hawaii Iron Man triathlon, 23 years after he was paralyzed from the neck down.

A small Denver composting company is using a bicycle and trailer to collect food waste from restaurants and apartment buildings.

Thirty bicyclists take a ride through Dallas in their underwear. Next year, they should be able to do it on their choice of three dockless bikeshare providers.

Kindhearted Ohio sheriff’s deputies pitch in to buy a new bicycle for a young man, after the bike he used to ride to work couldn’t be repaired.

Caught on video: A compilation of footage from a Tennessee security cam clearly illustrates the dangers of riding across railroad tracks, even when there aren’t any trains around.

The battle over lane reductions and parking-protected bike lanes moves east, as residents and business owner in Cambridge, Massachusetts respond the same way they did here in LA.

New York removes a parking lane to provide space for a protected bike lane and a wider sidewalk. But only for one block.

Philadelphia is installing its first parking-protected bike lane, while bike cam video shows why the city’s unprotected two-way cycle track is a bad idea.

Eva Longoria is one of us, as she goes for a bike ride with her husband in Miami, dressed in casual clothes. Even if the press does freak out about her lack of a helmet.

 

International

Submitted without comment from the Toronto Globe and Mail: “Bike licensing fixes traffic problems about as well as mercury cures syphilis.”

A pair of Walmart heirs just bought British bikewear maker Rapha for the equivalent of $260 million.

No irony here. A London town council promotes a car-sharing program that allows drivers to drop off the cars anywhere, just days after impounding bikeshare bikes for doing exactly the same thing.

The world’s biggest bike parking garage just opened in the Netherlands; when finished, it will provide parking for up to 12,500 bicycles.

Let the Cycling Yogis be your guide the next time you’re riding in Madras, India.

The new government in India’s Uttar Pradesh is trying to rip out cycle tracks installed by the previous administration, blaming them for increasing traffic congestion. Although it doesn’t help that a bicycle is the ballot symbol of the outgoing political party.

 

Finally…

Maybe not the best time to go for a bike ride after you just escaped from prison a few days earlier. If you have to steal a package off a woman’s porch while walking your bicycle, try not to take the cremated ashes of her dead Yorkie.

And lots of people flip over pro cycling.

Just not literally.

 

Morning Links: Ugly incident in Koreatown, and lawsuit alleges driver killed Palos Verdes cyclist on purpose

Things got ugly in Koreatown Thursday night.

In a violent confrontation only partially caught on video, a swarm of people on a group bike ride pulled the driver of a BMW out of his car at 6th and Hobart in Koreatown. And forcibly pinned him to the street, holding him down until police arrived.

The video begins with the riders breaking the window of the BMW as the car’s trunk is already open, then shows several riders milling around as the driver appears to shout from his prone position on the street.

The LA Times fills in some of the missing details.

Apparently a group of roughly 50 people were riding their bikes through the Koreatown intersection when the traffic light changed. Rather than split the group, one or more riders tried to cork the intersection, blocking the drivers who had the green light.

The driver of the BMW attempted to go through the intersection anyway, and got into a shouting match with the rider blocking traffic. When the rider tried to grab the driver, he responded by stepping on the gas, plowing into the group and running over a bicyclist’s leg.

The driver then reportedly attempted to flee, but the riders in the group swarmed his car to keep him from leaving.

That’s where the video appears to begin.

While corking may be a common practice, it’s still illegal, even though police usually look the other way.

But as BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen points out, the driver could — and perhaps should — be charged with assault with a deadly weapon for aggressively driving into the group of riders.

Although chances are, he may have claimed he was only get away because he was frightened by the cyclists swarming his car.

As LAPD officers have explained similar situations to me in the past, however, the bicyclists may have crossed over the line the moment they broke the driver’s window.

Had they merely surrounded the driver’s car, they would have been within their rights to keep him from fleeing. Or they could have taken down his license number and let him leave, likely leading to a charge of felony hit-and-run.

But by damaging his car, and physically assaulting him by dragging him out of it and forcing him to the street, they’ve left themselves open to the possibility of criminal charges, as well as a civil suit for the damage to his car and any injuries he may have suffered.

Although both sides may have lucked out, since KCBS-2 reports that no one was ticketed or arrested at the scene.

Investigators may just wash their hands of the whole ugly mess, concluding that they both contributed to the confrontation.

Since the video only shows the second half of the incident, though, and not the driver’s actions that led up to it, it will only serve as fodder for the people who already think we’re all a bunch of lawless thugs. And seem pathologically incapable of separating the actions of a few from everyone else who travels on two wheels.

This looks like a case where no one wins.

Least of all the rest of us who had nothing to do with it, but may ultimately bear the burden anyway.

………

The family of fallen bicyclist John Bacon have filed a lawsuit alleging the driver who took his life did it on purpose.

Bacon was headed back home from a group ride last May when the 68-year old man was run down from behind in Palos Verdes Estates by the driver of a white pickup truck. The driver fled the scene after stopping briefly and calling for someone to call 911.

The driver, later identified as James Rahman, was caught on security video following Bacon’s bike at an uncomfortably close distance. The suit alleges Rahman honked at Bacon before swerving at him and striking him with the wing mirror of his truck.

However, no charges were ever filed, and no details of what happened were ever released.

In fact, Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson has alleged that the local police never took the case seriously. It took an alert cyclist to spot the truck days later, and even then couldn’t get the police to respond.

He’s also written that several other bike riders in the area had reported being harassed by the driver of a truck that matched the description of Rahman’s truck.

But again, crickets from the cops.

Even though, if this lawsuit is correct, this wasn’t hit-and-run.

It was murder.

Update: I have been contacted by Joan Bacon, John Bacon’s wife, who wants to correct the information above indicating a lack of concern on the part of the Palos Verdes Police Department. 

I want to be very clear that I and my family are very grateful to Palos Verdes Estates Police Department and in particular to Detective Hellinga and Detective Reed for their year-long effort and hundreds of hours put into the investigation of John’s death… The Police Department kept me informed along the way, were very gracious and kind and I know did a great job. It is also important that you know the decision to not prosecute the offending driver involved in the crash was not the decision of the Palos Verdes Police Department but rather a decision made by the District Attorney’s Office.

You can read the full press release from the family’s attorney below.

………

Needless to say, readers responded to the LA Times’ recent hard-hitting editorial criticizing opponents of street safety projects by insisting they’re not selfish, and they really do care about safety.

And is anyone really surprised that the incredibly ugly comments to LA’s new video explaining the need for Vision Zero paint it as nothing more than propaganda and alternative facts?

Because actually taking it seriously would require caring about the lives of others, and placing someone else’s safety above their own convenience.

Which apparently is a bridge too far for some people.

Especially this guy, who’s willing to consider the lives of others, as long as it doesn’t cost him more than four minutes out of his commute.

………

Spoiler alert: If you still have the Tour of Utah on your viewing list, skip the last line of this section.

Marianne Vos won her third European road cycling championship.

A Colorado Springs CO newspaper examines the inaugural Colorado Classic beginning this Thursday, looking at both the men’s four-stage race and the women’s two stages.

US anti-doping officials remind Lance Armstrong that he’s been banned from cycling. And that could extend to his podcast if organizers of the Colorado Classic pick up his tab for covering the race.

Twenty-two-year old American pro Tyler Williams is hoping to rise to WorldTour status along with his Israel Cycling Academy squad.

Canadian pro Rob Britten held on to win the Tour of Utah after leading since the individual time trial in stage three.

……….

Local

A new rendering offers a flyover — and under — of the new Sixth Street Bridge scheduled to open in three years. Although that still looks like a steep climb up the spiral bike and pedestrian ramp.

The Ovarian Psychos annual Clitoral Mass ride was transformed into a Black Mass to protest gentrification in Los Angeles this past Saturday.

A man in his 30s was critically injured in a collision while riding his bicycle at Walnut Street and North Wilson Ave in Pasadena Saturday evening; as of Sunday morning, he was in stable condition. The 74-year old driver remained at the scene.

Hermosa Beach celebrated the 50th anniversary of its sister city program with a bike ride along the beach for middle school students from Hermosa Beach and Loreto, Mexico.

 

State

A young boy was dragged by a car while riding his bike through a Huntington Beach apartment complex Sunday morning. More proof that kids need safe places to ride their bicycles.

A Chula Vista mom turns detective to track down the hit-and-run driver who gave her bike-riding son a fake name and address after crashing into him.

San Diego officials accept most of the recommendations in the ambitious plan presented by the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, agreeing with 25 of the 32 proposals.

A former BMX champ is rebuilding his life after addiction and prison, and helping at-risk Fresno middle school students pedal their way to a better attitude.

 

National

A ten-year old Washington kid credits his new Mohawk-style helmet with saving his life in a crash.

Colorado land managers are struggling to deal with ebikes on mountain trails, where they are often banned — and easy to spot, since they go uphill faster than non-motorized riders.

A writer drives 1,000 miles to ride the legendary singletrack on the 100-mile Maah Daah Hey Trail in North Dakota.

The war on bikes continues, as a Denton TX driver apparently gets away with brake-checking a bicyclist.

Houston police promise to start enforcing the city’s three-foot passing law after writing less than three dozen tickets in 30 months. Maybe we can get them to come up here and enforce California’s three-foot law, since no one here seems to want to do it.

When a bighearted Michigan kid won a new mountain bike, he turned around and gave it to someone who needed it more.

A Staten Island website says don’t bother with Vision Zero, because bicycling fatalities have remained stable in recent years, despite a dramatic increase in ridership. And because bike riders break the law.

Illegal rental bike vendors are hustling tourists away from the only legal bicycle vendor in New York’s Central Park.

A new 20-year study from New York confirms the safety in numbers theory, clearly showing that safety improves as more bike riders take to the streets.

A North Carolina writer says yes, he screwed up while he was driving, but a pair of cyclists didn’t help their cause by swearing at him. On the other hand, he left crossed a father riding a bike with his kid in the child seat, and undoubtedly scared the crap out him; Mother Theresa would probably have a hard time keeping her cool under those circumstances.

Macon, Georgia’s six mile long pop-up bike lane network has been honored with an Excellence Award from New York’s Center for Active Design; the project resulted in a ten-fold increase in people riding to work or school.

 

International

Ottawa, Canada solves the problem of whether bicyclists can ride in the crosswalk by installing a bike crossing right next the crosswalk on a dangerous intersection.

Speaking of Ottawa, the city has discovered they can save $41 per meter — a little more than three feet — by building cycle tracks next to new roadways, rather than painting bike lanes on the streets.

London has already removed 130 dockless bikeshare bikes from the city’s streets for blocking sidewalks. Maybe it’s just me, but using the term “yellow plague” — or even “yellow bike plague — seems pretty damn tone deaf in reference to a Chinese company, even if that’s the color of the bikes.

A UK writer says it’s just politics, not geography, tradition or cost, that prevents cycling becoming a key transport mode. And that bicycling needs to be a key part of the Labour party’s transportation policy.

Sometimes the punishment really does fit the crime. After an English boy is caught on video trashing a bikeshare bike, he’s sentenced to learn how to fix it.

Caught on video: After a British bike rider was hit by a car, he responded by repeatedly punching the driver through an open window; the man who filmed it said he’d never seen anything so violent. That’s the fastest way to go from victim to criminal. So don’t do that. Ever.

E-mountain bikes are bringing France’s spectacular Vercors Massif mountain range into reach of average riders.

Beirut bicyclists are trying to revive cycling in what might be one of the world’s most bike-unfriendly cities.

A 186-mile supported bike tour through bad roads from Sierra Leone to Liberia is changing lives.

Not surprisingly, fines for scofflaw cyclists have surged in Australia’s New South Wales in the first year after instituting draconian fines for relatively minor offenses, including a jump from $337,000 to $1.99 million for not wearing a helmet.

A new ride aims at promoting unity among Malaysians, as many young people seem to have lost faith in the county.

Japanese bike riders can pump up their tires with free bike pumps at any police box.

A Thai website looks at the world’s longest elevated bikeway in Xiamen, China.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to steal a bicycle from the grounds of the Russian embassy. It might not be the smartest move to call the police to say you’re being followed, if the person following you is the father of the kid whose bike you just stole.

And if you’re going to flee from police after running a stop sign, make sure the cyclist you end up crashing into isn’t an off-duty cop.

 

Morning Links: Bike rider mugged on Ballona Creek; LA Times criticizes selfish drivers fighting traffic safety

Cars aren’t the only threats people on bikes have to face.

One of the constant themes repeated by the people fighting bike lanes in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey is that, in their humble opinion, bike riders would be better off riding away from traffic on the Ballona Creek bike path than risking getting hit by cars on the streets.

Never mind that Ballona Creek bypasses all the shopping and employment centers between Culver City and the beach. Or that limited access points makes it harder for people to get where they need to go.

Which makes it more practical for recreational riding than for people who need to get somewhere, in most cases.

But there’s another recurring problem with the Ballona Creek bike path.

The isolation the path, below public view, makes it an ideal hunting ground for criminals. Which has been a problem on the path since at least 1990.

Every few years, there seems to be another rider attacked on Ballona Creek. And every few years, calls go out for police patrols on the pathway.

But nothing ever happens. And no government agency ever seems to want to take responsibility for the path.

Which leads up to what happened two weeks ago, when Jesus David Orozco was riding home after attending to Mar Vista Community Council meeting to discuss the Venice Blvd Great Streets project.

Something has to be done to ensure safety for everyone on the Ballona Creek bike path.

And done quickly.

Because just like on the streets, people won’t use it if they don’t feel safe there.

Especially if they actually aren’t.

Update: I’m told that Orozco posted on Facebook that he has returned to work today, and that, thanks to the physicians that treated him, is feeling good and looking like himself again. 

I’m not sharing the post, since I haven’t requested his permission to use it.

But the only things that would make this news any better is if the police caught the people who did this, and the county and cities along the trail committed to improving safety so it doesn’t happen again.

Thanks to Jonathan Weiss for the heads-up.

………

The LA Times really nails it this time.

In a surprising editorial, the paper calls on LA leaders to find the courage to fight back against “selfish” motorists opposed to street safety projects.

And let’s be clear. This is the official editorial voice of the publisher and paper, not merely an Op-Ed.

The paper complains about the callousness of too many commuters, and the risk that kneejerk opposition to change will override good policy. And possibly even reverse the city’s Vision Zero plan.

Vista del Mar wasn’t an official Vision Zero project – it didn’t go through the standard community outreach and input process that is an essential part of any road reconfiguration. Still, it quickly became the rallying cry for opponents of road diets and other projects that might slow traffic. It’s worth noting that some of the loudest critics of the Vista del Mar reconfiguration and another nearby Vision Zero project in Playa del Rey don’t live in the community; they commute through it to avoid 405 traffic.

The paper goes on to criticize Roadkill Gil Cedillo’s cynical effort to gain veto power over any road diet or lane reconfiguration in CD1, as well as Paul Krekorian’s backtracking on the Great Streets project proposed for Lankershim Blvd.

Typical City Hall. It’s easy for Garcetti and council members to tout their progressive credentials and sign off on ambitious policies to transform L.A. It’s much harder to implement those plans. Too often city leaders fold in the face of opposition. We’ve seen this with the city’s Bicycle Plan. We’ve seen it with homeless housing. And that’s why so many ambitious plans remain unfulfilled.

City leaders, and Garcetti in particular, have to continually make the case that Vision Zero is about making the streets safer for walkers, bike riders, motorcyclists and, yes, even drivers. The mayor has been far too quiet in defending his program and council members who face blowback when they support road safety efforts. Projects downtown and in Silver Lake have demonstrated that road diets can help reduce injuries without significant traffic delays. There is a learning curve, and over time as more Vision Zero projects are completed, residents will likely see that the benefits of safer streets outweigh the lane losses and any effect on traffic flow.

Not to mention the attitude they attribute to motorists at the start of the piece is no exaggeration. It’s exactly what I’ve been dealing with on social media and in the comments on this site.

………

In Orange County, they’re not actually attacking bike riders, just pretending to.

And likely, scaring the crap out of innocent people in the process, for the sake of a stupid prank.

An OC law firm reports that people in cars are zooming in close to bicyclists, then making a gun with their hands and yelling “Butt dart!” at the rider.

It’s just pure luck that someone hasn’t been startled or frightened into falling or crashing, with potentially serious consequences.

Thanks to F Lehnerz for the heads-up.

………

Someone needs to explain the meaning of sharrows to the driver of a San Diego pickup. And remind him that brake checking a pair of cyclists was what got Dr. Christopher Thompson five years behind bars.

………

LA’s own Coryn Rivera topped the women’s field to win the 2017 RideLondon Classique. More on the RideLondon festival in the International section below.

More proof that motor doping is a real thing, as an Italian masters rider was busted for having a concealed electric engine hidden in his bike.

More bad news on the ultra-endurance front, as endurance cyclist Frank Simons has been killed near the start of the European Transcontinental race, just 51 miles into the 2,500-mile race; he’s the third rider killed competing in an ultra-endurance race this year.

……….

Local

LA County is offering a $10,000 reward for the capture of the bike-riding jackass who sexually assaulted a woman in the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department’s Altadena Station rescued a mountain biker in Arroyo Canyon early Saturday. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

The Easy Reader posts great photos of kids participating in Sunday’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix.

The Press-Telegram provides a full construction schedule for the new bike boulevard being built on 6th Street in Long Beach

 

State

Meet the Huntington Beach man who invented the beach cruiser in the 1970s.

Mazda helped build and donate 120 bicycles for foster families in Orange County.

No bias here. The San Diego Union-Tribune wants to hear from readers about the city’s mythical war on cars.

A Fresno letter writer calls for greater enforcement of “maniac” drivers who put bicyclists at risk.

Sad news from San Jose, where a bike rider was killed in a collision with a train.

Chico proposes a dramatic new bike and pedestrian bridge over a wide, busy street.

 

National

No surprise here. A new federal study shows speed was a factor in 31% of all traffic fatalities; the study recommends making the penalty for speeding equal to the penalties for drunk driving.

The Colorado legislator who called for an annual registration fee for bicyclists, then backed off after a massive backlash, now says maybe there needs to be a crackdown on scofflaw cyclists. And suggests it’s not fair if owners of ATVs, boats and snowmobiles to have to buy registration stickers, and bicyclists don’t. Never mind that all of those have motors; if they’re going to tax cyclists, maybe they should make hikers, skiers and pedestrians pay a fee, as well.

Someone is sabotaging ebikes in Aspen CO.

Touching story from Texas, where an entire family is wearing bike helmets in solidarity with their new baby, who has to wear a helmet to treat flat head syndrome.

Nebraska’s governor is riding 150 miles with a group of mental health professional to help end the stigma surrounding children’s mental health. It’s a kickoff event for Break the Cycle, a 5,000 mile ride from Seattle to DC to raise funds for child and adolescent mental health initiatives.

More victim blaming. Minnesota police say a cyclist ran a stop sign before she was hit by a van; her GPS shows she actually slowed to 1.1 mph before accelerating again.

Kindhearted Duluth MN cops pitch in to buy a new mountain bike for a man when his was destroyed in a crash, after they discovered he lived in an assisted living home and it was his only means of transportation.

Just two weeks after launching in South Bend, Indiana, bikes from the new LimeBike dockless bikeshare are already ending up in a local river.

Off-duty police officers will patrol multi-use trails in an Ohio town, as residents say they’d be more likely to use them if there was a police presence, even though there hasn’t been a crime problem. Which might be an answer for Ballona Creek, and other off-road paths in the LA area.

A Tennessee hit-and driver caught on bike cam ramming a bicyclist on the Natchez Trace Parkway has been indicted on federal charges of reckless aggravated assault, lying to a federal agent, and obstruction of justice; he could face a total of up to 37 years in federal prison. Apparently, they didn’t buy his excuse that someone on the side of the road had thrown a bicycle at his Volvo. Thanks to Allyson Vought for the link.

The New York Times says bicycling has become part of the city’s culture, with over 450,000 bike trips every day; the city has committed to building an additional 50 miles of bike lanes every year — including ten miles of protected lanes — after more than doubling the number of bike lanes over the past ten years. Thanks to Victor Bank for the tip.

 

International

The massive annual RideLondon cycling event was expected to draw 100,000 participants this past weekend, with 24,000 riders taking part in the century ride, a decrease of 3,000 riders over last year to improve safety.

Caught on video: An Aussie bicyclist pulls an endo and just barely avoids falling in front of an oncoming car. Note to Daily Mail: Going over the handlebars isn’t caused by going too fast, but by squeezing the front brake hard before the back one, causing the front wheel to lock before halting the bike’s momentum.

Apparently “hordes” of Brit runners are taking up bicycling to protect their knees, including an Olympic 1,500 meters star.

The Guardian says swapping cars for bicycles will make a bigger difference in the fight against pollution than switching from diesel engines to electric.

Israel’s railway authority will be installing automated bike parking garages at heavily used stations across the country.

The Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai is one of us, as Sheikh Mohammed stops to rescue a woman rider with a twisted chain.

The authoritarian president of Turkmenistan is one of us too, as he leads 7,700 riders, including government officials, on a nine-mile route through the nation’s capital; cars were banned from most major Turkmen cities for the day.

The war on bikes continues, as someone has been pouring oil on bike paths in Melbourne, Australia, in an attempt to make riders slip and fall, which could result in serious injuries.

 

Finally…

Who needs a water bottle when you can weld a cup holder into your top tube. How to explain why you never forget how to ride a bike without really explaining anything.

And someone please tell the LA Times we have a Critical Mass down here, too.

 

Morning Links: Ventura hit-and-run goes to trial, Trans Am cyclist killed in KS, and world’s 1st porn cycling team

Check in later today, when we’ll have a guest post from Better Bike’s Mark Elliot, who’s almost single-handedly led the Sisyphean fight for bike lanes in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills.

He reports the city council will reconsider their decision not to paint bike lanes on the soon-to-be-reconstructed Santa Monica Blvd tomorrow.

………

Ventura tow truck driver Hermin Martin Henderson is scheduled to face trial in August for the hit-and-run death of 14-year old bike rider Jonathan Hernandez.

Hernandez was killed when he rode out to see a friend after an emotional family meeting following the death of his sister from leukemia.

Security footage shows he apparently went through a red light, and was struck by Henderson’s truck. Henderson left him lying in the roadway; whether alive or dead, no one will ever know.

What is known is that he was then struck by another driver who also fled the scene, and has never been apprehended.

It’s impossible to speculate whether Hernandez would have survived if Henderson had stopped and called for help. What is certain is that his choice to leave him lying there unprotected meant he didn’t have a chance.

………

Tragic news from Kansas, where a 61-year old man from San Luis Obispo was killed in a collision while competing in the Oregon to Virginia Trans Am Bike Race. Eric Fishbein is the second ultra-distance cyclist to be killed while competing in the last three months, following the death of famed British rider Mike Hall in Australia last March.

Over 1,200 riders helped the annual Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay race celebrate its 25th anniversary, rolling 150 miles from Haines Junction, Yukon, to Haines, Alaska.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 80-year old British cyclist has been banned from a grueling race because organizers think he’s too old, even though he routinely beats riders half his age.

………

Local

Metro’s Metro Bike bikeshare could expand to Pomona in time for the 2018 LA County Fair.

A conservative street artist claimed responsibility for vandalizing several West Hollywood WeHo Pedals bikeshare bikes to promote alt-right personality Milo Yiannopoulos.

Wearing a helmet while riding your bike in Glendale could get you a ticket for a free Slurpee. But only if you’re a kid.

The LACBC’s next Sunday Funday ride will explore the controversial new bike lanes and road reductions in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey. If you support the Mar Vista bike lanes, give it some stars.

Long Beach is considering developing their own app-based bike registration program. Someone should tell them that they could just use Bike Index for free.

Elon Musk wants you to bike and walk in his underground tunnels.

 

State

A Lemon Grove woman was badly injured when she hit a pothole and went over the handlebars; because of the location on the border between the cities, it was unclear whether the pothole was in Lemon Grove or San Diego.

A San Marcos cyclist is recovering from a collision with a truck after he allegedly entered the intersection on a red light and was thrown in front of the truck when he attempted a panic stop.

A Sacramento man suffered a collapsed lung when he was hit with a rock thrown by a bike-riding homeless man as he was riding his bike home last week. Meanwhile, a Sacramento runner was seriously injured when he was struck by a hit-and-run cyclist on the same trail, who also appeared to be homeless.

 

National

British bike historian Carlton Reid, author of the newly published Bike Boom, looks at how America’s 1970s bike boom went bust.

American riot police have embraced the bicycle as a more efficient tool for crowd control.

Bike Portland looks at the ugly economics of bike crashes.

A 78-year old pastor is riding 2,000 miles from Sante Fe NM to Tampa FL in memory of his late wife.

The Denver Post talks with a handful of riders who completed the paper’s annual Ride the Rockies, finishing 447 miles with 30,000 feet of elevation gain.

An Illinois cyclist is still among the living because he happened to have his heart attack on a club ride full of physicians.

A Wisconsin man rode his bike to Louisiana to meet the man who received his daughter’s heart after she drowned in a Cancun swimming pool.

Two New York bike riders were killed by tour buses in less than a week; the latest victim was an 80-year old man riding in a crosswalk.

Caught on video: A New York bike rider is in a coma after a random attack by a man who punched him in the face for no apparent reason.

The Washington Post illustrates the history of the bicycle.

Baltimore bike advocates fear a bikelash will result in a rollback of bike lanes in the city, where the mayor has ordered a review of all bike lanes and parking spaces. The debate has resulted in dueling petitions for and against the bike lanes, something Mar Vista and Playa del Rey riders can relate to.

Virginia bicyclists aren’t thrilled with plans for a noisy, smog-choked bike path next to a new multi-lane freeway. Or they could do it right, like this new Denver to Boulder CO bikeway.

The drunk, gay-bashing Key West Trump supporter who tried to ram two men as they rode their bikes gets off without a single day behind bars. But at least he doesn’t get the hug he wanted from his victims.

 

International

Maybe pushing yourself too hard for too many years isn’t great for your heart after all.

The Guardian profiles a British baker who delivers her goods by bicycle — as long as you live within a mile of her shop. Meanwhile, the paper says the wheels have not come off the country’s grassroots cycling boom, despite problems with the elite cycling program.

The Guardian’s Peter Walker rebuts the claims that bike lanes make air pollution worse.

A 30-year old British man plans to ride the 2,000 miles from Bath to Rome standing up due to congenital arthritis in his hip.

Rather than making sidewalks handicapped accessible, Dublin’s lord mayor considers allowing people with disabilities to use bike lanes.

Roughly 1,000 Paris bicyclists staged a die-in in front of the Bastille to call for greater safety on the roads.

As expected, the Saudi Arabian driver who fatally doored a German bike rider has claimed diplomatic immunity, protecting him from prosecution and halting the investigation.

ESPN talks with American cycling champ Rebecca Rush about her 1,200-mile ride along the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to visit the site of her father’s death in the Vietnam War.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to participate in the World Naked Bike Ride, don’t do it alone. Seriously, don’t crash your bike into people on the sidewalk — and don’t punch an elderly man if you do. And don’t spit on dogs, either.

And how did it take this long for someone to found the world’s first all porn cycling team?

 

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