Archive for Legal Cases

Morning Links: One year for killing OC cyclist, new video of LAPD beating bike rider, and bike hating sportswriters

We have way too much news for one day. So grab yourself a cuppa Joe and buckle in, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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Just one year for the hit-and-run death of a Laguna Beach bicyclist.

Twenty-one-year old Dylan Thomas Rand-Luby plead guilty Monday to one count of felony hit-and-run with injury and one count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence in the death of John Colvin over two years ago.

Sure, you could call death an injury.

Rand-Luby swerved his car out of his lane and into the bike lane where Colvin was riding, striking him from behind, then continued on for another mile with a windshield too shattered to see through before finally pulling over.

He had faced up to four years in prison, but accepted a plea deal calling for just one year behind bars, with three years formal probation upon his release.

You can read the OC District Attorney’s full press release here, including the very moving impact statements from Colvin’s family.

Thanks to Edward M. Rubinstein for the heads-up.

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The LA Times released security camera video of the beating of South LA bike rider Clinton Alford, Jr. by an LAPD officer following a brief chase on bike and foot.

Yet despite what you see, the LA District Attorney’s office inexplicably let the officer who kicked Alford in the head, beat him for several seconds, then kneeled heavily on his back for a couple minutes — even though Alford was in handcuffs and laying face down on the street the whole time — off with community service and a $500 fine.

And he could have his felony conviction changed to a misdemeanor once he completes the terms of his plea deal.

This is the third time DA Jackie Lacey has let a cop off with a slap on the wrist — or less — in a case involving a bike rider, following her refusal to charge the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin, and the three Gardena cops who fatally shot the unarmed brother of a bike theft victim.

Clearly, the DA has someone’s back.

But it’s not ours.

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Where to even begin with this one?

The online bike world blew up over the weekend when not one, not two, but three sportswriters felt a need to display their ignorance, anti-bike bias or just plan willingness to risk the lives and safety of those on two wheels.

Starting with a tweet from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King showing his co-worker driving in the bike lane in order to get to San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium for an interview. A move that did not sit well with a number of people, including the San Diego Police Department.

Properly chastised, King apologized on Monday. Although generally, if someone is truly repentant, they don’t bury the apology at the bottom on an exceptionally long column.

Then there’s Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune, who felt compelled to chime in, saying it’s hard not to drive in a bike lane down there since it’s all they have, claiming there’s 10,000 miles of bike lanes for just ten bicyclists.

Never mind that San Diego ranks third nationally for bike commuting among cities over one million population.

This is what San Diegan Frank Lehnerz had to say in an email to Canepa’s colleagues at the U-T.

No, it’s not okay to violate CVC 21209 as Mr. King bragged on social media last weekend. There are plenty of normal traffic lanes for motorists to use. Bike lanes are far from “all we have.” Nearly every mile of freeway in the city prohibits cyclists and the infrastructure is only usable to only the most competent and attentive cyclists.  If your colleague can’t learn, respect, and follow the laws, he should do the public a favor and surrender his driving license. In addition to the few dangerous drivers, bicyclists here in San Diego have to deal with potholes, train tracks, cracks, non-functioning signals, and bikes lanes which end all the sudden at intersections and where roads cross over freeways. Personally I’ve dealt with several close calls of people driving motor vehicle swerving into the bike lane in order to pass stopped traffic or get a head start on making a right hand turn. These drivers often do this with no turn signal or with a cell phone in hand. It’s not a joke when a cyclist is struck and injured or killed. In some cases it’s a hit and run, in others the cyclists is either dead or unable to recall the actions and thus his or her side of the story is never told.

Motorists should not be in the bicycle lanes unless it’s for one of the exemptions given under CVC 21209 and after they’ve ensured the lane is clear of cyclists.

And last, and certainly least, there’s former footballer and current NFL Network analyst Heath Evans, who may have absorbed one hit too many before hanging up the cleats.

Because it was Evans who took it a step further by expressing his desire to run down people on bikes, apparently because he was briefly delayed by a couple cyclists in Venice.

SI7O0H2T.jpg-large

Funny how no one ever says they want to kill motorists because they were stuck on the 405 for hours, but a few seconds behind someone on a bike is enough to bring out murderous rage.

Like King, but apparently, not Canepa, Evans apologized after debating the matter with rightfully enraged members of the Twitterati, even as he expressed bewilderment that bikes don’t actually belong on the sidewalk.

It’s worth a few minutes out of your day to read what Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson has to say on the subject. And even New York’s famed Bike Snob couldn’t resist adding his two cents to the West Coast blow-up.

Because, as ignorant as these comments and actions were, these are the people we share the streets with.

And as much as we might like to think they’re extreme examples, the attitudes they express are a lot more common than any of us would like to believe.

Thanks to Cuong T. for the tip.

………

Good luck to Mark Friis, formerly the Executive Director of the Inland Empire Bicycle Alliance.

Friis recently stepped down from his position, and yesterday the reason became clear. He’s about to embark on an around-the-world bike tour.

You can follow his journey on his new website. And contribute to his efforts online, if you’re so inclined.

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Still more kindhearted people.

Pomona police dig into their own pockets replace the bike a 12-year old boy was rebuilding after it was stolen; it only took 20 minutes for eight cops to step up after the call went out looking for officers willing to pitch in.

Clovis police recovered a boy’s stolen bicycle after it had been dismantled, so they rebuilt it themselves before returning it to him.

Bighearted volunteers in Calgary are refurbishing donated bicycles to provide reliable transportation for Syrian refugees.

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Local

CiclaValley takes a late night ride with Walk Bike Burbank’s Midnight Ramble.

Pasadena is taking steps to become more bike friendly in the next 10 to 15 years — apparently not five as the headline suggests — by conducting road diets and installing buffered and protected bike lanes.

Damien Newton’s latest podcast talks with Claremont Mayor Sam Pedroza and Jose Jimenez, Education Director for Bike SGV.

 

State

Cyclelicious says thank you, but he did not coin the term Idaho Stop, although he was among the first to popularize it.

San Diego’s CicloSDias open streets event returns on October 30th after a two year hiatus. Meanwhile, San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood will get a new bike co-op, including a weekly bike valet.

The San Diego Union-Tribune looks at the state of protected bike lanes in the US, and around the world.

Sunday marks the ninth annual Bike the Bay in San Diego, offering riders a once-a-year opportunity to ride across the arching San Diego – Coronado Bridge. Although you’ll find yourself among the bizarrely anti-bike Coronado denizens once you get to the other side.

A law firm is offering a $25,000 reward for information in the hit-and-run death of Moreno Valley resident Duane Darling as he rode his bike in Mead Valley last month.

The Redlands cycling community mourns Randy Stephenson, who was killed by a driver fleeing sheriff’s deputies in Loma Linda last week; the long-time member of the Redlands Water Bottle Transit Co bike club had just left Don’s Bike Shop in Redlands when he was run down.

 

National

The Bike League looks at how cycling can help solve global warming.

A Chicago website reports on the booming, spandex-free underground bike scene that roams the city every Monday night.

Eleven cities in the US and Canada are now using the sonar system developed by the Chattanooga Police Department to measure whether drivers give bicyclists the three-foot passing distance required by law. Sadly, Los Angeles isn’t one of them.

The New Yorker looks at the challenges of transforming the Motor City into a bike making center.

A Rochester NY minister is offering a $1,000 reward for his stunt BMX bicycle that apparently fell off his car on the way back to his church — after using it to jump over a helicopter into a burning wall.

New York needs a better system for removing abandoned bicycles clogging up the city’s bike parking.

Tragic irony, as a Florida man who served time for killing a man in a road rage incident was himself the victim of a road raging driver.

 

International

Bike Radar says the formula for how many bikes you need is N+1 = CX, offering five reasons why your next bike should be a cross bike.

New cars should be able to see you by 2018, even if their drivers don’t.

A Columbian startup is rewarding riders in Bogotá and Mexico City with points for each kilometer they ride, which can be exchanged for discounts at participating merchants; they will expand into Vancouver next.

A Toronto sportswriter tries riding the new Rio bikeways without luck, including the rebuilt cliff-side trail that collapsed earlier this year, killing two people.

Winnipeg bike riders are advised to use two locks when they lock up, as bike thefts jump nearly 75%.

A Brit bike rider claims to have set a new world record for the longest distance traveled on a bikeshare bike in a single hour, at just over 20 miles.

A British woman wants signs posted in a park warning pedestrians about bikes after she was knocked down by a bike rider. Seriously, anytime there are pedestrians around, slow the hell down.

Apparently not satisfied with winning most of the cycling medals in the Rio Olympics, British Cycling looks to build on its success.

 

Finally…

Everything you need to know about getting back on your bike after a vasectomy. No, those aren’t bike shorts.

And if you’re going to use an axe to try to hack through a bike lock in broad daylight, try not to whack the bike.

 

Morning Links: A human speed bump at Sunday’s CicLAvia, and a miscarriage of justice in Ventura County

Sunday marked yet another successful CicLAvia, as thousands turned out for the shortened course on Wilshire Blvd despite the heat.

However, some aspects left something to be desired, as dangerd explains.

Vision Zero L.A Style at CicLAvia

Do you want to know how much the LAPD cares about your safety and “Vision Zero”?

At the Wilshire CicLAvia this Sunday my girlfriend and I were making our way back to where we parked mid-route at our hotel near MacArthur Park when at 3:30pm a LAPD motorcycle cop escorting the DOT truck reopening Wilshire Blvd. pulled up behind us an announced over his loudspeaker “Get over to the right, the street is re-opening, this is L.A. You are just a speed bump.”

I pulled aside the cop on my bicycle and said, “I am not a speed bump I am a road user and I would appreciate it if you enforced the traffic law. If someone runs me off the road I expect that you will give them a ticket.”

To which he answered, “How can I give them a ticket after they run you over, you will already be dead?”

In my opinion we will not achieve “Vision Zero” by 2035, IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN, Not with a police force who is unwilling to enforce traffic law even at a CicLAvia event, and makes jokes about cars running over pedestrians and bicyclists.

Are you listening Eric Garcetti?

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I got to CicLAvia late myself, but still managed to grab a few photos along the way, presented in no particular order.

Church-&-Bikes

Bike-Rodeo-Course-smallCicLAvia-Van-small

Nice to see the City Attorney's office represented

Nice to see the City Attorney’s office represented

Indodnesian-Band-small

An Indonesian band performed, drawing a large crowd

Gen. Otis, founder of the LA Times, not the namesake of MacArthur Park

Gen. Otis, founder of the LA Times, not the namesake of MacArthur Park

A very moving memorial to Robert Kennedy, steps from where he was assassinated

A very moving memorial to Robert Kennedy, steps from where he was assassinated

The LA Public Library book bike

The LA Public Library book bike

CicLAvia-Van-small

As usual, businesses that catered to CicLAvia participants were richly rewarded

As usual, businesses that catered to CicLAvia participants were richly rewarded

Soon to be the Left Coast's tallest building

Soon to be the Left Coast’s tallest building

KCBS-2 anchor Jeff Vaughn is one of us, as he rode the full route with his charming family

KCBS-2 anchor Jeff Vaughn is one of us, as he rode the full route with his charming family

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In a truly bizarre miscarriage of justice, a 27-year old Camarillo woman who killed two people while allegedly texting is allowed to plead out to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges.

The CHP concluded that Rachel Hill was “distracted by a portable electronic device” when she ran down Emmy Award-winner Maciek Malish as he rode his bike on the shoulder of Moorpark Road, then overcorrected and hit Jesse Cushman as his motorcycle came from the opposite direction.

Yet somehow, the Ventura County DA concluded that the death of two innocent people at the hands of a distracted driver really wasn’t that big a deal, and didn’t merit felony charges.

And can’t seem to explain why, other than to respond in an unsigned form letter to say the decision was not made lightly.

Which really makes you wonder just who Hill knows in the DA’s office.

She’ll be sentenced to a slap on the wrist on September 20th.

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BMX rider Kevin Robinson came out of retirement to set a world record with an 84” power-assisted backflip, after crashing hard on his first attempt.

Or maybe you’d be more impressed by a mountain biker leaping over a train gap — aka a railroad track running through a ravine —  in British Columbia; although that’s still not as impressive as doing it over an actual train.

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A Dutch cyclist rode on the wall — vertically — in an attempt to avoid a crash in the women’s keirin.

The Australian cycling team is going bust at the Rio Olympics.

A Detroit artist’s work was along for the ride when Kristin Armstrong won her third consecutive gold in the time trial. Although it does have some rather operatic competition.

The British women’s pursuit team pens a note of congratulations to their medal-winning countrymen, with a friendly reminder not to drunkenly stumble into the wrong room. And apparently, it worked.

Temecula’s Sarah Hammer was part of the silver medal winning US pursuit team.

A Brazilian cyclist was suspended for failing a drug test. Meanwhile, a columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, looking oddly like Rodney Dangerfield, says Americans shouldn’t throw stones when it comes to doping at the Olympics.

And no, a Canadian parliament member did not win cycling gold in Rio.

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Local

Metro’s $22 million underpass connecting the Red and Orange Lines in North Hollywood is set to open today.

A San Marino man plans to ride 17,500 miles from Alaska to Argentina to honor his friend, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a Las Vegas traffic collision.

The Santa Monica Spoke will host an August “Go Public” Ice Cream Ride visiting three gourmet ice cream shops in the Santa Monica area on the 27th.

 

State

An Encinitas bike rider was hurt in a hit-and-run Sunday morning; fortunately, his injuries were not life threatening.

A Carlsbad dog escaped from its home and attacked a bike rider, then lunged at police, who had to use pepper spray and a beanbag gun to subdue him. Bad dog!

The madness continues in Coronado, where a candidate for city council says no to a proposed bike and pedestrian bridge under the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, because transients, homeless people, drug addicts and alcoholics would use it along with the bike riders and tourists. “I’m going to build a wall, a beautiful wall, across the bay. And I’ll make the homeless drug addicts pay for it.”

A bike rider was airlifted to a local hospital following a collision on PCH in Ventura County. Which seems unusual since she was listed as suffering just minor injuries.

A San Francisco bicyclist says it’s time to require bike riders to register their bikes, obtain a license and carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, using the money to design and build safer roads. In other words, the people most at risk, who do the least harm to the roads, should pay prohibitively to protect themselves from those who do the most damage and pose the greatest danger. Got it.

 

National

After a recording proves a Utah councilmember said bike riders should be run off the road, a woman writes that’s exactly what happened to her husband, and she wouldn’t wish that pain and sorrow on anyone.

Denver business owners are worried about how a new six mile, two-way cycle track will affect their businesses, even though studies show it could actually help.

Colorado authorities are investigating after someone spray painted messages on the roadway suggesting bike riders should be killed in advance of a Gran Fondo.

 

International

A Toronto driver complains that she was left with a $500 deductible payment after a careless bike rider scratched her car while she was stopped at a red light, and wants the law changed to hold bicyclists accountable. Which it already does, but she chose not to file a case in small claims court.

An Irish cyclist is nearing the finish of a 14 month bike tour from New Zealand to Ireland, through 23 countries on three continents.

An Aussie cyclist has his bike stolen three months into a one year, 12,000 mile charity ride around the continent.

A Wellington, New Zealand columnist pens a piece that could have been written here, saying that local leaders are reluctant to make the hard choices to improve bike safety, in a city where cars form the top of the transportation pyramid and everything else is on the bottom.

Philippine police are surprised when no admitted drug users show up for a bike ride with drug enforcement cops. The only real surprise is that the cops were surprised.

Bikeshare comes to Shanghai, even if some riders are hording the orange-wheeled bikes for their own use.

 

Finally…

Don’t buy meat from skinny Brits in hi-viz. If you’re going to wrestle a bike away from its owner, don’t hang around and watch when the police come to investigate.

And seriously, when you’re riding with outstanding felony warrants, don’t weave in and out of traffic.

 

Morning Links: Police investigate as Corona del Mar bully says he’s sorry; Canadian cyclist loses all in theft

Newport Beach police are investigating the video we linked to yesterday showing a bully motorist berating a bike rider in a profanity-laced, homophobic tirade, for the crime of riding on the sharrows.

And yes, they’re now taking it very seriously, after the rider was initially blown off when he tried to file a report.

In case you missed it, the video has now been posted to YouTube, which means we can share it here.

Let’s hope he likes the way he looks on the screen; the Facebook video has been seen over 400,000 times in just the first 24 hours.

KCBS-2 caught up to the driver, who apologized for the language he used, and said he was embarrassed by the whole thing.

“I’m just an old surfer, knucklehead, and I do apologize for using the words that I used,” Lewis told CBS2 reporter Michelle Gile.

However, you’ll note that he didn’t apologize for threatening the victim. Or for clipping him with his mirror, or for the brake check that forced the victim into the left lane to go around him.

And we’re still left to wonder whether even that apology was sincere, or if it was just the result of adverse publicity from a video that went viral.

We’ll have to wait for the NBPD to complete their investigation to learn what charges will be filed, if any. Although there’s a good case to be made for assault with a deadly weapon and hit-and-run if it can be shown that he really did clip the victim with his mirror.

However, LAPD officers have explained in the past that the mere act of getting out of a vehicle to confront someone is enough for an assault charge.

Let alone threatening to kill him.

Meanwhile, the whole thing just shows how far we have to go in educating drivers about sharrows.

And just about every other aspect of sharing the road with people on bicycles.

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Thanks to David Bain for forwarding word of a Canadian musician who had his bike and all his belongings stolen while attempting to set a Guinness world record on a coast-to-cost bike tour; a gofundme account has raised over $6,500 of a $10,000 goal to help replace it.

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Kristin Armstrong waited until her victory was confirmed, becoming the first cyclist to win gold three times in the same event, then collapsed and was checked out by medics before her five-year old son came out to give her a hug.

A French rider may have only placed 26th in the women’s road race, but she’s winning the competition to resemble the former Kate Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge.

Britain threw down the gauntlet with a world record on the first day of qualifying for the women’s 4,000 meter team pursuit, while the men struck gold in the team sprint.

The great Evelyn Stevens decides to walk away from pro cycling at the peak of her career, just seven years after quitting her job as an investment banker to compete full-time.

A Philippine paper says it helps to have a short memory in bike racing, since everyone hits the pavement sooner or later.

Closer to home, the Redlands Bicycle Classic will move to May next year, serving as a domestic lead-in to the Amgen Tour of California.

And SoCal Cycling offers photos of Sunday’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix.

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Local

Air quality in the LA area is the deadliest in the nation. That alone should be enough to get LA and other local cities to provide safe alternatives to driving. But probably won’t.

CiclaValley reports the North Hollywood Metro tunnel will be opening Monday, with a promised Bike Hub to come.

Park La Brea News profiles Sunday’s Wilshire Blvd CicLAvia.

Long Beach celebrates the opening of the new parking protected bike lanes on Artesia Blvd, the first half-mile of what will eventually be a two-mile protected bikeway.

 

State

Cyclelicious examines why land use matters for bike advocacy, noting that people aren’t likely to bike to work if they can’t afford to live nearby.

KPCC looks at the increasing popularity of bike lanes in OC.

Don’t throw your bike at a trolley if they won’t let you on, a lesson a Laguna Beach man learned the hard way; he could face charges for vandalism, and probably needs a new bike after the trolley ran over it.

Salinas will host its fourth ciclovía in October, with a 1.6 mile route.

This time it’s firefighters with the big hearts, as Pleasanton firefighters pitch in to buy a man a new bicycle and helmet after his was damaged when he was hit by a car.

Sacramento authorities want people to walk, ride a bike or take transit when the new arena opens.

Sad news from NorCal, as a Redding bike rider was killed by a driver who allegedly ran a red light. Something many drivers insist only bike riders do.

 

National

An Oregon neo-Nazi covered with pro-Aryan and anti-police tatts fled on his bicycle when police tried to stop him for a traffic violation, eventually shooting a cop and taking a woman hostage; he suffered non-life threatening wounds when he was shot by police to end the siege.

Forget riding through crosswalks; Portland is installing cross bikes — no, not this kind — to help bike riders get through intersections safely.

The grizzly bear that killed a Montana mountain biker last June was nearly old enough to legally drink.

Caught on video: An Iowa bike rider is forced to bail off the road when a pickup coming in the opposite direction crosses onto the wrong side of the road, barely missing him.

Inflamed passions boil over in a dispute over a Detroit bike lane.

This is who we share the roads with. A Pennsylvania woman was caught on video, not just texting behind the wheel, but actually steering with her feet while she drove.

A South Carolina bike maker is bringing some manufacturing back to the US thanks to automation, even if the pay is less than the new minimum wage in Los Angeles.

An Atlanta bike advocate is working to get more black people on bicycles as the founder of the local chapter of Red Bike and Green.

Seriously, if your hat blows into the bay while riding your bike on a Florida causeway, just let the damn thing go.

 

International

Bike Radar offers tips on how to keep your saddle from being a pain in the butt, while Ella Cycling Tips offers advice on how women can choose the right one.

Forget the Olympics; Rio is also the site of the world’s largest Lego bicycle.

It’s not just the US where the bike theft epidemic is on the rise; it’s jumped 31% north of the border in just one year.

Calgary’s new bike lane network will hit one-million riders just a year after completion, a 40% jump in ridership. Yet one councilmember is underwhelmed, claiming it should have at least doubled — never mind that it came in $1.5 million under budget.

As if the Brit press didn’t have enough reasons to hate bike riders, now they accuse us of being deer killers. Seriously, don’t discard anything when you ride; jerseys have pockets for a reason.

A UK website says nothing beats a bike if you want to get more active.

A renowned pediatrician who made a “huge contribution to neonatal medicine in the UK” is mourned after he lost his life in a solo fall.

Amsterdam now has a special mayor devoted entirely to improving bicycling in the already bike-friendly city. Sometimes it seems like they’re just rubbing it in.

An Iranian town bans women from bicycling after the local iman says it violates the teachings of Islam, despite a national anti-pollution program encouraging everyone to ride their bikes every Tuesday.

 

Finally…

Evidently, if you’re riding in dark clothing at night, you need to take it all off. This is what you call a bike lane fail.

And don’t wrestle over dead goats without locking your bike up first.

 

Morning Links: Cop gets slap on wrist for beating bike rider, and road raging driver threatens CdM cyclist

Once again, the Los Angeles District Attorney let a cop accused of wrong doing off the hook.

And once again, it involved someone riding a bicycle.

The LA Times got wind of a plea deal reached earlier this year in the case of LAPD officer Richard Garcia, who was captured on security video beating and kicking a bike rider after he voluntarily surrendered and was already restrained by other officers.

Then-22-year old Clinton Alford Jr. was riding his bike on the sidewalk along Avalon Blvd in South LA when a police car pulled up behind him and ordered him to stop. According Alford, the officers failed to identify themselves, and fearing for his safety, he tried to get away, fleeing first by bike and then on foot.

After a brief pursuit, he stopped on his own and laid down on the ground, and was taken into custody without resistance.

That is, until an officer identified as Richard Garcia arrived on the scene, and immediately began beating and kicking Alford; one police official said he kicked the man’s head like he was kicking a field goal.

This is how the Times described the brutal attack.

The officer then dropped to the ground and delivered a series of strikes with his elbows to the back of Alford’s head and upper body, sources said. Alford’s head can be seen on the video hitting the pavement from the force of the strikes, two sources recounted. Afterward, the officer leaned his knee into the small of Alford’s back and, for a prolonged period, rocked or bounced with his body weight on Alford’s back, the sources said. At one point, the officer put his other knee on Alford’s neck, a source said.

Afterwards, several officers can reportedly be seen on the unreleased video carrying his limp body into a patrol car.

Yet despite that, and despite the determination by LAPD Chief Beck and the Police Commission that Garcia and another unnamed officer violated the department’s use of force policies, DA Jackie Lacey quietly negotiated a plea that lets Garcia off without a single day behind bars. Let alone the three years he faced if the case had gone to trial.

And possibly, without even a felony conviction.

Garcia pled no contest to felony assault in exchange for s sentence of community service and a paltry $500 fine to be paid an unnamed charity. After he completes the terms, he will be allowed to enter a new plea to a misdemeanor charge, which would replace the original conviction, and be placed on two years probation.

That’s it.

According to the Times, Lacey thinks that was a tough sentence.

Lacey said that she believed filing the felony charge against Garcia signaled to both police officers and residents that “people will be held accountable.”

“I do think it sends a strong message to any law enforcement officer who is thinking about violating the law,” she said. “If you talk to any officer about a felony on their record gotten in the course of their job, I don’t think anyone would see this as light at all.”

She’s right, it does send a strong message.

It tells every officer on the street that you can nearly kill a man for no valid reason, and walk away without even a felony conviction on your record.

Which is exactly the same message she sent in refusing to file charges against the LA County sheriff’s deputy who killed cyclist Milt Olin while typing on his onboard computer instead watching out for the man who was legally riding his bike in the bike lane on Mulholland Highway — just moments after the deputy texted his wife while driving, something that could have landed anyone else in jail.

And the same message she sent in refusing to indict the three Gardena police officers who killed an unarmed man who was simply trying to tell them they had stopped the wrong men after his brother’s bicycle was stolen, in a shooting captured on dashcam video.

Let’s be clear. Alford is no saint.

He was originally booked on possession and resisting arrest, charges that were quickly dropped when news of the beating came to light. And he faces new charges of pimping, rape and assault with a deadly weapon.

But even the worst criminal deserves protection from rogue cops who take the law into their own hands.

And from a DA who doesn’t seem to give a damn.

One time might be explainable. But three times is evidence of a pattern, and an apparent policy of refusing to hold even the worst police officers accountable for their actions.

Or maybe it’s just the people on bicycles she doesn’t like.

………

Unbelievable.

A cyclist in Corona del Mar receives a death threat from a road raging motorist who calls him a pussy and a queer, among many other things, and says he’s just lucky there are witnesses around. All because the rider had the audacity to ride his bicycle on the sharrows, exactly where he’s supposed to be.

They need to get this asshole off the streets before he kills someone. On purpose.

………

A Santa Monica writer notes that bike theft was up 30% in the city in 2015, and guesses that the trend has continued this year. And wonders if the Expo Line is to blame.

Never mind that the Expo Line didn’t even reach SaMo until May of this year.

………

The next time someone says bike riders don’t pay our share of the road because bikes aren’t registered, show them this.

CA DMV Where Money Goes

Only 13% of registration fees go to maintain the roads — and even that is just for state highways.

………

We have results from yesterday’s Olympic time trial, so skip to the next section if it’s still waiting in your viewing queue.

Fabian Cancellara caps his cycling career by capturing gold for Switzerland in the time trial, eight years after winning in Beijing; Tom Doumalin and Chris Froome finished second and third.

No Cinderella story on Wednesday, as cycling scion Taylor Phinney finishes 22nd, over five minutes behind the leaders, while Aussie Rohan Dennis had to settle for fifth after his handlebars broke. A Namibian cyclist takes pride in finishing dead last in the time trial after he entered the race at the last minute on a road bike because he didn’t have a time trial bike.

American Kristin Armstrong overcame age and a bloody nose to win her third consecutive gold medal in the women’s time trial on her final day as a 42-year old; dope-tainted Russian Olga Zabelinskaya took silver while Anna van der Breggen captured bronze. The Wall Street Journal calls Armstrong the comeback queen.

The US women’s pursuit team begins its pursuit of a gold medal today with new left-side drive Felt track bikes that promise to shave three seconds off their time.

The world’s top pro cycling teams have voted to boycott the time trial at October’s world championships in Qatar in a protest against cycling’s governing body.

………

Local

The LA2050 Challenge Grants are back for another year; applications are being accepted between September 6th and October 4th.

A Los Angeles triathlete’s bike was stolen while she was training with her team in Long Beach; her bike was missing when she came back from a swim. As of this writing, a gofundme account to replace it has raised $1895 of the $3,000 goal.

A French artist begins a two-month examination of the LA River by foot and bike for an art project based on the items he recovers.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports on the soft opening of West Hollywood’s new WeHo Pedals bikeshare. Although almost all of the planned docking stations are on the Santa Monica Blvd corridor, ignoring most north/south streets and the Sunset Strip.

Alhambra police ask if you know this bike-riding package thief. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Caltrans reports it has patched pavement along PCH; however, a Malibu Safety Commissioner says they should be held to a higher standard of surface integrity given the large number of bicycles on the roadway.

Friends remember Bill Bowers, the homeless bike rider fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies in Castaic last week; posters at the event call the shooting murder.

Save the date for Noche de los Luminarias, the Bike SGV Awards Night on November 10th.

 

State

Too little too late. Newport Beach decides to install four new stop signs between Newport Heights Elementary School and Newport Harbor High School following the death of eight-year old Brock McCann as he rode his bike home from school. There’s no reason to believe it would have prevented this tragedy, but maybe it will help prevent the next one.

Dozens of Encinitas streets could get bike lanes or sharrows, depending on the width of the street.

A San Diego man teams up with a cop in an unsuccessful effort to recover his stolen bike, though they did catch the suspected thief with a stolen truck and two other hot bikes. Note to ABC 10: $900 does not a pricey bike make.

A Ventura tow truck driver pled not guilty in the hit-and-run death of 14-year old bike rider Jonathan Hernandez earlier this year; he faces up to 40 months in prison if he’s convicted.

 

National

A mountain biker says the current ban on bikes in wilderness areas is based on nothing more than a few people who don’t like them, and risks dividing supporters of environmental protection of unspoiled areas.

Elly Blue says everyone benefits by looking past the stereotype of bicyclists as white guys in spandex to embrace the full bicycling community, regardless of color or sex, noting that people of color make up the fastest growing cycling demographic.

People for Bikes says businesses are finding creative ways to put bicycles to work.

When a beginning bike rider asks how far an “easy” ride really is, a Portland writer says a bike coach who recommends adding 10 miles per ride until you reach 80 miles can just fuck off.

A New Mexico teen is making a remarkable recovery, even if his dreams of becoming a pro cyclist ended on the bumper of a careless driver.

A Denver bike rider says the hit-and-run driver who ran him down did it on purpose.

The National Transportation Safety Board issues their preliminary report on the Kalamazoo massacre in which five cyclists were killed and four injured by a stoned driver, but doesn’t have much to add to the story. If this is just the first step in the NTSB finally dealing with bicycling and traffic safety, it’s a welcome one; if not, it should be.

Scientists at Columbia University are studying vehicle exhaust to determine its effects on bike riders.

A Pennsylvania county offers a $500 reward to catch whoever has been repeatedly tossing tacks on a popular bike trail. Note to Fox 43: A deliberate attempt to harm cyclists or their bikes may be many things, but a prank it’s not.

Philadelphia women say they’re forced to ride their bikes through red lights and stop signs to escape threats and sexual harassment. Seriously, everyone, regardless of gender, has the right to travel the streets safely and without fear.

 

International

A Canadian bike rider praised Vancouver’s bike lane network, but says most of the country’s bike lanes are a waste of space and money, with some amounting to little more than private roads for hip urbanites.

British cyclists crowdfund the private prosecution of a driver accused of killing a 70-year old bike rider; a writer says it’s not about persecuting the driver, but getting prosecutors to take bicycling deaths seriously. Too bad we can’t do that here.

Katy Perry is one of us, as she shows a little cheek riding in the French countryside.

Anime fans can look forward to the release of Yowamushi Pedal: Spare Bike next month, though you may have to go to Japan to see it.

CNN shares a cyclist’s perspective on Tokyo, courtesy of Byron Kidd, editor of Tokyo by Bike.

This is why you don’t lock up to living things. A Chinese bike thief is caught on video cutting down a tree to steal the bicycle chained to it.

 

Finally…

Your next helmet could be a headphone. Taking a virtual reality tour of the UK on a bike that doesn’t move is not the same as the real thing.

And if you want to illustrate the town’s new bike lanes, maybe the best way to do it isn’t with a photo of a salmon cyclist riding next to one, with a sidewalk cyclist visible in the background.

I’m just saying.

 

Morning Links: No lawsuit in Piven dooring, Brandt-Sorenson gets slap on wrist, and Russian road rage abduction

In a surreal LA moment, the bike rider injured in a dooring by actor Jeremy Piven says he recognized the actor as he was falling to the pavement.

Surprisingly, though, the victim says he’s not going to sue because Piven was so helpful after the crash.

Although that may change once a lawyer explains the concept of “deep pockets.”

………

His attorney may call it a “significant sentence,” but LA cyclist Nick Brandt-Sorenson, aka Thorfinn-Sassquatch, barely got a caress on the wrist at his sentencing for selling performance-enhancing drugs over the internet.

He could have been sentenced to up to a year in prison, but instead received just three years probation and a $5,000 fine, along 300 hours of community service.

Yes, that’s a lot of time in an orange vest picking up trash. But if he keeps his nose clean, he won’t spend a single day behind bars.

And he gets to keep all his Strava KOMs.

………

Caught on video: The question is, just what the hell is going on, after what appears to be a road rage assault on a Russian cyclist ends with the attackers being abducted by masked gunmen. Thanks to David Wolfberg for the heads-up.

………

The Cannibal says Chris Froome can’t be beaten in this year’s Tour de France.

Bicycling examines a day in the life of a Tour de France cyclist, while Cycling Weekly looks at five super-domestiques who have delivered for their team leaders during the Tour. Bora-Argon 18 rider Shane Archbold withdrew with a broken pelvis after a high-speed fall on Wednesday, but finished the stage before realizing he was injured.

Nineteen-year old Chloe Dygert has been tapped to round out the US women’s pursuit team after winning the junior road race and time trial at last year’s worlds. US time trial champ Taylor Phinney will represent the men after his amazing comeback from a devastating injury.

And here’s a step-by-step guide to get into women’s road racing, so you can compete in the 2020 Olympics. Unless you’re not a woman, of course.

………

Local

EGP News offers a reminder that a one-mile stretch of the LA River bike path near the Griffith Park Zoo will remain closed for construction for the next three years.

Pasadena has received a $3 million Metro grant to build a two-way cycle track on Union Street, the first of ten planned bicycle corridors through the city.

A Wisconsin couple made it to Santa Monica after riding 2,600 miles across the US on a tandem.

Streetsblog affiliate Santa Monica Next will host a fundraising cocktail party on Saturday, July 30th.

Santa Clarita suffered a net loss of $132,000 in hosting a stage of the Amgen Tour of California this year; however, a study of the 2008 ToC showed the race generated a $1.9 million economic impact for the local area, which this year’s race probably exceeded.

 

State

The San Diego Union Tribune says the city’s bikeshare program could use a push, but no public subsidies. So billions of dollars to subsidize motor vehicles is okay, but a few million to help get people out of their cars isn’t.

A Fontana cop discusses how cars and bikes can share the road. And gets it right.

Goleta votes to build a one-mile median-protected bike lane, replacing an existing painted lane.

Caltrans recommends lowering the speed limit by 5 mph near a Lompoc homeless shelter where a man was killed earlier this year. Although chances are, he’d be just as dead if he’d been hit at 50 mph as he was at 55 mph.

A bighearted Salinas cop splits the cost of a new bike with the local Walmart to replace one stolen from a young man who volunteers with foster children.

 

National

Streetsblog calls the GOP Transportation Platform a disaster, including a plank to eliminate all funding for transit and active transportation.

A new mini-bike trailer sleeps four and unfolds in minutes. Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

A Seattle hospital gets multiple sclerosis patients out on adaptive bicycles, sometimes for the first time in years.

Tucson develops a master plan for a network of bike boulevards through 63 residential corridors. LA has a mobility plan calling for the same thing, but that doesn’t mean they’ll actually build it.

A ghost bike was installed at the Idaho site where a Bike and Build rider was killed recently. Although the local press oddly called it an Angel Bike; maybe they don’t believe in ghosts.

A Wisconsin writer recalls a 250-mile bike trip across the state in the ‘70s, which could have ended badly except for the kindness of a stranger.

The FBI has joined the search for an Ohio college student who went missing Tuesday night; her bike was found in a cornfield later that night.

A trio of Vermont teenagers will ride 500 miles to raise funds to fight Duchenne muscular dystrophy; they’ve already raised $15,000 in pledges before starting their ride. A subject close to my heart; the son of a long-time friend is battling Duchennes.

The owner of North Carolina’s First Flight Bicycles, as well as the Mountain Goat Cycles brand, was killed by a drunk driver Wednesday while walking across a street.

 

International

The Canadian resort town of Banff is lowering speed limits and building a short, two-way bicycling greenway to improve safety and encourage more transportation riding.

For a change, the British press is justifiably appalled when a salmon cyclist jumped a red light with his nine-year old son on his handlebars.

Life is cheap in Wales, where a tractor driver was fined a whopping £80 — the equivalent of $105 — for killing a 72-year old bike rider.

A new $3,500 Italian smart bike features a 96-decible horn that’s as loud as some train whistles. Which has to be as painful to the person using it as it is to everyone within earshot.

A Kiwi truck driver was convicted of killing a bike rider for the second time in less than 10 years. Let’s hope the court gets him off the road before he goes for three.

 

Finally…

Evidently, bears really are out to get us. If you’re going to rob a bank, wear a helmet, but don’t ditch your getaway bike; unless maybe it wasn’t yours to begin with, of course.

And this is what you’d look like if humans had evolved to survive car crashes.

 

Weekend Links: Driver charged in death of Ventura teen, Tour de France mourns, and stupid criminal tricks

Five months after he died, Jonathan Hernandez may see partial justice.

The tow truck driver who struck the 14-year old boy and fled the scene, leaving him to die in the street after being hit by a second vehicle, has been charged with felony hit-and-run; he also faces a misdemeanor charge of concealing evidence.

Unfortunately, the second driver, who also fled the scene, has still not been found.

Fifty-one-year old Hermin Martin Henderson pled not guilty to the charges; he faces up to five years in prison if he’s convicted.

Ironically, if he had simply stayed at the scene after the February crash, he probably wouldn’t have faced any charges, since security video showed Hernandez running the red light just before he was struck by Henderson’s truck. Unless he was under the influence, of course.

And Hernandez might still be alive.

Meanwhile, Henderson and his towing company, along with the city and county of Ventura, face a civil suit filed by the victim’s family.

………

The Tour de France was in mourning Friday, following the Bastille Day attack in Nice. The race went on under heightened security as the riders competed in the time trial.

Not everyone believes Froome should have kept the yellow jersey after Thursday’s Mt. Ventoux debacle, though.

And the dark side of bike racing gets the HBO treatment, as Andy Samberg plans a mockumentary focusing on doping in the world of professional cycling.

………

Local

Metro hopes to spur development of bikeable, walkable communities within a short walk of the Orange Line in the San Fernando Valley.

CiclaValley invites you to come out for LA’s own version of the Hell of the North, at Sunday’s SoCal GRAVEL Trofee #3: LA ROUBAIX v2, starting at Golden Road Brewing.

Disappointing news, as the annual Brentwood Grand Prix bike race won’t be held this year. However, the 55th edition of the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix will roll as scheduled, bringing California’s top racers to SoCal on August 7th. Thanks to Lynn Ingram and David Huntsman for the heads-up.

 

State

Police once again arrest a bike-riding suspect in the attacks on five homeless men in San Diego; a previous suspect was released after police concluded he couldn’t have done it.

A Palomar College English professor wrote a book about the 3,145-mile cross-country bike trip he took between two unrelated bouts of cancer.

Now that’s more like it. San Francisco police throw the book at the accused killer of a bike rider in Golden Gate Park three weeks ago; the 19-year old driver is booked on suspicion of murder, burglary, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and hit-and-run causing injury or death, as well as two traffic violations .

 

National

The rich get richer, as Portland proposes a complete network of bikeways crisscrossing the city.

A Wisconsin driver wasn’t texting when he swerved onto the shoulder of a highway and slammed into a woman riding her bike; just looking down to read papers as he drove.

A blind, 79-year old Michigan man plans to ride 100 miles to raise funds for breast cancer research by riding stoker on a tandem bike.

The lawyer for the stoned Kalamazoo MI driver who killed five cyclists last month says he never meant to hurt anyone. Oh, well if that’s the case…

Your next ride through a Manhattan park could be underground.

A Charleston SC letter writer aptly notes that the so-called bike lobby is just people looking for a safe place to walk and ride.

New Orleans considers turning several streets into bike boulevards. Something that was supposed to happen here with the network of Bicycle Friendly Streets included in the 2010 Bike Plan, but hasn’t. And from the looks of it, probably won’t.

 

International

A Toronto writer says the conflict between drivers and bike riders will only end “when sharing the road is not seen as a war… and a bicycle is as common a sight on a road as a car.”

Kindhearted Ontario residents pitch in after a disabled man’s three-wheeled ebike was stolen from his backyard.

A new British study suggests that bicycling may be the best way to lose weight.

New Zealand advocacy groups join together to call for Vision Zero in the country, along with a safe, sustainable, healthy and fair transport system for everyone.

It’s official. The world record for riding around the world now belongs to a Kiwi cyclist, with a time of 123 days, one hour and six minutes.

A Chinese man and his dog rode over 43,000 miles through 23 countries in Asia, Europe and North America to promote protection for stray animals, visiting over 100 animal shelters along with way.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: This is why you need to pay attention when you’re riding, or the tabloids will call for your head. No, seriously. if you leave your bike behind when you steal a car, don’t go back to get it the next day.

And if there’s already a warrant out for your arrest, don’t ride you bike to the police station when playing Pokemon Go.

Especially not in your pajamas.

 

Weekend Links: Killer drunk driver cops a plea, PVE gets a little bike-friendlier, and your road share is pocket change

That was fast.

Just eleven weeks after Tomas Brewer was killed by a drunk driver, the man who killed him has pled no contest to vehicular manslaughter.

Twenty-three-year old Cruz Tzoc was driving at an estimated 60 mph on Burlington Ave in LA’s Rampart District on April 23rd when he struck a parked car and spun around, sliding into Brewer as he rode on Temple Street, before slamming into a tree.

Tzoc was arrested at the scene with an alcohol level over two times the legal limit. A police sergeant had spotted Tzoc’s speeding car prior to the crash, but was unable to stop him before it was too late.

He had faced up to ten years in state prison, but was sentenced to just six years after pleading to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

He’s likely to get out in half that time.

But his decision to get behind the wheel after drinking ended the life of a budding screenwriter, and sentenced Brewer’s loved ones to a lifetime without him.

………

Formerly bike-unfriendly Palos Verdes Estates continues its surprising turnaround, as the city’s Traffic Safety Committee voted to replace the hated signs reading “Bike Laws Strictly Enforced” with “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” and signs promoting the three-foot passing law.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson describes the meeting in his own inimitable style.

Meanwhile, a Tustin councilmember explains four reasons why bicycles may use the full lane. But forgets the primary reason — bike riders are allowed to take the lane anytime the lane itself is too narrow to be safely shared with a motor vehicle.

………

Today’s common theme is bikeshare, in LA and elsewhere.

Downtown News explains everything you need to know about LA’s new bikeshare program, while CiclaValley crashes the launch party. And the LACBC, which was instrumental in bringing bikeshare to LA, celebrates with photos.

San Diego’s bikeshare system is struggling, as the city’s transit officials refuse to cooperate.

Palo Alto plans to replace its failing bikeshare system with a new smart bike program. But it will still likely fail if they don’t install more than five docking stations.

And Portland informs bike owners that those handy little docks at convenient locations around town are not bike racks.

………

Drivers often argue that cyclists don’t pay for the roads, but if road users were charged for the damage they actually cause, we could pay our share with pocket change.

………

London Bridge is falling down, and so is the inflatable arch cyclists are supposed to ride under, not into, at the Tour de France.

Belgian race leader Greg Van Avermaet holds a nearly six minute lead in the race, but will probably fall back in the standings when they reach the mountain stages. British riders dominated the first week of the Tour, while Mark Cavendish says Africa will produce a TdF contender in ten years.

Specialized says you don’t know Jacques about the Tour de France. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

Bicycling takes a look at how the race takes a toll on even the fittest riders.

And the peloton came up clean in the Tour’s first unannounced thermal imaging scan for hidden motors; former Lance whistleblower Frankie Andreu says cycling has come a long way, but the sport may never be fully clean.

………

Local

Marina del Rey’s stinky Oxford Basin gets a much needed makeover, including a new bikeway connecting to the beachfront Marvin Braude Bike Trail.

CiclaValley looks at the movement to fix LA’s crumbling Forest Lawn Drive, which we mentioned here — and misspelled as Forrest Lawn — the other day.

A moving company wants tips on how to avoid LA traffic. Everyone who says “use a bicycle” please raise your hand.

 

State

Huntington Beach police are asking for the public’s help to identify a bike and barbeque thief.

As expected, the parents of a 12-year old Oceanside boy killed while riding his bicycle to school last October have filed suit against the driver, as well as two businesses alleged to have contributed to the crash; a lawsuit is expected against the city, as well.

Sixty-six cyclists from the University of Texas rode across the Golden Gate Bridge on their way to Anchorage AK to raise funds for the fight against cancer.

San Francisco’s new bicycling state Assembly member keeps a bike at home by the Bay, and another in Sacramento.

 

National

Not surprisingly, the US is falling behind other countries when it comes to traffic safety.

Bicycling says you’ve been pumping your tires all wrong. Wait. You mean I have to take that little cap off first?

Vogue lists five surprising ways bicycling is good for your mind and body.

A Portland bike rider is suing after being clotheslined by a Comcast cable that was strung over a roadway.

Hats off to my alma mater, which became the nation’s first high school to be honored as a Bike-Friendly Business.

That former Illinois congressman who tweeted what sounded like a threat to the president and the Black Lives Matter movement after the Dallas shootings is one of us; he successfully campaigned for his only term in office by riding his bicycle.

In a widely watched case, a Michigan driver faces up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to fleeing the scene after plowing into a cyclist on an organized group ride.

A bike-riding writer for the Columbus Dispatch offers a well-reasoned analysis of the SUV driver in last week’s Doo Dah Parade who, in effect, threatened to kill cyclists unless they obey the law; he says what concerns him most is the public’s lack of concern.

A Massachusetts boy was impaled with a branch after veering off a trail and slamming into a tree; fortunately, he appeared to be in stable condition at a local hospital.

Bicycling under the influence is legal in Massachusetts, though not always the best idea. I know some may argue, but I’d still much rather see a drunk on a bike than behind the wheel. Although the best choice is neither.

New York police find the murder weapon used to intentionally run down a bike rider.

 

International

A Toronto paper offers advice on how to get over your fears and bike to work.

A Canadian Steely Dan fan nearly missed their Detroit show after paying the toll, then illegally riding through a tunnel across the border; US custom agents were amused, but searched and detained him for two hours anyway.

A mentally ill driver who fatally stabbed a popular British bike advocate following a minor traffic collision has been sentenced to ten years to life in a medium security mental hospital.

Friends and family remember a 75-year old London time-trialing legend who passed away following a May bicycling collision.

Caught on video: A jerk cyclist clips a London bike rider with a far too-close pass, nearly sending him under the wheels of a large truck. Pass another rider at the same distance you’d expect from a motor vehicle, or at arms-length at the very least; if that’s not possible, slow down and announce your presence before passing. Or you could just wait until it is safe.

An Irish business executive pleaded guilty to knocking a cyclist off his bike, then beating and strangling him, for the heinous crime of riding on the sidewalk.

Hiding under your jacket after stealing a pair of bikes will not make you invisible to Chinese police.

 

Finally…

Suddenly, your bike shorts are fashionable — assuming you’re a woman; guys, not so much. Why walk on water when you can pedal?

And you can thank a mountain pine beetle for your next wall-mounted bike rack.

………

As an added bonus to get your weekend started off right, David Wolfberg forwards the latest video from Colombian superstars Shakira and Carlos Vives, for their new song La Bicicleta (Or The Bicycle, for the Spanish-challenged, like me).

Morning Links: Ventura DA gives form letter response, deadline to support candidates opposing Koretz and Cedillo

Evidently, the Ventura County District Attorney can’t be bothered to respond individually to complaints about how they do their job.

Or in this case, don’t do it.

Last week, we featured a heartbreaking guest post from Hailey Cushman, daughter of Jesse Cushman, who was one of the two people killed by an allegedly distracted driver in Moorpark last fall.

Several people were inspired to write the DA’s office to complain that the driver, Rachel Hill, was only charged with misdemeanors in their deaths, rather than the felony counts the CHP recommended. And isn’t expected to spend a single day behind bars.

On Tuesday, I heard from three separate people who received the exact same response from the DA’s office, identical in every word, space and comma.

And not only that, one that they couldn’t even be bothered to respond to personally; each was signed simply “Webmaster.”

RE: Ventura County District Attorney Contact: Refile People vs. Rachel Hill as a felony

Tue, 21 Jun 2016 21:03:47 +0000

DA Criminal <DA.Criminal@ventura.org>

Dear Ms. xxxxx

Thank you for contacting the District Attorney’s Office. While we appreciate your concerns regarding this case, we are required to make difficult decisions, which include filing only those criminal charges that we have legally sufficient, admissible evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in court. The case was reviewed and filed by a veteran prosecutor in our Criminal Division. Please understand that the decision to file this case was not made lightly. The District Attorney’s Office conducted a thorough review of the investigation done by the California Highway Patrol and our conclusion is reflected in our filing decision.

Webmaster

Ventura County District Attorney

Nice to see they take complaints — let alone the lives of traffic victims — so seriously over there.

Maybe the good people of Ventura County should ask themselves if this is really what they want from their DA.

………

It’s time to put your money where your vote is.

Recently we reported that CD5’s Paul Koretz, who has taken it upon himself to singlehandedly set bicycling on the Westside back 20 years, will be facing a challenger in next year’s election.

Which means his opponent, Jesse Creed, already has my support before I even meet the guy.

However, the end of this month marks an important fundraising deadline for candidates for LA City Council.

So if you’re as pissed-off as I am about Koretz siding with wealthy homeowners at the expense of everyone else — let alone claiming to be an environmentalist while blocking bike lanes that would enable people to leave their cars at home — dig as deep as you can to make a contribution to his campaign.

And while you’re at it, send another one to Josef Bray-Ali; the owner of NELA’s Flying Pigeon LA bike shop is taking on Gil Cedillo in CD1, thanks in part to Cedillo’s ongoing efforts to keep North Figueroa dangerous.

Send your check to:

Bray-Ali for City Council 2017, 3346 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90065. Be sure to include your name, address and employer, which is required in order for his campaign to legally accept the contribution.

………

Speaking of Koretz, the motions to remove Westwood Blvd and Central Avenue from the Mobility Plan come back before the Planning Commission at 8:30 am tomorrow, on the 10th floor of City Hall in Downtown LA.

It’s not looking good at this point. So we need everyone to attend if you can, or if not, reach out to the commission to demand a safer, and more rideable Los Angeles.

Maybe if we show overwhelming support for keeping them in the plan, the commission — and more importantly, the city council, which will consider it next — may actually listen.

………

If your plans for today included a ride along the upper reaches of the LA River Bike Path, you may want to reconsider.

The path will be closed from 8 am to 3 pm today between Glendale and Fletcher Blvds for major cleanup work following the removal of the flood control barriers.

………

Caught on video: A Philadelphia bike rider is run off the road and threatened by a driver who fled the scene, then can’t get the police to give a damn.

Thanks to Thread Riot for the heads-up.

………

The New Yorker offers photos from 75-years of bike racing. Which is not the same as cycling, despite the headline.

Six African riders are on track to compete in this year’s Tour de France, including Eritrea’s Daniel Teklehaimanot, who became the first black African to compete in the Tour last year.

A British amateur rider conquers the Tour de France’s famed Col du Tourmalet in just three and a half hours; even more impressive considering he’s just eight-years old.

If you want to hear Lance talk about cycling, skip his new podcast.

………

Local

The LA Times endorses plans for a half-cent transportation sales tax, while calling bicycling and walking “a vital part of the transportation infrastructure that has been too often overlooked.” Meanwhile, Metro’s CEO calls it an opportunity to be bold, while a pair of Inglewood and West Hollywood leaders say speed up completion of the north-south train lines.

Kill four people who were walking in a Redondo Beach crosswalk, admit to taking pain killers before getting behind the wheel, and get off with time served.

Damien Newton discusses Metro’s open streets program, as well as Sunday’s 19-mile 626 Golden Streets.

While everyone else is offering advice on how to ride in the heat, contrarian CiclaValley tells you what not to do while cycling in it.

 

State

Caltrans’ survey for their first-ever draft bicycling and walking plan will close at the end of this month.

San Diego unanimously approves plans for nine miles of protected bike lanes in the downtown area, along with five miles of wider sidewalks.

Three San Diego area mayors call for approval of that county’s proposed $18 billion sales tax measure to fund transportation projects, including bicycle and pedestrians projects.

Monterey considers installing its own bikeshare system.

A new line of smart bikes from the Bay Area will come complete with built-in lights, turn signals, brake lights and an electronic shifting system, along with an open OS that will allow developers to add additional features.

The executive director of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition hopes to have more time to ride his bike once he steps down at the end of this month.

 

National

People for Bikes considers how Kickstarter is kick-starting innovation in the bike industry.

Kryptonite increases the amount of optional anti-theft protection coverage they offer with their locks, while streamlining the registration process.

The Denver CO 2011 bike plan calls for investing $119 million to build an additional 270 miles of bike lanes; four years later, it had only spent $2.8 million to stripe 68 miles of new lanes. Sounds like another city I could name.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. Austin TX makes safety improvements to an intersection just weeks after a 14-year old boy was killed riding his bike.

Houston adopts an ambitious new bike plan calling roughly 800 miles of new bike lanes within the next ten years.

The annual Remember the Removal ride will finish on Thursday, as members of the Cherokee Nation and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians retrace the infamous Trail of Tears from Georgia to Oklahoma.

A Memphis woman is behind bars after threatening to shoot a bunch of kids in a dispute over a stolen bicycle. Seriously, no bike is worth dying for. And it’s sure as hell not worth killing anyone over, especially not a kid.

Cincinnati’s Red Bike network has expanded seamlessly into Northern Kentucky to form the country’s first multi-state bikeshare system.

Minneapolis makes plans to unseat Portland as America’s bicycling capitol.

Seriously? A Massachusetts driver is expected to be released on a whopping $1,000 bail after being charged with possession of heroin and cocaine, driving with an open container, driving to endanger and driving under the influence when he knocked a woman off her bike. Nice to see the court system taking DUI seriously. And yes, that is sarcasm, in case you weren’t sure.

More proof cyclists are tough. A New York man rode his bike home after getting shot in the stomach.

 

International

Caught on video 2: An Ottawa, Ontario bike rider’s rear-facing cam captures the driver who smashed into him from behind; fortunately, he walked away from the crash.

A bystander jumped into a London river to save the life of a 68-year old bike rider who had fallen in.

A British paper offers advice on how to ride in the rain. Which is not a problem we’re likely to have anytime soon.

A stoned driver in the UK gets seven years in prison — and a 10-year ban on driving — for killing a bicyclist after using heroin and prescription medication.

An Irish soccer fan rides nearly 375 miles to the Euro championships to raise money for cancer charities, only to get mugged on arrival in Paris; fortunately, women working at the Gare du Nord train station chased off the men who tried to steal his bike.

An Aussie cyclist says riding 2,600 miles across the continent in just 32 days can change your life, especially if you almost die twice, get bitten by a snake and caught in a cyclone.

A Singapore women’s non-profit group rode through Cambodia to raise awareness and funds for a hotel and restaurant training school trying to stop human trafficking.

Caught on video 3: A Chinese sidewalk cyclist barely avoids being run down by an out-of-control driver who smashed into a clothing shop.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to use your bike as a getaway vehicle, maybe you should only steal one box of frozen chicken at a time. It’s not a bike helmet, it’s a speaker with a hockey puck on top.

And when is a bike lane not a bike lane? When it’s a contraflow traffic lane, of course. Thanks to kdbhiker for the video.

Guest Post: The cost of traffic violence — the daughter of a distracted driving victim speaks out

Last year, an alleged distracted driver plowed into a cyclist in Moorpark, then swerved into motorcyclist coming in the opposite direction, killing them both.

Recently, the daughter of one of those victims asked for the opportunity to tell her story. 

This is what she has to say.

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Hailey Cushman’s Story

My name is Hailey Cushman and I am Jesse Cushman’s only biological child. My dad was killed on September 12th, 2015 on his way home from work from BMW Motorcycles located in Ventura. He was hit head-on on his motorcycle in Moorpark, CA by Rachel Hill, who was later found to have been texting and driving. Hill first hit bicyclist Maciek Malish then over-corrected and swerved to hit my father. Both men were killed on impact but Hill only walked away with scratches. In fact, Hill was caught taking pictures of her injuries and posting them on her Facebook the next day as if the accident was humorous to her. This tragic event happened just 9 days before my 21st birthday (in which I had plans that were immediately cancelled and never rescheduled). Dad was going to be 44 years young in October 2015. He was born in Simi Valley, CA but lived most of his life in Reno, NV, which is where I live. Within a couple days of the accident I was down in Fillmore, CA, where dad currently lived with my grandmother, Jorja, and my stepmother, Julia. Julia and dad married in 2002. When dad moved to Southern California he was brought closer to his biological father, Joe Freas, who lives in Thousand Oaks, CA. Joe and dad were in the process of trying to rekindle their relationship after years of separation.

As a child I was lucky to have never experienced a close death in the family but that aspect has also made losing my father at this age extremely difficult for me. My dad had an exciting, fulfilling and fun life. My dad was Batman! My dad and Julia were heavily involved with cosplay and all things comics. Dad had several Batman suits that were so legit that he was in several professional photo shoots. That year dad and Julia won free tickets to the San Diego Comic Con, which they had been trying to attend for years. Dad and I enjoyed doing a lot together when I would come visit in the summer time; we would go boogie boarding in Malibu, go to Six Flags Magic Mountain several times a month (it was our favorite together), race quads (he raced professionally but he also taught me how to ride and I was too racing at just 5 years old). As a family, we would frequently play video games and board games as they owned a plethora of Monopoly games and superhero video games. We would even get the whole family involved with Rockband and have somebody on each instrument. Another big part of my dad and Julia’s life was motorcycles. They were a part of the local STAR riding chapters where they would do toy drives, poker runs and many other fun rides with the group. My grandma would always worry about dad on his motorcycle because she knew the risks but both dad and Julia were very cautious riders. I guess this proves that no matter how cautious you are in life you can never fully protect yourself from others.

Since I lost my dad my life has changed forever. I’ve had to see more psychiatrists lately for stress, anxiety and depression in order to keep my job and continue my college education (which I am close to finishing). I am so young and I have so much of my life ahead of me but my father will not be able to be there to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, be there at the birth of his grandchildren, see me graduate college or buy my first house. The Cushman and Malish family’s lives have forever been changed and will always hurt when we think about this tragic incident. We try to put our minds at ease by thinking about how Rachel Hill will have to live with what she has caused these two families for the rest of her life as well, but unfortunately, we are unable to rely upon the justice system to make her accountable. We have recently been told by the Ventura County District Attorney’s office that Hill may not even receive any jail time but only community service. The Ventura County District Attorney’s office is certainly corrupt. The CHP took 8 months to complete the police report to ensure they had all the information and evidence to create a strong case. The CHP’s recommendation was that Hill should be charged with a felony of two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Within 2 weeks of the Ventura County District Attorney receiving the case they decide that Hill only be charged with a misdemeanor!

Now, I am a smart and educated person. I have been going to school for 16 years (total) and this is not what I was taught in how our justice system operates! When you kill another person due to reckless driving you go to jail! End of story! Rachel Hill is only getting a slap on the wrist for killing TWO innocent people. I spoke with the assistant District Attorney who informed me that they did not have enough evidence to prove gross negligence, even though they had all of Rachel’s text message conversations showing she was texting while driving leading up to the accident. Hill has been able to spend the last 9 months with her family through the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, which were especially hard times for both the Cushman and Malish families. Now that Father’s Day is less than one week away my heart aches just thinking about that empty feeling I will have now not being able to celebrate it with my dad. No amount of money or punishment on Rachel Hill’s behalf will ever bring my father or Maciek Malish back but it would at least be nice to have a piece of mind knowing that Rachel Hill’s life would be forever affected with jail time, a felony and two counts of manslaughter on her record for the rest of her life the same way that our family will forever be devastated about this loss and injustice. Not a single person I have spoken to agrees with the District Attorney’s decision of a misdemeanor (besides the Hill family). We need to bring attention to this obvious injustice and corruption of our justice system by bringing publicity to this case for both the Cushman and the Malish family in hopes to one day begin to heal from this tragic loss.

From left to right: dad, Julia, grandma and me. Disneyland 2012 celebrating mine and Julia's graduation, grandmas birthday and dad and Julia's anniversary.

From left to right: Dad, Julia, Grandma and me. Disneyland 2012 celebrating my and Julia’s graduation, grandma’s birthday and Dad and Julia’s anniversary.

Dad and Julia's wedding picture: June 12th, 2002.

Dad and Julia’s wedding picture: June 12th, 2002.

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

My favorite picture of dad and I at Disneyland.

My favorite picture of Dad and I at Disneyland.

R.I.P. Jesse Cushman. I love you!

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Reducing, let alone eliminating, traffic fatalities will be impossible as long as prosecutors refuse to take even the most egregious cases like this seriously. 

If you’re as angry as I am about this case, contact Ventura County DA Gregory D. Totten, and politely — but firmly — demand that the case be re-filed as a felony.

Hailey, and all the families and loved ones of both victims, deserve better.

As do we all.

Morning Links: Justice at last for OC’s Michael Bastien, and the bike world strips for the World Naked Bike Ride

It’s taken two years, but there’s finally been justice for Michael Bastien.

And with far more jail time than initial reports would have suggested.

This comes from our anonymous Orange County correspondent —

On a sunny Labor Day afternoon, Michael Bastien and his son Matt were riding their bikes down Bolsa Chica when they were hit from behind by a drunk driver. Michael was killed; his son survived.

On Friday, June 3rd, Michael John Perez accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to 10 years in state prison for felony vehicular manslaughter. He’ll be out in half that, of course. His ass is currently in County awaiting transfer to Wasco.

Michael Bastien’s brother is still calling the collision that resulted in his brother’s death a “DUI accident,” which is pretty damn big-hearted of him, because I consider “repeat drunk driving” and “vehicular manslaughter” to be crimes, not accidents, and I am incredibly disturbed at the idea that the collision (whose aftermath I passed on my daily commute) was in any way unavoidable and free of blame.

Once again, the Orange County DA’s office has gotten a conviction in a traffic case resulting in serious jail time. While other local district attorneys don’t even care enough to try.

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Hundreds of people turned out for the LA edition of the World Naked Bike Ride Sunday; a surprising number chose to bare all on a cloudy morning. (Both links NSFW).

Riders also turned out in force for the Toronto and London editions.

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Michigan lawmakers respond to the Kalamazoo bike crash tragedy by introducing a bill that would impose up to 15 years in jail for causing serious injury or death with a motor vehicle.

Nice gesture from Lance Armstrong, who will join members of the victims’ cycling club to finish the ride they started before the crash.

Meanwhile, the judge ordered the killer held without bond on Friday.

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Former German world champ Rudi Altig has died of cancer at age 79; Altig once spent 18 days in the leader’s yellow jersey in the Tour de France.

Peter Sagan set a new record by winning his 12th stage of the Tour of Switzerland.

The New York Times looks at efforts to hold bike racing motor doping at bay.

An Aussie website talks with veteran cycling announcer Phil Ligget.

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Local

A 10-year old girl was the victim of a drive-by shooting in Boyle Heights, as someone fired multiple shots at a bike rider in an apparent gang attack, and hitting her in the head instead; at last report she was in critical condition.

Good looks at LA’s Great Streets Initiative, saying the city is reinventing itself one street at a time.

A writer for the LA Times goes for an illuminating LA Noir Ride with the Los Angeles Explorers Club.

Richard Risemberg says don’t be a blockhead, put some sunscreen on any uncovered skin when you ride. You won’t get any argument from me; I’ve already had cancers carved out of my nose and calf as a result of riding unprotected in my youth.

Around 300 people turned out for the Rod Bennett Memorial Bike Ride in Santa Clarita on Saturday; Bennett was killed in a hit-and-run while riding on Placerita Canyon last month.

 

State

A Santa Barbara newspaper says the new sharrows being installed in the city may be useless. Sort of like most sharrows, in other words.

A new mural remembers a Salinas man who was killed in a hit-and-run two years ago; his killer was never found.

Sad news from Campbell, as a bike rider was killed in a collision Sunday afternoon.

 

National

The Federal Bureau of Land Management has created a map of the nation’s 20 top mountain bike destinations, only one of which is in California.

NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson, Josh Wise and Landon Cassill are each one of us, as they take a 71-mile bike ride with their crew members through Michigan’s Irish Hills.

In another case of bighearted cops, when DC police officers were unable to fix a 12-year old boy’s bicycle, they pitched in to buy him a new one.

 

International

Bicycling under the influence may not be illegal in Canada, but it’s not recommended. But it is illegal in Californiawith a fine up to $250, but no points against your driver’s license.

A bike commuter writing in the Guardian says too many drivers forget we’re all human; motorists will survive being delayed a few seconds by a bike rider, but the rider may not survive their anger. Case in point: A bicyclist in the UK suffered a serious eye injury when someone threw an egg at him from a passing car.

A Scottish rider visits Copenhagen, and says cycling utopia really does exist.

In a new study from the University of Duh, British researchers discover that kids who bike as children are more likely to ride as teenagers.

An eight-year old Kenyon boy breaks down in tears when he’s given a new mountain bike for finishing at the head of his elementary school class.

 

Finally…

Having a bike stolen sucks — especially if you haven’t even gotten it out of the box yet. If you’re not happy with a bike shop’s prices, don’t run off with their tip jar.

And forget bike Nazis; we’re now a “cycling Talibanforcing unwanted changes on poor, oppressed drivers.

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Come back later this morning, when we’ll have a heartbreaking guest post from the daughter of one of the victims in the Moorpark distracted driving crash that left two people dead; the Ventura County DA has inexplicably filed the charges as misdemeanors, against the wishes of the CHP and any form of common decency.

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Thanks to an anonymous donor for her generous donation to support this site.

 

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