Archive for Legal Cases

Morning Links: A reminder to always ride with water, and why drivers continue to flee following crashes

Got an email late Thursday telling me I almost lost a friend last week.

Long story short: Heatstroke.

I rode from Seal Beach to Azusa, then “rested” under a bridge by the San Gabriel River, viciously under-hydrated, out of water, with the temperature climbing, because I’m a moron.

I banged up my shoulder tripping against the concrete pier. I hallucinated. I blacked out. I threw up the first bottle of water that a good stranger gave me. Retrospect terrifies me: I actually could’ve passed out permanently under that bridge.

I’m heading back this afternoon to put up a thank-you poster because I never got the name of the guy who rescued me, got me water/Gatorade/ice, put me in his air-conditioned car, and kept me from wandering off. If he didn’t save the coroner a bunch of work, he at least spared me from crushing hospital bills.

Let that be a reminder to always carry more water than you think you’ll need. And remember to actually drink it, especially on hot days.

You should also make sure to have a little cash with you, so you can duck into a store or gas station to buy more in case you run out.

And always carry some form of ID when you ride, just in case a stranger finds you passed out under a bridge somewhere.

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Evidently, there’s no reason not to flee after collision.

A Whittier woman got less than a slap on the wrist — more like a pat on the back — for last year’s South Pasadena hit-and-run wreck that injured a couple and their baby, and killed the family dog. While driving on a suspended license, no less.

None of that seems to matter, though, as she threw herself on the mercy of the court. And was richly rewarded with just three years probation and 30 days Caltrans duty.

That’s it.

So as long as the courts refuse to take hit-and-run seriously, let alone a license to drive, why should anyone else?

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

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Looks like frequent contributor danger d now has his own blog. And the first post is a complaint about the problem of having to beg for a green light if you’re not driving a car.

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The often anti-bike LA Weekly offers a great profile of a third-generation, six-year old lowrider bicyclist. With training wheels.

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Now this should be interesting. The Vuelta a España kicks off with a team time trial on Saturday on a course that’s partly dirt and sand. The former director of Team Sky says put your money on Chris Froome.

BMC’s riders just switched places after the fourth stage of the USA Pro Challenge as Rohan Dennis won in a breakaway, taking the leader’s jersey from teammate Brent Bookwalter. But if you’re not going to win the stage, you might as well pop a mid-race wheelie.

The women’s three-stage version of the Pro Challenge kicks off today, offering prize money equal to the men’s race. And apparently not comprehending the message it sends, the same podium girls, too. Yahoo looks at women’s cycling’s token appearance at the Tour de France and the problems still facing the sport.

The new head of USA Cycling wants the organization to be vehemently anti-doping, with an increased focus on grassroots and women’s cycling.

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Local

LA Weekly wants your vote for your favorite bike shop; Helen’s, Golden Saddle and Flying Pigeon are the nominees.

CiclaValley professes profound indifference to the new bike lanes on Vineland. Here’s what usually happens: They put bike lanes where no one wants them, so no one uses them. Then say there’s no point in building more bike lanes, because we don’t use the ones we’ve got.

A great Vine illustration clearly shows how Pasadena’s proposed two-way, buffered cycletrack on Union Ave would work.

 

State

A Santa Ana cyclist suffered major injuries when he reportedly lost control of his bike and veered into the path of an oncoming pickup Wednesday night. The story reports he was riding east in a bike lane on the 900 block of East McFadden Ave; however, there aren’t any there for him to veer out of. Thanks to Lois for the heads-up, and thanks to David Huntsman for pointing out the lack of bike lanes.

Costa Mesa police revive their bike patrol after 15 years to deal more effectively with homeless people and drug abusers.

Garden Grove will hold their second annual open streets festival on October 10th.

Coronado residents rise up in opposition to a proposed multi-use path along the beach. And apparently, bike riders in general.

A dangerous Orinda bike lane will get a coat of green paint, rather than moving a turn lane leading to a freeway onramp to improve safety.

San Francisco police ride along with the city’s cyclists in an effort to mend fences after a recent crackdown on bike riders.

San Fran’s 2nd Street will get a road diet with raised, curb-protected bike lanes. And we get to be envious.

Nice. A 17-year old girl scout raised $8,000 to give every sixth grader at an Oakland Catholic school a new bike, helmet and assorted gear.

After police stop a man for suspicion of riding a stolen bike, they discover he skipped out on a Marin County drunk driving charge 21 years earlier.

The Marin County paper offers an in-depth obituary of Deb Hubsmith, founder of Safe Routes to Schools.

 

National

People for Bikes kids infographicA new infographic from People for Bikes provides stats on children and bicycling; despite the perception that kids don’t ride bikes anymore, 57% ride an average of 40 days a year. That could show a lot of improvement if more parents felt safe letting their children ride to school and more administrators would allow it.

Bicycling offers tips on how to finance your new bike. Just don’t buy more bike than you can afford, or go into debt if you can’t comfortably manage the payments.

This is so not what bicycles are for. A Montana man is under arrest for repeatedly punching his girlfriend and whacking her with his bike. Hopefully, she’ll get the hell out before he makes bail.

Five college-bound Chicago teens show up in a Mercedes to beat and pepper spray a man in an attempt to steal the $500 bike he was selling. That scholarship to Cal Poly won’t be used anytime soon.

The parents of a soldier killed in Afghanistan are fulfilling his dream of building a parking lot where Minnesota cyclists can safely unload their bikes away from a busy roadway.

A Minnesota writer pens an ode to the best month to ride a bike.

It takes a pair of real jerks to shoot a Detroit bike rider with a paint gun. And a couple of idiots to follow that by shooting it at a police SUV.

New York’s mayor is considering undoing the highly popular Time Square pedestrian plaza by reopening the street to cars to fight the scourge of body-painted breasts. Yes, breasts.

 

International

Caught on video: More than a half dozen people pitch in to lift a car off an injured British bike rider; a basket decorated with flowers is attached to the unseen bike and rider trapped under the car.

After she’s knocked off her bike by a hit-and-run driver, London novelist says the city’s cyclists are being scared off the road. Although maybe someone might explain the meaning of TMI to her.

A bike-riding Catholic nun is changing the lives of former sex slaves in the Congo.

An Aussie driver faces a minimum of 18 months for plowing into a pack of riders; somehow, he couldn’t see the seven cyclists directly in front of him for a full 17 seconds.

Thailand’s Crown Prince gives the equivalent of $2,200 to the family of a man killed in a collision while training to for a bike ride in honor of the Queen’s 83rd birthday.

 

Finally…

No point in working as a dog walker when you can do it by bikeshare. Now you can get a KOM while working on that new IPO.

And it’s okay if a man wants to ride a women’s bike.

No, really. It is.

 

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Thanks to Jeffery Fylling for his generous donation to help support this site.

Morning Links: Reflections on crappy cyclist, sailor charged in fatal hit-and-run, and more Mobility madness

Sometimes, drivers have a point when they complain about bike riders.

And sometimes, people on bikes survive the streets, not because of their own skills, but because of the caution shown by those around them.

The other day, I found myself driving down Santa Monica Blvd to attend a meeting in West Hollywood.

As I drove, I watched a fixie rider make his way through traffic, buds firmly affixed to both ears, his lack of skill — and presumably, experience — evident by the way he awkwardly swayed from side to side with every pedal stroke.

I passed him, moving into the next lane to give him plenty of space, even though he was hugging the door zone.

About a block later, I found myself behind a line of stopped cars in the right lane. So I put on my signal, checked my mirror and started to pull to my left. Then jammed on my brakes, as he swung out around me, apparently blind to my change in direction.

He split the lanes, weaving through traffic before cutting suddenly to the right, the driver he’d just cut off narrowly averting a rear-end collision as he was forced into a panic stop.

A block or two later, I watched as he first jumped a light, weaving through vehicles coming from both directions, despite their far superior claim to the right-of-way, then swung around a Brinks truck without warning as it was pulling away from the curb.

In each instance, a collision was avoided, not through any skill of the guy on the bike, but through the alertness of those he shared the road with.

This is not intended as a rant against fixie riders, many of whom can put my own skills on a bike to shame. Nor is it intended as a complaint against riders who cut through traffic, even though I can’t recommend it; I’ve seen some who can slice and dice through moving cars like a chef at Benihana.

This guy was neither of those.

He lacked the skill to pull off the moves he made. Yet somehow survived his trip, not through the grace of God, but because others on the road were watching out for him when he wasn’t watching out for himself. And seemingly oblivious to the close calls he’d had.

Proof that those behind the wheel aren’t always the bad guys. And that our streets work best when we all look out for one another.

On the other hand, his reckless riding and lack of skill did not reflect on me.

Or anyone else who takes to two wheels, anymore than a crappy driver makes every other driver look bad.

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It took awhile, but there may be justice for Philip White after all.

The hit-and-run victim was found lying next to his crushed bike in an Oceanside cul-de-sac early one morning last September. Police quickly identified a suspect, but no charges were filed.

Until now.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Christopher Noah, an active duty sailor stationed at Camp Pendleton, has been arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.

According to the U-T, personnel on the base noticed the damaged to Noah’s car, and convinced him to contact police.

He admitted to being the driver, while insisting he didn’t know he had hit anyone. However, evidence at the scene reportedly contradicted his statement, including indications that White’s body appeared to have been moved.

The paper questions why it took 10 months to file charges; I’d question why Noah doesn’t face more serious charges, since White might have had a chance if his killer hadn’t left him to die alone on a deserted street.

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KPCC interviews Venice Councilmember Mike Bonin about the city’s newly approved transportation plan.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton weighs in on the plan on KCRW’s Which Way LA, along with Eastside Councilmember Jose Huizar, UCLA’s Madeline Brozen and a spokeswoman for the group threatening to sue over it.

An attorney writes on City Watch that the Mobility Plan is based on fatally flawed data and wishful thinking, and the city failed to follow proper procedure — even though it was based on over five years of public process.

KFI’s John and Ken rage over the Mobility Plan, riling up their listeners by misrepresenting both it and bicycling in the City of Angeles. And you know the plan’s on the right track when Rush Limbaugh bloviates against it.

It’s important to remember that radio personalities like those mentioned above aren’t reporters, they’re entertainers. Their job is to anger their listeners enough to keep them coming back for more in order to drive up ratings; in doing so, they’re no more committed to the facts than any internet troll.

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Bicycling fatalities among children under 15 have dropped 92% since 1975. Which would be good news except the decrease may be due to fewer kids riding bikes these days.

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Local

The Great Streets section of Venice Blvd will get a road diet, protected bike lanes and mid-block crossings, though maybe not all at once.

CiclaValley says biking to Dodger stadium is the fast and easy way to get there.

Bike Portland visits CicLAvia, and says we have some things to teach our friends up north about open streets.

Santa Monica police are conducting another bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operation today, and more in the next few weeks. So observe the letter of the law when riding through the city.

LAist offers 39 reasons why they love Long Beach; the city’s embrace of bikes is just one of them.

Wolfpack Hustle’s annual Civic Center Crit races around City Hall this Saturday.

UCLA Lewis Center and Institute of Transportation Studies will host a webinar this Wednesday on Streetscape Design to Improve Walking and Cycling.

The second-annual Santa Monica Bike Expo will take place at the pier on October 10th and 11th, and will include a 15-mile Tour of Santa Monica bike ride.

 

State

Calbike says the legislature’s extraordinary session to find money to fix the state’s crumbling streets and highways should include funding for bikeways.

Some people in Coronado really, really don’t want more bikes or a bike path on the beach.

Menlo Park may remove parking along the bay to make way for bike lanes.

Only the state can legalize the Idaho stop. So instead, a San Francisco supervisor has introduced an ordinance to make enforcement of cyclists riding through stop signs the police department’s lowest law enforcement priority.

Bike traffic on San Francisco’s Market Street sets a new record, with over 100,000 bike trips recorded in July.

The Marin County cyclist convicted of the road rage beating of a motorist now faces a personal injury lawsuit, as well as his upcoming sentencing.

 

National

Good article intended for police officers on the how’s and why’s of enforcing bike laws.

How to prevent the most common bicycling injuries.

Denver’s Streetsblog says public bike infrastructure shouldn’t have to depend on private money.

A 75-year old Kansas ‘bent rider hits the 120,000 mile mark.

Texas police officers don’t have a clue who to ticket for a right hook collision. Hint: the same right-of-way violation applies if a driver turns in front of a bike as it does if he turns in front of a car in the next lane; thanks to Cyclelicious for the link.

Ohio police want to know why a cyclist was riding salmon in the traffic lanes of an Interstate highway in the middle of the night. If they find out, I hope they tell us.

A 17-year old Indiana driver had a blood alcohol level of .28 — 3.5 times the legal limit – when she plowed into two cousins out for bike ride, killing one; prosecutors plan to charge the teenager as an adult.

A Boston researcher says the city should calm traffic and improve lighting, education and enforcement to increase safety for cyclists.

A Florida bike rider thanks the stranger who gave him a ride home after an early morning flat.

 

International

Calgary cyclists who have survived collisions share their frustration with the attitudes of drivers.

Caught on video: A London rider stops for every red light, yet manages to keep up with a guy who jumps them all. A lot of us have had that same experience.

No bias here. When a British man and his family are arrested for planning to join ISIS in Syria, the press identifies him primarily as a “keen cyclist.”

A Brit women’s racer says riding in London is safer than it seems, but women riders need to be more assertive.

Mashable goes behind the scenes of London’s secretive pedicab industry.

A new Dutch track bike only looks like it’s made of wood.

The founder of what was once the world’s largest bicycle maker has died in India; OP Munjal started the company because he was tired of sharing a single bike with his two brothers.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons insists there’s no scientific evidence that Australia’s mandatory helmet law has had an adverse effect on health by discouraging people from riding.

Aussie site Cycling Tips goes behind the scenes to look at pro cycling’s financial model. And it’s not a pretty picture.

 

Finally…

A Texas driver slams into a Walmart, so naturally, there’s a bike involved. Someone smashed the glass on a Clovis bike shop to steal a Stolen bike. Putting that in the window is just tempting fate.

And anyone can climb Colorado’s 14,000 foot mountains; these guys are riding up them.

 

Morning Links: OC hit-and-run truck driver guilty; SGV bike rider found beaten to death; get ready for CicLAvia

Looks like the OC DA’s office is on a roll.

In their latest court victory, truck driver Filemon Reynaga was found guilty Thursday in the hit-and-run death of 19-year old Manuel Morales Rodriguez as he rode his bike to work in October, 2013.

Reynaga reportedly drove off after getting out of his truck to look at Rodriguez, leaving him lying unprotected in the street where he was hit by a second vehicle.

It was impossible to tell which one ultimately struck the fatal blow.

Clearly, the jury decided it didn’t matter, convicting Reynaga of felony hit and run causing death and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. It only took them 90 minutes to reach a verdict.

He now faces up to four well-deserved years in prison.

Thanks to Edward Rubinstein for the heads-up.

Filemon-Reynaga-conviction

 

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A man was found beaten to death next to a bicycle in an unincorporated part of the San Gabriel Valley near West Covina early Thursday morning.

According to KNBC-4, he was identified by his mother as 25-year old Ontario resident Victor Pacheco after she rushed to the scene. Witnesses saw him being chased on his bike by a blue pickup just hours before his body was found in a vacant lot.

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Before you go to CicLAvia this Sunday, take a moment to brush up on these safety tips. Most important, in my experience, is to remember it’s not a race and maintain a safe speed; it’s the differential between fast and slow riders that seems to cause most conflicts. And always look behind you before you change directions, even to just pass another rider.

Get discounts along the route. Oddly, Tito’s Tacos doesn’t seem to be on that list.

As if CicLAvia itself wasn’t reward enough, you can enter to win free prizes including a weekend in Culver City, a Tern foldie and Cirque du Soleil tickets. Or win CicLAvia swag by taking photos at their photo hunt stops.

As a personal aside, you’ll find some of the city’s best coffee at The Conservatory along the CicLAvia route on Washington Blvd in Culver City; tell ‘em I sent you. Not that they know who the hell I am. Update: Margaret reminds us that the Conservatory is closed on Sundays; hopefully, they’ll make an exception just this once.

And just in time for CicLAvia, Walk Bike Burbank is offering free bike tune-ups on Saturday.

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VeloNews provides a nice tongue-in-cheek examination of what it would look like if the NFL was run as badly as pro cycling. And 37-year old Ivan Basso will determine his future in the coming months after recovering from surgery for testicular cancer.

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Local

A Westside resident says there aren’t enough bicyclists on Westwood Blvd to justify bike lanes, and bus-only lanes could move more people through the corridor. Never mind that bike riders are allowed to use bus-only lanes, and there might be more bike riders on the boulevard if they had a safe place to ride.

West Hollywood now has a bike-through coffee and juice window.

Registration is now open for Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare system; a trial system will kick off for six weeks next Thursday, while the full system is expected to go into operation in November.

CiclaValley rides the Dominguez Channel bike path, calling it “another path that was constructed as an afterthought in an area that is particularly void of bike infrastructure.”

 

State

An Irvine company is modifying their single-lever brake system to work on children’s bikes; one lever applies the front and rear brakes simultaneously, eliminating the risk of a major endo.

Not even a decorative bike attached to a private Bakersfield community library is safe from the scourge of bike theft.

A San Francisco bicyclist puts his foot down at every stop sign, since the SFPD is now ticketing bike riders — without legal justification — if they don’t, and nearly got run over as a result. Meanwhile, the SF Gate calls the crackdown on scofflaw cyclists a waste of police resources that endangers San Franciscans and incentivizes bad behavior.

When a Tahoe tourist on a rental bike does something stupid, it does not reflect on every other cyclist. When I observe stupid driver tricks, I don’t think it makes every other driver look bad; they usually do that themselves.

 

National

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske examines three-foot passing laws, and the need for police to get with the program, already.

Bicycling looks at the 500-plus pound man who started bicycling cross-country to lose weight and get his wife back; the couple has reunited and she’s now riding along with him.

The Department of DIY strikes again, as a Portland bike rider paints a warning on a hazardous road grate after getting tired of complaining about it for the past eight years; needless to say, the state DOT is not pleased.

A road-raging Kansas cyclist is lucky to get off with just 59 months in prison for shooting a motorist during a dispute; the victim gets just $2,600 of the court-ordered $19,600 restitution, despite losing an eye.

After a high school student in my hometown has his bike stolen, police find it 775 miles away in Abilene TX. And he gets personal return service, as a detective just happened to be driving down with his daughter to visit a Texas university.

Nice story, as people pitch in to help a homeless man biking across the US who cares for every stray dog he finds; the former California resident towed 11 dogs 2,000 miles in his homemade bike trailer.

People are fuming in the Bronx over New Jersey getting New York’s latest bikeshare expansion before they do.

A Virginia cyclist wins a $300,000 settlement after she’s injured when a jogger turned in front of her with no warning.

A writer for Miami’s alt weekly gets tired of the constant wrangling over the rights of cyclists, and spells out what riders can and can’t do under Florida law.

 

International

Writing about Calgary, a columnist says the city’s car culture comes at a steep price. Substituting Los Angeles for Calgary wouldn’t change the story, or the conclusion, one bit.

A Toronto writer says it’s a mixed up world when pedestrians try to punch out bike riders, and suggests the solution is to ban cars from certain streets.

A London group fixes up old bikes to provide transportation to refugees, and teaches women to ride since many weren’t allowed to learn in their old country.

The number of London bike commuters has doubled in the past 10 years.

City Lab looks at how Cambridge became the UK’s model cycling city.

An Aussie cyclist says we need to future-proof our infrastructure to find a balance between cars, bicycles, pedestrians and public transport.

Variety reviews the Hong Kong cycling flick To the Fore, calling it blandly inspiring, but with propulsive, bone-crunching cycling action. Works for me.

 

Finally…

Nine signs you need to ride more. It’s hard enough riding the Pyrenees, Alps and Dolomites back to back; now imagine doing it with one leg.

And evidently, drunk bicycling is a bigger problem than we realize; a new bike lock with a built-in breathalyzer will keep you from unlocking your ride if you’re wasted. Now if they could only make something like that to keep drunk drivers off the road. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the link.

 

Morning Links: OC truck driver goes on trial; Montebello hit-and-run reward; Metro bike workshops start tonight

The trial of truck driver Filemon Reynaga started on Monday in a Santa Ana courthouse.

And kicked off with one big revelation.

Reynaga is charged with felony hit-and-run and misdemeanor manslaughter for the 2013 death of 19-year old Manuel Morales Rodriguez.

According to the Orange County Register, Reynaga was shown on surveillance video pulling out of a store parking lot after an early morning delivery, and making a blind right turn without stopping. He ran directly into Rodriguez’ bike, dragging Rodriguez under his trailer as he made a second right onto Orangewood Ave.

A witness testified that Reynaga got out of his truck and walked back to look at Rodriguez, coming within five feet of his body. Then he got back in his truck and drove away, leaving his Rodriguez lying in the street, where he was struck again by another car moments later.

Why that doesn’t warrant a murder charge is beyond me, since he knowingly left his victim lying in harms way.

To make matters worse, his defense attorney argued that Reynaga isn’t at fault because Rodriguez might have been killed by the second driver, instead. Even though the other driver probably wouldn’t have hit him if Reynaga hadn’t left him there unprotected in the early morning darkness.

Then again, he also argued that Reynaga a) didn’t cause the collision, b) may not have even hit Rodriguez, and c) may not have known that he hit him if he did.

Let hope the jury will pick d) he’s guilty as hell.

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Montebello is offering a $10,000 reward for the hit-and-run death of fallen cyclist Steven Vasquez Garcia last month.

Montebello Reward

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Metro is hosting a series of Open House Workshops to develop a  strategic plan for active transportation — including bikes and pedestrians — starting tonight in San Gabriel.

We want to hear from you! Metro is developing an Active Transportation Strategic Plan to identify needs, resources and strategies to improve and increase walking, bicycling and transit use in LA County, and your input will help create a meaningful, effective plan.

The workshops will:

  1. Gather input on improving first and last mile access to transit and improvements to the regional network of walking and bicycling facilities, including shared-use paths and on-street bikeways
  2. Explore opportunities for supporting local and regional partners to get these projects and programs implemented

The workshops are designed for planners, engineers, traffic safety professionals, public health and injury prevention professionals, advocates, transit riders, transit operators, non-profit organizations, decision-makers, and other interested stakeholders. Each workshop will include information about the overall plan and information specific to the sub-region. We encourage you to attend the workshop specific to your sub-region; however, staff will be available to answer questions and gather input at all workshops.

Click here for dates and locations.

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The Tour of Utah brings big-time pro cycling to the Beehive State, with 10 riders to watch. However, two-time champ Tom Danielson won’t be one of them after failing a drug test; he could face a lifetime ban thanks to a previous six month suspension.

The best news in this year’s racing season is Taylor Phinney’s return to the peloton following last year’s horrific crash in the National Championships days after winning the time trial title. And better yet, he finished third in a breakaway in Monday’s stage.

Sunday’s competition in the Crested Butte Big Mountain Enduro race was cancelled after Will Olson was killed while competing in the off-road race on Saturday; competitors rode in his honor instead.

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Local

A new study shows bikeshare really is an effective form of transit; LA’s upcoming system could take that a step further by offering transfers to and from other forms of transit.

LA’s Mobility Plan comes up for a vote before a joint meeting of the city council’s Transportation and Planning and Land Use committees at 2:30 today at City Hall. At least two of the councilmembers who have been working to scuttle the plan sit on those committees, so we have our work cut out for us.

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee — the only official voice for bicyclists in our city government — holds their bi-monthly meeting tonight; the location has been changed to the Meeting Room at Pan Pacific Park.

 

State

Get your resume ready. Delaware-based Blue Bicycles is moving to Orange County by the end of the year; the company will release over 20 models for its 2016 line after being off the market for two years following an unsuccessful merger.

People in Santa Barbara support a well designed bike network, but question whether the one currently under consideration fits that description.

Cyclelicious says don’t bother uglifying your bike to deter thieves.

British bike scribe Carlton Reid says Davis set the standard for what a bike friendly American city could be, though it’s going to take work to return it to bike paradise it once was.

 

National

Bicycling looks at the 13 best bike rides in US national parks. And asks pro cyclists to tell us about their favorite places to ride.

People for Bikes says cities can’t prioritize vehicle speed and volume, just as turning up a hose too far causes more harm than good. It makes more sense when you read it.

An architecture website offers seven rules for safer cities.

A cyclist shares what he learned from riding across the country.

An Albuquerque thrift store sold a man’s $1,500, 1937 antique bike to another customer for $4.99 while he shopped. I’m going to have nightmares about that one.

An Iowa bike rider is grateful for the hit-and-run that broke his leg, mangled his arm and cost him his job; if he hadn’t been hurt, doctors might not have found the tumor that probably would have killed him.

A heartbreaking story, as a Minnesota man returns to the site of the hit-and-run that took his wife’s life and left him seriously injured as they returned home from a bike tour one year ago.

Not many 12-year old bike riders have sponsors. A Minnesota boy runs his own advertising service by selling ad space on his bicycle.

Vermont police conclude a cyclist was at fault in the collision that killed him, even though the driver blew a .123 alcohol level right after the wreck — well over the .08 legal limit — and had Xanax, Sertraline and Nortriptyline in her system. But it’s just a coincidence that the driver is married to a cop, right?

A Virginia bike rider is shot in an apparently random act of violence. And a VA hit-and-run victim wants to know what kind of person would slam into a bicyclist, then leave him sprawling in a ditch without stopping. I suspect we know the answer to that one.

A North Carolina driver tells a reporter he didn’t do it on purpose after killing a cyclist while driving under the influence. Oh, well okay, then.

 

International

A cyclist died after going 50 feet off a bridge at the site of the worst traffic fatality in British history. Maybe it’s time to fix the damn road, already.

A 15-year old boy from India takes gold twice in the Special Olympics time trial events, after just one month of training; he didn’t even have a racing bike when he qualified last year.

Is nowhere safe from bike thieves? A South African woman was bike-jacked while competing in a mountain bike race.

Bicycling rates are up in Western Australia, though the Aussie state faces the same gender gap everywhere else does.

Evidently, Japan isn’t quite up for Vision Zero yet, planning to cut traffic deaths by 50%. Maybe they call it Vision Less; thanks to an anonymous source for the heads-up.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to ride through floodwaters, make sure you know where the damn curb is. Maybe you find spandex too confining, but please wear something. Anything. Except unsightly calf-high bike socks.

Especially if you’re planning to use what’s basically an adult balance bike.

 

Weekend Links: OC hit-and-run driver to face trial; parking meter bike racks approved for Westwood, but not lanes

Apparently, justice delayed is not justice denied after all.

At least not in Orange County.

Nearly two years ago, 19-year old Manuel Morales Rodriguez was his riding bike on Missile Way in Anaheim when he was struck by a semi-truck driven by 49-year old Filemon Reynaga as he was pulling out of a driveway.

Reynaga dragged Morales Rodriguez and his bike under his truck onto Orangethorpe Ave, leaving him lying in the street where he was struck by another vehicle. There’s no way to tell which one struck the fatal blow, but Morales Rodriguez might have had a chance at survival if Reynaga has stopped as the law, and human decency, dictate.

Reynaga is scheduled to go on trial Monday, charged with felony hit and run causing death and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. He faces up to four years if he’s convicted.

And the OC DA’s office has a good track record of getting convictions and serious jail time in traffic cases.

 

Filemon Reynaga trialThanks to OC cyclist and attorney Edward Rubinstein for the heads-up. That’s Rubinstein with an I, not an E, as I bone-headedly spelled it in an earlier post.

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Westwood Village points out that it’s technically illegal to lock a bike to a parking meter in Los Angeles, though the law is seldom enforced.

The reminder was made after the city council approved a motion to install bike racks on over 100 parking meters in the village, at the urging of Westside councilmember Paul Koretz. Never mind that they could have just changed the law to allow locking up to meters.

So evidently, Koretz supports bike parking in Westwood, just not safe ways to get there.

Be A Green Commuter looks at the needless controversy over bike lanes on Westwood Blvd through the eyes of UCLA students who have to ride it, dangerous or not. And describes the dispute as “a handful of anachronistic curmudgeons and an LA City Councilmember pitted against transportation experts, UCLA and many Westwood businesses.”

Meanwhile, Joel Epstein calls out Koretz for caving into the demands of “a handful of NIMBYs who haven’t gone out without their car since LA hosted the Olympics.”

And since he broached the subject, Forbes examines just how much NIMBYism costs us.

………

On a related subject, the LA Mobility Plan is scheduled to come up before a joint session of the city council’s Transportation and Planning and Land Use Management committees on Tuesday.

Some of the bikeways, such as Westwood and North Figueroa, are under attack in an unprecedented attempt to remove them from the bike plan, which was already unanimously approved by the city council and incorporated into the Mobility Plan.

If approved bikeway plans that were developed as part of an extensive public process are allowed to be removed at the whim of individual councilmembers and others who failed to participate in the process, the whole thing becomes meaningless.

As a result, a coalition of advocacy groups have designated this Monday as Mobility Monday, urging you to contact your councilmembers to urge them to approve the plan as written.

You’ll find email addresses and a sample email at the link above.

And if you’re free on Tuesday afternoon, drop by City Hall to let them know how you really feel.

………

Great news from the BMC racing team, as Taylor Phinney and Peter Stetina, both badly injured in horrific bike racing wrecks, will make their comebacks in next week’s Tour of Utah.

Maybe they’re onto something in the UK. Just a week after British rider Chris Froome won the Tour de France, a pair of Brit road riders take gold in the Special Olympics.

………

Local

LADOT Bike Blog says corridors and plazas are the malls of the future. Like this car-free plaza that just opened in Pacoima, for instance.

CicLAvia presents a neighborhood guide to the Culver City Meets Venice open streets event coming up a just a week from Sunday. Hopefully, we’ll have the Militant Angeleno’s guide by then, too.

CiclaValley says LA’s first bike park could be coming to the Valley.

The LACBC’s monthly Sunday Funday ride takes a family friendly roll through Lakewood this Sunday, led by board president Steve Boyd.

 

State

San Diego’s new bikeshare program may be off to a bumpy start.

The chair of the San Diego Bicycle Advisory Committee explains how improving bicycling conditions will benefit the city and its residents.

The local paper suggests that giving 60 Coachella Valley kids refurbished bikes abandoned on the local bus system could lead to culture change.

Cyclelicious discusses public safety and bike commuting after an Antioch cyclist is mugged while riding home from work.

The San Francisco Police Department has officially revised their deadly driving campaign to target people walking and biking who, unlike dangerous drivers, pose little risk to others around them. Meanwhile, the SF Weekly looks at what happens when bike riders follow the letter of the law.

 

National

USA Today names the nation’s top 10 beachfront bike rides; our own Marvin Braude trail, stretching 22 miles from Palos Verdes to Pacific Palisades, tops the list.

A Portland paper offers advice for riding in a heat wave as Pacific Northwest cyclists face temperatures in the 100s.

Oddly, a bike helmet didn’t keep a Spokane cyclist from suffering a serious spinal injury in a solo fall; a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with medical expenses.

Bicycle Colorado says three is the magic number when it comes to traffic lanes and road diets.

Minnesota Public Radio asks what will it take to get you to put your damn phone down while driving, while Georgia cops pose as construction workers to nab texting drivers. Maybe the LAPD, LASD, and CHP et al could take a page from the Georgia playbook; thanks to F3nugr33k for the heads-up.

Bike commuting is up a whopping 400% in Pittsburgh, despite the usual arguments over bike lanes versus parking. Nice way to bury the lede, though.

Philly’s bikeshare system may take a back seat to His Holiness, even though the pope is a bike rider himself.

It looks like some of New York’s bike lanes are being allowed to fade to black.

 

International

People for Bikes says Canada is leaving the US in the dust when it comes to protected bike lanes; separated lanes helped Vancouver reach its goal of half of all trips being made by bike, foot or transit.

News is just coming out of a horrifying case of vigilante murder in Hamilton, Ontario, as a driver deliberately stalked and ran down a bike rider in the mistaken belief he was a pedophile; police still haven’t solved the case despite keeping a lid on it for two years.

Caught on video: A road raging British driver chases a bike rider after being called out for a close pass, and takes a tumble in the street.

Bicycling is going upscale in the UK as part of a luxury lifestyle. Try telling that to the people who rely on a bike for transportation instead of an expensive fashion accessory.

A Brit rider is fined the equivalent of nearly $1300 for riding off after plowing into a toddler. And deservedly so.

A government minister for the Isle of Man calls for the equivalent of a nearly five-foot passing law after a driver walks away with a suspended sentence for killing a cyclist.

More on Munich’s plans for a series of radschnellverbindungen, the equivalent of bike autobahns spreading across the city like a spider. No, really, look at the map.

A study from an Australian university identifies the most dangerous intersections for cyclists in Perth. No one knows the most dangerous intersections for bike riders in LA, because the city has never bothered to find out.

 

Finally…

A cyclist admits what so many drivers already think — we’re just here to fuck with them. A Chicago gas station owner would probably agree, as the bike-riding residents of the Wicker Park neighborhood force him out of business.

And maybe drones could be used to make sure you straighten up and ride right on your next group ride.

 

Juries, Judges and Your Bike Crash

Bikes Have Rights™
By James L. Pocrass, Esq.
Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP 

Jury box

This may well be the most controversial blog post I’ll ever write. It’s likely that many of you are going to hate reading this. Some of you will tell me that what I say here isn’t fair and that I’m blaming the victim.

Be assured, I’ve represented many bicycle riders in bike crashes and I know as well or better than anyone how the system is stacked against them. As to fairness, well, it isn’t fair that I don’t have the same head of hair that I had as a younger man either, but that’s the way it is.

What I’m going to tell you is the hard truth. It’s not fair, but it IS an undeniable, regrettable fact: many people have strong, negative feelings about cyclists. If you are in a bike crash and it goes to trial, the judge and/or jurors will probably not be cyclists.

Though the people on your jury and the judge presiding over your trial have probably encountered hundreds – if not thousands – of law-abiding bicyclists, those aren’t who they remember. They remember the helmetless cyclist who cut them off or rode through a red light and saluted them with a middle finger as they blew by. It’s always that “one” ne’er-do-well who people remember.

The U.S. Bicycling Participation Benchmark Report, commissioned by People for Bikes, reported that though the number of Americans ages 3+ who rode a bicycle last year is larger than had been previously thought, 30% of these cyclists rode 5 days or fewer in 2014.

The chance of getting a cyclist on your jury or a judge is probably even worse when you add the number of seniors who willingly sit on juries. (Think of that the next time you attempt to get out of jury duty or complain about being called for jury duty.)

The result is that the judge and jurors, more than likely, are going to be people who are biased against cyclists. When I am questioning potential jurors in a bicycle case, some of the most common comments I get from people are:

  • Bike riders ride recklessly, not stopping at red lights or stop signs.
  • Bike riders should ride on the sidewalk and stay out of traffic.
  • Bike riders ride too fast on the sidewalk.
  • Bike riders ride in car lanes, sometimes side-by-side or as a group, which interferes with traffic.
  • Roads are for cars, not bikes.

You know all this. If these things have never been said to your face, you’ve read them in comments on articles and posts on social media.

These are the people who are going to decide your legal case. Their inclination is going to be to blame YOU – the cyclist – for your own “accident.” Furthermore, insurance adjustors and defense attorneys know this, and they are going to cater to this bias.

It would be nice if more people understood the rules of the road. “Fair” doesn’t enter into the equation. In a trial, we have to deal with the hand we’ve been dealt, and in most bike crash trials, it’s contending with the prejudice against our cyclist client.

To be successful in trial it is critical for your trial lawyer to understand how people perceive you. As a trial lawyer, I have numerous strategies I utilize to attempt either to overcome this bias or to focus the jurors on the person the cyclist is, not his/her activity. I want the juror to see the cyclist as a person who has more in common with the jurors than s/he has different. An experienced trial lawyer utilizes specific strategies in every part of the trial, from jury selection at the beginning of the trial to how jury instructions are crafted near the end of the trial, and everything in-between.

I believe we can change these preconceptions, but it isn’t easy, and it isn’t going to happen tomorrow, next month, or even next year.

As a cyclist – whether you ride for recreation or as a commuter – you can be part of the solution. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Join the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and your local bicycle advocacy organization. Even better, get involved. These people are on the frontline of change. At the very least, sign up for the LACBC’s e-newsletter (no membership required) and join these advocacy organizations’ Facebook pages. (And in a shameful plug, “friend” the FB Pocrass & De Los Reyes Bicycle Law page, too.)
  1. I suggested above that you join your local advocacy organization. Many of these are chapters of LACBC, all of them work together. Almost all cities have such organizations, including Claremont, Pomona, the Eastside, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Santa Clarita, and many more.
  1. Join the California Bicycle Coalition, our state-wide organization that is instrumental in lobbying for biking conditions and laws for California cyclists.
  1. Get involved with SAFE (Streets are for Everyone). The nonprofit advocates for changes in the law to make streets safe for bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders, and everyone else.
  1. Know and follow the Rules of the Road. The LACBC has a wonderful wallet-sized brochure that explains what these are. They are available at every event attended by the LACBC. The organization also is offering FREE bicycle safety classes through the end of September throughout the Southland. Don’t be that one cyclist who will be burned into the brain of those who come in contact with him/her for his/her bad behavior.
  1. Cyclists over the age of 18 are not required by law to wear a helmet when they ride. We strongly urge you to wear one, regardless of your age. The obvious reason for wearing a helmet is that it very likely increases your chances of surviving or limiting brain injury should you crash. A less obvious reason is that not wearing one adds to the jurors’ and judge’s biases that you SHOULD HAVE BEEN wearing a helmet and if you had been wearing one, it would have protected you so your injuries “are your own fault.” (Don’t kill the messenger, please. I said I was going to talk reality here.)
  1. Think before you post on social media. Specifically, insurance companies and defense attorneys troll your social media accounts to see what can be used against you. What you write on social media will come back if you’re ever a plaintiff in a jury trial. Generally, furious posts filled with expletives (I understand the urge, believe me), reinforce non-cyclists’ attitudes about the “arrogance” of cyclists.
  1. Educate the non-cyclists you know. Back up your arguments with facts and statistics. Try to be calm and rational in the discussion, but the one-on-one discussions are the best way to change perceptions. Remember, no one goes out to kill someone with their car (okay, almost no one), but most drivers are angry because they’re scared. No one taught them how to share the road. No one taught them how to drive sharing the road with a cyclist. You can say that’s not your problem, but the truth is, it’s everybody’s problem.

Often when I read bikinginla.com and see the slap on the wrist so many drivers get for hitting cyclists, I am frustrated by the slowness of the process to eliminate cyclist bias. But it’s coming, and by working together, I believe we can make it happen.


 

Jim Pocrass Trimmed

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

For more than 30 years, Jim Pocrass has represented people who were seriously injured, or families who lost a loved one in a wrongful death, due to the carelessness or negligence of another. Jim is repeatedly named to Best Lawyers of America and to Southern California Super Lawyers for the outstanding results he consistently achieves for his clients. Having represented hundreds of cyclists during his career, and Jim’s own interest in cycling, have resulted in him becoming a bicycle advocate. He is a board member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Jim Pocrass at 310.550.9050 or at info@pocrass.com or visit www.pocrass.com.

 

 

Morning Links: Graphic testimony in the case of a fallen PCH cyclist; riding the Reseda protected bike lanes

It’s been just over a year since John Greg Colvin was killed when his bike was rear-ended while riding on PCH in Laguna Beach.

Last week, a preliminary hearing was held for the driver, Dylan Rand-Luby, on charges of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run for driving over a mile from the scene before stopping, despite a windshield too shattered to even see through.

A source, who prefers to remain anonymous, reports on the hearing from inside the courtroom.

Warning — some of the information presented in the hearing was very graphic. If you’re uncomfortable with that, you may want to skip to the next section.

Dylan Thomas Rand-Luby’s preliminary hearing was Tuesday morning, and surprisingly, the word “texting” never came up. The word “objection,” on the other hand, popped up a couple dozen times like a poorly written comedy.

A witness in a vehicle traveling behind Rand-Luby’s Prius in the #2 lane had just moved over into the #1 lane to pass him. When the witness glanced at his rear-view mirror, he saw a bicyclist’s body going onto the hood of the Prius, and then up and over. Despite the shock, the witness immediately scanned the roadway to see where he could pull over. He was unable to move into the #2 lane, because Rand-Luby was accelerating. Alarmed, the witness told his confused wife to call 911 (she hadn’t seen the actual collision, and as you might imagine, had to be told several times why to call 911.) Meanwhile, Rand-Luby had rolled down his driver’s side window in order to see the road. He was clearly terrified, and yelled, “I have to pull over!” But he didn’t pull over until he reached the El Morro School parking lot, over a mile down the road; the distance surprised the witness, who followed him into the parking lot. Rand-Luby was crying, trembling and covered in shards of glass as he stepped out of his car and approached the witness, who hugged him and told him that 911 was already on the way to help.

Another witness had been in the #2 lane when Rand-Luby came up behind her. His tailgating led her to believe he was distracted, and she was so nervous that she sped up to create distance. In her rearview, she saw the Prius drift to the right, hit the cyclist, then swerve to the left and accelerate. She had merged into the #1 lane, and upon observing the shattered windshield as the Prius passed her in the #2 lane, she grabbed her cell phone to call 911.

A young Department of Fish & Wildlife officer in a marked DFW vehicle was traveling northbound in the #2 lane and hit the brakes upon approach to the scene. He immediately parked in the lane, activated his emergency lights, and ran to the victim. Bike parts and clothing were strewn on the shoulder. A woman at the scene identified herself to him as a nurse, and as the DFW officer had no advanced first aid training, he allowed the nurse to provide care, and returned to his vehicle to contact dispatch.

Within minutes, LBPD was on the scene. The first arriving officer observed the road shoulder littered with bike debris, and two Good Samaritans, one in scrubs, attending to the victim, who was bleeding about the face, head and arm. One swollen arm indicated a fracture. The officer attempted to initiate chest compressions, but the victim’s ribcage was no longer intact. The officer identified Mr. Colvin by his Road ID.

The lead investigator, who testified, is a cyclist himself. When the defense pressed him about his qualifications to assess whether the friction mark left by Colvin’s rear tire was actually created by a bicycle, he first mentioned his familiarity with bicycles, and road bikes especially, and then listed his pertinent professional training as an investigator.

The defense suggested, without much success, that perhaps the victim had been riding to the left of the solid white line that delineates the shoulder. Don’t know what she was getting at there?… She, and the paid criminal investigator, made a big deal about the overgrown shrubbery encroaching a little bit into the right side of the shoulder. It can’t be helpful for the defense to insinuate that the victim may have been lawfully riding in the #2 lane, and would therefore have been even more visible to a motorist approaching from behind. But there you go, excellent strategy. The defense’s own investigator also made a big deal about the thirteen “NO PARKING ANY TIME” signs between the point of impact & the school parking lot, suggesting that Rand-Luby did, in fact, pull over at the first lawful opportunity. Naturally the defense skipped over the part about Rand-Luby’s inability to actually see these signs.

In sending the case to trial, the judge cited separate witnesses who corroborated Rand-Luby’s sudden acceleration immediately upon hitting the victim, and she agreed with the prosecutor that operating a motor vehicle with a completely opaque windshield for over a mile on a highway with a 50mph speed limit is certainly an aggravating circumstance. The judge also denied the defense’s request to reduce the hit and run charge to misdemeanor.

Rand-Luby, who was just 19 at the time of the collision, faces up to four years in prison if he’s convicted.

………

It’s not always easy to get from one part of this vast city to another, especially on two wheels.

Which means most LA riders haven’t had a chance to try out the new protected bike lanes on Reseda Blvd. Or even know they exist, for that matter.

Reader danger d makes up for that with a video tour of the full length of the northbound lane, including a lingering look at the sidewalk treatments and outdoor furniture that make up the city’s first Great Street.

………

Way too much news to wrap up the Tour de France, which ended Sunday at the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Élysées.

After weathering three weeks of doubt and abuse, not to mention comparisons to He Who Must Not Be Named, Chris Froome rolled into Paris as the winner of the Tour de France; maybe he should have crossed the finish line in a yellow polka dot jersey. He also explains why he keeps his head down when he rides. But that doesn’t explain his awkward elbows-out cycling form.

The BBC asks where Froome ranks in the pantheon of British bike racing. Peter Sagan wins his fourth green jersey in a row as the Tour’s best sprinter, while Alberto Contador has no regrets after failing to win a rare Giro – Tour double.

Here are the full standings in every category at the end of the race, which ended with a bang — and a shooting.

Bicycling talks to the man behind the spectacular artworks carved into farm fields at the Tour. The Wall Street Journal offers video of the crazed fans atop the Alpe D’Huez, while Cycling Weekly offers a GoPro view from inside the peloton.

And a writer for Forbes explains how pro cycling’s 6.8 kilo rule leads to more innovation.

Meanwhile, Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen wins the rain-soaked women’s La Course preceding the final stage of the Tour. A racer looks at the misconceptions that have kept women from having more than a token race before the finish of the Tour de France. But while progress has been made, women’s racing still has a long way to go.

………

Local

KPCC looks at bike commuting in the City of Angels, while NPR rides with LA’s Carlos Morales and the Eastside Bike Club.

Rick Risemberg says when it comes to city councilmembers blocking bike lanes, just sue ‘em. Couldn’t agree more. Any lawyers out there want to volunteer?

CiclaValley rides the LA area’s equivalent of Alp d’Huez.

Glendale votes to build parks and extend the bike path along the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk.

 

State

Ride too far on San Diego’s Mission Trails, and you could be cuffed and busted by armed Marines, and your bike seized as evidence.

The owner of a bike rental shop in San Diego’s Pacific Beach complains about the city’s bikeshare program competing with his business. Even though bikeshare is intended for short-term rentals, and could bring more customers to his shop.

San Carlos-based Beeline Bikes receives financing to take their mobile bike repair shops nationwide.

The library bike movement spreads to San Francisco.

Bicycles and riders of every description flock to Oakland’s Jack London Square for the city’s Pedalfest.

A Bay Area hit-and-run driver tries to cover-up the crime after hitting a cyclist. Literally.

The managing editor of the Stockton paper calls for peace and consideration on the streets after getting an unwanted shower while riding. And is just glad it was Gatorade instead of something else.

Sacramento police discover most bike thieves are habitual criminals. Which really shouldn’t shock anyone.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on how to buy a saddle, while Treehugger asks if we really need all those gadgets on our bikes. Surprisingly, most bikes still function even without Strava and GPS.

Plans are underway to encircle Detroit with a 26-mile bike and pedestrian path, although an 8.3 mile gap still needs to be plugged.

Who says cyclists aren’t tough? A New Mexico mountain biker drove himself to the hospital after being impaled through the neck with a tree branch.

A Texas woman calls for locks on bus bike racks after her bicycle was stolen. Suggested solutions range from locks where the key stays in the lock until used, to a solenoid controlled by the driver.

Chicago is transforming a roadway into a three-block long shared street accommodating bicycle, pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic.

After a Pittsburgh-area woman accuses a road raging driver of pushing her off her bike, he claims they were the ones harassing him and she just fell off her bike as he ran screaming towards her. Sure, let’s go with that.

Bikeyface has lane envy.

 

International

Winnipeg’s anti-bike councilors aren’t giving up, despite the city’s adoption of an aggressive bike and pedestrian plan.

A Brit pedalcab operator says he was justified in charging a pair of tourists the equivalent of $320 for a one-mile trip because he was riding uphill. Most of the peloton didn’t make that much per mile riding up Alp d’Huez.

A Welsh hotel is going out of its way to make bike tourists feel at home.

After a similar video appeared online last month showing a Brit cyclist being pushed off his bike from a moving car, some Irish jerks film themselves pushing over a bike rider as they drive by. Seriously, there’s not a jail cell dark enough or a pit in hell deep enough for people like that.

Over 150 cyclists will race across India in six-member teams to promote amateur cycling.

An Aussie writer questions whether bicycling is really in decline in the county.

 

Finally…

If you’re wanted on an outstanding warrant and carrying drug paraphernalia on your bike, stop for the damn stop sign, already.

A YouTube video looks at the tragic plight of the bicyclists’ nearest living relative, the endangered North American biped.

And in a must watch video, a bike-riding Aussie TV host makes some strong points with tongue planted firmly in cheek, telling drivers “don’t be a wanker.” Update: As mwandaw points out below, this video is no longer online. Let’s hope it comes back soon.

Seriously, this could be the best five minutes of your day.

 

Morning Links: Killer OC hit-and-run driver jailed, Westwood Blvd bike lanes threatened, and Beverly Hills lanes fail

Justice came too late for another fallen OC rider on Thursday.

Forty-four year old Daniella Palacios was riding in Anaheim last November when she was hit by a truck driven by Junior Rigoberto Lopez. Lopez fled the scene, leaving the mother of eight to die in an Orange County Hospital.

He tried to hide the damage by fleeing to Mexico, where he had the truck repaired before returning to the US six weeks later.

It didn’t work; he was arrested after police examined the truck and discovered the repair work.

Lopez was sentenced to three years.

With credit for time served, he should be out in less than two. Probably far less.

In fact, he’s already eligible for parole.

But to the judge’s credit, parole was denied; according to the according to KNBC-4, the judge called Lopez’ actions “outrageous and nearly unforgivable.”

What do you mean, nearly?

Junior Lopez sentence

Thanks to Ed Rubinstein and an anonymous source for the heads-up.

………

Both the LA Times and KPCC look at the needless controversy over bike lanes proposed for Westwood Blvd, which have so far been halted by councilmember Paul Koretz at the demand wealthy homeowners.

The homeowners cite safety concerns, fearing for the poor riders who could face harm from increased bus traffic, despite having their own lane which would keep them out of the way of buses. Unlike now, when riders are forced to share the same congested lanes with them.

Why is it that people who oppose improving safety for bike riders always seem to stress how concerned they are about the safety of bicyclists, while doing absolutely nothing about it?

And seriously, don’t read the comments to either of those pieces unless you want to lose all hope for the future of humanity.

………

Speaking of needless battles, the fight over re-opening long-closed Mt. Hollywood Drive to motor vehicles at the resumes tonight at the meeting of the Griffith Park Advisory Board.

Homeowners in the wealthy Beachwood Canyon neighborhood, who evidently didn’t notice the Hollywood Sign when they moved in, are trying to turn their community into a virtual private enclave to keep tourists from besmirching their streets in an attempt to get selfies in front of the sign.

And they want the park to open the popular biking and hiking street to cars so those tourists can have a much less attractive view of the sign, at the expense of everyone else who uses the park.

………

Yet another failure of rationality in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, as Better Bike’s Mark Elliot reports the city council voted not to include bike lanes on the soon-to-be-revamped Santa Monica Blvd.

This despite the fact that space for bike lanes will be available on almost the entire length of the boulevard, and require the loss of just a few feet of parkland in just one short section. And despite the fact that state law now calls for Complete Streets that meet the needs of all users, not just motor vehicles or over-privileged residents.

I’m old enough to remember a time when some towns still had signs warning minorities not to let the sun set on them inside the city limits.

That’s the same feeling I get from Beverly Hills.

They send a clear message that bikes, and their riders, are not welcome there, and they will do whatever it takes to run us out of town.

Although some of their elected leaders get it. Just not enough to make a difference.

Not surprising, Elliot also reports the city fails to address the safety of bicyclists in construction projects on the boulevard.

………

Albertor Contador insists the Tour de France is not over, despite Chris Froome’s overwhelming dominance.

One rider who won’t be challenging Froome is Teejay van Garderen, who was forced to abandon the race due to illness after struggling in Wednesday’s stage; he says he just wants to disappear after dropping out while still in third place.

Despite doping controversies, viewership of the Tour de France is up except in France; America’s only remaining TdF champ gets a warm embrace after returning to the race as a broadcaster.

The owner of the Tinkoff-Saxo team calls for a revolution in pro cycling.

Good news for Ivan Basso, whose successful surgery for testicular cancer means no further treatment is necessary.

And a Singapore cyclist competing in the South East Asian Games is under investigation for repeatedly slapping a teammate on a training ride.

………

Local

Streetsblog looks at multiple motions regarding bikeshare at today’s Metro meeting; Santa Monica’s system is scheduled for a limited opening in August, while Long Beach should open next year.

The East Side Riders fulfill a longtime dream by opening a bike co-op in Watts.

The LAPD is on the lookout for a pair of Brentwood bike thieves caught on camera stealing a bike from inside a building.

Bike LA’s battle with Hollywood over green bike lanes goes on… and on… as LA’s newly installed chief film liaison is working to find a compromise shade of green that will allow the city to finally put some paint on the streets; the city caved to filmmakers demands and stripped the paint off LA’s first green lane on Spring Street in DTLA.

 

State

Apparently having nothing better to do, the state legislature passes a bill requiring bike riders to pull over on narrow roads when five or more vehicles are following behind and unable to pass. Even though current law, which already applies to cyclists, already says exactly that.

BikeSD reports on a new study that concludes the cost of driving a car is six times the cost of riding a bike.

The next time someone says police never ticket bike riders, show them this: San Bernardino police ticketed 12 bicyclists and 31 pedestrians as part of a safety sting; not surprisingly, motorists still lead the way with 57 violations.

The weeklong Big Bear Cycling Festival kicks off this Saturday.

Sixty kids in Mecca — no, not the one in Saudi Arabia — get refurbished bikes, locks and helmets courtesy of a local transit agency.

A pair of East Palo Alto brothers, one on a bike and the other on a skateboard, help subdue a man accused of attacking an 89-year old priest.

San Francisco settles with a father who was choked by police for riding a bike with his 10-month old son in a baby carrier, but without a baby helmet. No, really.

Alameda cyclists will ride Sunday to remember a popular bike shop owner who lost his battle with cancer earlier this month.

The idiotic Orinda bike lane that places riders in the path of high speed traffic entering a freeway on double onramps is due for a safety makeover; the city’s chief engineer admits the current design is “not ideal.” A little green paint is not going to solve the problem, or encourage riders to risk their lives there.

The death of a bike rider in St. Helena last May is blamed on alcohol, even though the victim’s rental fixie had a substandard brake; the Ohio woman, who was celebrating her first anniversary, had a BAC of .18 when she rode into the side of a slow moving truck.

 

National

Outside Magazine sums up the HBO Real Sports look at the state of bicycling in the US, for those without premium cable.

AT&T offers their latest public service ad showing the devastating consequences of texting while driving.

Portland advocates say an increase in reported bike thefts means more people are trying to get them back instead of just giving up.

An Arizona driver gets nine years for killing a cyclist while high on synthetic marijuana; the victim’s friends complain the sentence wasn’t stiff enough. California cyclists are just happy to see DUI drivers get any jail time.

Colorado cyclists call a bizarrely designed bike lane a death trap. This is what happens when people who apparently don’t ride bikes design bicycling infrastructure.

Note to business owners fighting bike lanes — you’re shooting yourself in the foot. When Denver installed bike lanes on a pair of streets downtown, retail sales skyrocketed.

The Slow Roll movement spreads to Minneapolis, encouraging leisurely rides through neighborhoods where bicycling is less popular. Which is their overly polite way of saying lower-income and minority areas.

Vermont police somehow conclude a bike rider made an abrupt U-turn just to collide head-on with the wife of a cop, who was found not at fault even though she was driving drunk while high on Xanax.

A 560-pound man is riding across the country to lose weight; he’ll be getting a new donated bike after he was stranded in Rhode Island when his broke.

A bike rider is a hero after grabbing a woman’s ankle to keep her from jumping off New York’s George Washington Bridge. But bikes are the problem, right?

A seven-month pregnant woman was stabbed in the shoulder while riding her bike home from work in DC.

An Atlanta man wasn’t even safe from a hit-and-run driver while walking his bike on the damn sidewalk.

 

International

The family of a fallen Saskatchewan bike rider call her death senseless after her bike was clipped by a passing delivery truck. Actually, all traffic deaths are senseless; it’s long past time we stopped tolerating them.

Instead of fixing a dangerous railroad crossing, British authorities urge cyclists to be careful when riding near it.

More Brit women are taking up bicycling despite safety fears. Evidently, it’s okay to kill a cyclist there due to a momentary lapse in concentration.

Irish police are accused of misleading cyclists into thinking riders without helmets and hi-viz are subject to on-the-spot fines.

A Turkish adventurer has ridden through 19 countries on his bike, as well as a failed attempt to ride to the North Pole; however, authorities wouldn’t let him pedal up Mt. Everest.

 

Finally…

A Michigan SUV driver somehow couldn’t avoid hitting a cyclist, or an elementary school. Drivers parking in a bike lane is one thing; placing a permanent bus stop in one is another.

And if you’re going to threaten to permanently injure the person who stole your bike, it helps if you spell it right.

………

Thanks to everyone who expressed concern about the Corgi.

Three days, two vet visits and several hundred dollars later, we learned that she has Giardia, most likely as a result of all the irresponsible dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets around here.

The good news is, she should be back to her feisty self in a week or so.

Sienna-Foot-Back

Morning Links: Suit filed in death of Granada Hills teenager; Biking Black Hole considers SaMo Blvd bike lanes

That was to be expected.

The father of Philomene Ragni, the 17-year old bike rider killed when he was hit by a DWP truck in Granada Hills earlier this year, has filed suit against DWP and the driver of the truck.

The suit states that Ragni had the right-of-way and was riding with due care when he was struck due to the careless actions of the driver; it also alleges the driver was traveling at an unsafe speed and was in violation of several DWP policies.

Of course, lawsuits, by their nature, paint the actions of their client in the best possible light. And the ones being sued in the worst.

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

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Don’t forget the proposal for the much-needed bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills comes up before the city council one more time today.

And this time, perhaps for the first time, it might actually have a chance.

So if you can’t there, email the councilmembers at the link above to voice your support.

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Spain’s Rubén Plaza wins Monday’s stage 16 of the Tour de France as part of a 23-man breakaway; once again, Peter Sagan finishes second after a blazing descent. Today is a rest day.

Team Sky plans to release part of Chris Froome’s performance data to put to rest rumors of doping.

Wicked crash in Monday’s stage as Geraint Thomas gets bumped, misses a turn and crashes into a telephone pole before falling into a ditch. The rider who bumped him, Warren Barguil, blames Teejay van Garderen for knocking him off his line; naturally, Teejay disagrees.

Bicycling explains how TdF riders show up on a yellow bike the day after winning the yellow jersey. Doesn’t look like that’s likely to be a concern for the remainder of this one.

Interesting post on a physics website, as a writer wonders if Lance Armstrong has actually had a net positive effect on bicycling and society, and just how to measure that.

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Local

Metro board directors Mike Bonin and Shiela Kuehl call on the agency to speed up the glacial implementation of LA’s long awaited bikeshare program. At this rate, it won’t get to Hollywood until I’m too old and feeble to use it.

The LACBC’s Tamika Butler will participate in a webinar on Active Transportation and Equity at 10 this morning. Thanks to LA Streetsblog for the link.

The LACBC’s Valley Bike Ambassadors meeting will be held tonight. Along with the LACBC’s local chapters, the Neighborhood Bike Ambassador program is one of the best ways to get involved with bike advocacy and volunteer work in your own community.

CiclaValley offers their weekly update.

Bike SGV hosts a bike train and barbeque this Sunday.

 

State

Better Bike offers a detailed manual on how to read the results from California’s SWITRS collision database.

Calbike invites you on scenic 265-mile fundraising ride from Santa Barbara to San Diego.

An 11-year old Irvine girl appears to be okay despite getting hit by an SUV while riding her bike to summer school.

More private bikeshare in Orange County, as the Irvine Company teams up with Zagster to offer 60 bikes for residents and commercial tenants to use free of charge. That hardly seems enough for 9,000 potential users, though.

Santa Barbara companies are discovering that bikes are good for business. Funny how LA businesses didn’t seem to get the memo.

A San Francisco writer looks at the newly bike-friendly Caltrans, but says the agency still has a long way to go to put its auto-centric past behind it.

Bike thefts are up in Palo Alto. And pretty much everywhere else, as well. So be careful out there.

 

National

Another new study from the University of Duh shows that people who walk or bike to work have a lower body mass index; living in compact cities doesn’t seem to encourage more active commutes, though.

Largely unnoticed last week was Senate approval of a clause allowing parents to decide when their kids are old enough to walk or bike to school. Although the Popsugar website jumped the gun a tad since it still needs to be reconciled, and signed by the president.

People for Bikes is looking for a new Marketing and Communications Manager in their Boulder CO office.

A prominent Albuquerque homebuilder was killed by an alleged drunk driver while riding his bike in a gated community. The driver, who police describe as a low-life drunk and despicable guy, was released on $100,000 bail. I wonder if the police would be as pissed off if it was just anyone on a bike.

Bad enough to drive drunk. Worse to rear end a pair of cyclists while doing it — especially if they’re North Dakota bike cops making a traffic stop. Fortunately, the officers are okay.

A couple on a tandem taking part in Iowa’s RAGBRAI ride were injured when a drunk driver ignored a cop’s instructions and drove through an intersection.

A Texas woman overcomes melanoma to set a masters world record in the 2K pursuit.

A writer for the Boston Globe says non-compete clauses are the wrong move for boutique bike builders, where one bike maker can spawn another.

Don’t try this at home. A 14-year old Massachusetts girl was texting while riding down a steep hill, blowing through a stop sign and turning into the path of an oncoming car. Seriously. Put the damn phone down and pay attention to the road in front of you.

New York’s environmental commissioner leaves office after biking across the state. Although it would have been better if he’d done it upon entering the office. 

A New York cyclist was dragged off his bike and beaten in an alleged hate crime; the Hispanic rider was attacked by two white men who called him a “fucking immigrant” and said he didn’t belong in this country. Doesn’t sound very “alleged” to me.

New Charleston bike lanes are delayed until next year; they’ll be part of a planned 140-mile citywide bikeway system.

Cyclists in New Orleans plan a die-in at Thursday’s city council meeting to protest too many bicycling deaths in the city.

 

International

Laguna Beach mountain bike champ Hans Rey goes biking at 10,000 feet through the Guatemalan Highlands; his Wheels 4 Life organization has donated 7,100 bikes to school kids in 200 developing countries.

Winnipeg drivers can’t seem to get the hang of a new bike lane; the story blames parking next to the bike lane for forcing drivers into it. Or they could, you know, just stay the hell out of it.

Nice. A UK man not only finds a stolen bike abandoned in a park, but fixes it and adds a kickstand before returning it to its owner.

Pashley and Brompton owners can take some credit, as sales and production of British bikes jump 70% in a single year. I still think Pashley should send me a Guv’nor to try out on a semi-permanent loan, right?

Stockholm is taking ciclovía a step further by turning the entire city center over to people, not cars, for a day.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: You seriously may not want to see this, as a Cuban track cyclist competing in the Pan Am Games gets one of the worst splinters in human history. When you’re already wanted on a $25,000 outstanding warrant, don’t ride salmon — and don’t get in a wreck.

And a father in the UK jumped from his van and beat the boy he said stole his son’s bike with a hammer — only to apologize after realizing it wasn’t even the same bike.

No, seriously.

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Thanks to John Hall for his generous donation to support this site. Contributions of any amount are deeply appreciated.

Gardena police video released in shooting of unarmed man looking for his brother’s stolen bike

As expected, a judge has ordered the release of a video showing the Gardena police fatally shooting the unarmed brother of a bike theft victim.

Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino was trying to tell the officers that the men they had detained weren’t bike thieves, but friends who were helping to look for the bike.

But instead of releasing them, the cops opened fire when he took of his hat and lowered his hands, shooting Diaz-Zeferino eight times, and injuring one of his companions, who had his hands in the air the whole time.

Even though Diaz-Zeferino was unarmed, and as the video shows, made no threatening moves towards the officers.

He was shot, apparently, because they thought he might possibly be armed, and they were too afraid to wait to see if he really had a gun before blowing him away.

And somehow, that’s okay with the DA and the Gardena police department; KNBC-4 reports the officers are still with the force and patrolling the streets.

Even though the city felt there it had enough liability to settle with the victims’ families to the tune of a $4.7 million, paid out of the taxpayer’s pockets.

That’s a lot of guilt if no one did a damn thing wrong.

The city fought the release of the video, claiming it could result in a “rush to judgment” about the officer’s behavior, according to KPCC.

Or it could just let the public see what really happened. And realize that what sounded like a bad shoot by trigger happy cops, was.

It used to be that any cop who shot an unarmed person could expect to lose his or her job, at the very least. I once knew an officer, in another state, who freely admitted carrying a spare gun and a knife to drop by the victim if he ever shot someone who wasn’t armed.

And it used to be that fellow officers wanted bad cops off the force, because they made everyone else look bad and made the public lose faith in the officers charged with protecting them.

In fact, that officer was eventually fired, at the urging of his fellow officers.

Clearly, those days have changed.

So be careful riding through Gardena.

In other cities, getting stopped by the police could get you a ticket you might not deserve, from a cop who doesn’t understand bike law.

In Gardena, it could get you shot.

But it won’t get anyone fired.

Update: I was reminded this morning that Gardena is also where a group of Hispanic riders were illegally harassed by the police two years ago, while on their way to meet with the city manager to discuss the unsolved hit-and-run bike rider Benjamin Torres.

………

Warning: The video below, posted online by the LA Times, shows the full shooting from two separate angles. Decide for yourself whether you really want to see that before pushing play.

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