Archive for Legal Cases

Guest Post: Hit-and-run driver Mehta walks despite showing no remorse, plus updates on other recent stories

We’re going to give our anonymous courtroom correspondent her own platform today.

Starting with an update in the case of 34-year old Medium contributor and author Pratiti Renee Mehta, who was re-sentenced for last year’s hit-and-run that left a bike rider seriously injured.

And yet another reminder of why people keep dying on our streets.

Two years.

Suspended, of course. ‘Cause she’s learned her lesson.

Upon her July conviction for all counts, Judge Julan Baliley sentenced Mehta to 3 years in State Prison. She left for her Chowchilla vacation almost immediately and was bussed back for her re-sentencing last week.

His Honor informed her that he’d sent her up the river in the hope that exposure to the element that fills our prisons would allow her to reflect on the person she wished to be. She did just that, observing her ilk from what little distance she could keep in such close quarters. According to her diagnostic assessment, she was a “model inmate” who did not create any disruptions during her brief stay.

She was allowed to address the court, and, through tears, expressed regret that she was unable to be present with her family, who experienced two deaths during her absence. She stated that she never wishes to experience incarceration again.

It is telling that she did not state that she never wants to harm an innocent human being with her car ever again, nor did she express regret for the permanent injury inflicted on that “bum” (direct quote from the post-collision texts collected as evidence).

Yup, she intimated that prison was unpleasant for her, but she never once referenced the extensive medical bills, physical pain, PTSD, permanent scars, loss of income, and limp she inflicted on her victim. Not to mention damaging the Peugeot her victim had bought in 1984.

Mehta’s assessment by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation psychologist  concludes that she is unlikely to reoffend. I agree, because she doesn’t wanna experience the hassle of mandatory court appearances, restitution, and incarceration. She won’t deliberately slam her Mercedes against another bum again, not because she gives a damn that others may suffer. Just because she might be affected by the repercussions, and it’s already been such a headache.

Frankly, Mehta lacks empathy. She’s not sorry for her victim; she’s just sorry she got caught.

Typically infuriating for these cases, she is required to sign away her Constitutionally protected right to possess firearms. Yet she is still allowed to drive. In fact, the Judge stated unambiguously that “I am taking no action against your driving privilege.” A driver who fails to use a turn signal will be sentenced to traffic school. But, gosh, all Mehta did was leave a guy lying in the street with his bone sticking out of his leg, and that’s not substantial enough to warrant remedial driver’s education. It might have been helpful if Judge Bailey had used his discretion to order Mehta to comlpete a Savvy Cycling class before returning her privilege to drive.

Also infuriating: Some hideous person left a comment on your blog about how horrible it is that poor li’l Pratiti’s career has been derailed because of all this inconvenience. Well, Mehta’s victim is a stage hand, a manual laborer whose ability to labor manually was taken away from him by her violent assault. To this day, he walks with a limp, and will probably never be 100% again. Although he’s working now, he lost lucrative, prestigious opportunities (plural) because he was unable to work during his physical rehabilitation. The commenter’s ignorance in suggesting that the victim shared fault is terrifying, and it’s disgusting to consider that Mehta associates with those who think this way and who might be able to influence her thoughts, especially since she is still allowed to continue to drive without any education.

In addition to time served (with credits for good behavior), the Judge sentenced Miss Mehta to 2 years in State Prison, suspended, for the felony hit and run count; 6 months in County Jail for the misdemeanor lyin’-to-the-cops count; and fines for the infraction of CVC 21070, “unsafe operation of a motor vehicle causing injury.” Count 4, CVC 21107 (“unsafe turn”), was dismissed.

Mehta will be on formal probation for the next three years. She will probably drive to report in for every appointment.

………

I recently wondered why a driver had been charged with murder for killing someone, which almost never done except in the case of repeated DUIs.

Here’s what she had to say.

Regarding murder charges. I spoke briefly with a random attorney in the courthouse hallway, and “implied malice” (the reasonable knowledge that an act is dangerous) is sufficient to file a charge of murder. “Express malice”  (“I’M GONNA KILL YOU, BITCH!”) makes it a lot easier to prosecute, but if you get reasonable jurors, a murder conviction is not just possible but likely.

This should be a giant duh, but murder is rarely sought in cases involving motor vehicles. Unless, of course, the driver is impaired, or if a threat has been expressed.

And conviction is never a sure bet, as in this case, which ended in acquittal, probably because of the, uh, questionable sobriety of one of the pilots. (This case was actually referenced by DA Cornwell in one of his filings in a vehicular manslaughter case a few years ago, which is why I looked it up.)

………

Yet another reason why people keep getting killed on our streets.

If nobody’s pointed it out yet: 10.4 miles of Vanowen Street is gettin’ a speed limit increase.

Not at the same Vanowen High Injury Network location where a crossing guard was killed at a yellow crosswalk and a HAWK beacon was installed last month. West of there. 10.4 miles, the longest stretch designated for an increase, all within a half mile or less of over twenty preschool and K-12 facilities. But at least those 10.4 miles don’t have many of those useless HAWK beacons. And only about 3 of the 10.4 miles are on the High Injury Network.

Good job, Vision Zero team!

………

That “wipeout” video you posted.

I recognized that Starbucks (and hideous Wells Fargo) instantly. That was my commute route for nearly 10 years.

Also, right where the video began, that’s where Michael Bastien was killed. (His killer’s already out, fwiw.) And that Starbucks is in the same strip mall where another Huntington Beach statistic worked, at Valentino’s Pizza. The dough slinger saw Bastien’s ghost bike every day, just meters from his work; he was hit on October 13th, 2015, and died in the hospital on the 19th, on the anniversary of Shaun Eagleson’s murder. If I’m marking dates, Wednesday would’ve been AJ Brumback’s 17th birthday. (Note: The killer of the then-eight-year old boy didn’t spend a day behind bars.)

A simple right-hook video shouldn’t create a cascade of these associations.

………

She also addressed last week’s response to a column by OC Register columnist David Whiting calling for a mandatory bike helmet law.

David Whiting’s friend Pete Tomaino was wearing a helmet when he was killed while riding his bike. Look, there’s a picture of Pete in the newspaper, wearing his holy, all-protective helmet!

Orange County bicyclists Joey Robinson, Roger Lippman, Shaun Eagleson, former Olympian Amine Britel, Sara Leaf, Debra Deem, Fire Captain Mike Kreza, all wearing helmets when they were killed.

The human brain can shut down permanently as a result of trauma not inflicted by a direct blow to the head. Even if you’re wearing a motorcycle helmet, damage to your rain not inflicted by a direct blow can kill you. No helmet will prevent trauma-induced hypoxia or rhabdomyolysis.

………

And she ends on a personal note.

Sunday night I was nearly killed by a creep who ran a red (not orange; very, very red) at a blind corner at 50 mph. I am still shook.

You know how your brain replays everything over and over and over in these situations, all the scenarios with variable timelines could have resulted in a different outcome. Yeah, that’s what my head’s been doing. For days.

Also, I had the plate, driver’s description, and location, and damn right I called it in, and the Sheriff will do nothing about the piddly little infraction that nearly killed me and the other driver with the same green light.

I won’t rant, but I am still shook. If I weren’t the type to look for cross traffic, if I hadn’t been on my slow janky bike while my Kilo TT’s in the shop, if I hadn’t yielded a block before for a turning driver, I wouldn’t be writing this.

If, if, if.

If, indeed.

Morning Links: Charges increased in Frederick “Woon” Frazier death, and WeHo drag queen run down on purpose

Maybe there will be justice for Woon after all.

I received the following email from an anonymous correspondent at yesterday’s scheduled prelim for Mariah Kandise Banks, charged with the hit-and-run death of Frederick “Woon” Frazier and the attempted coverup that followed.

The People have filed an amended complaint against Ms. Banks in which the charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence has been upgraded to felony.

Judge Lynne Hobbs thanked Ms. Banks for being on time this morning. Alas, the prelim was trailed yet again.

The judge inquired about the prosecution’s previous request for an increase in bail due to the accused’s alleged harassment of the victim’s family (and frankly, she seemed willing and prepared to grant it). The prosecutor stated that she had spoken to the victim’s family two days ago and had received no further reports of harassment, so the bail stands as-is.

Ms. Banks was her usual muttery self as she exited the courtroom.

The increased charges mean Banks now faces six years for felony vehicular manslaughter, rather than one year for the misdemeanor count.

That’s in addition to a possible four years for felony hit-and-run.

However, it’s unlikely she’ll serve anywhere near that. The LA district attorney’s office has a well-deserved reputation for bargaining charges down to avoid a trial.

If Banks is smart, she’ll drop the attitude and cop a plea. And maybe get out in a couple years, rather than risk serving the full dime behind bars.

Photo of Frederick “Woon” Frazier taken from his original crowdfunding page.

………

This is who we share the road with.

A popular West Hollywood drag queen says a driver fled the scene after apparently running him down on purpose as he was leaving a bar with friends two weeks ago.

The victim, Sasha Markgraf, says he was the only member of the group dressed in an effeminate manner.

In addition to being a drag performer and singer, Markgraf is also a costume designer. When he left the bar with his friends to cross Larrabee Street after 2 a.m. he was wearing high heels and suspects the driver may have intentionally hit him.

“It’s sad to say but I think he was coming straight for us. He didn’t have to go right. He didn’t have to veer to the right,” Markgraf says.

A crowdfunding page says the driver turned on his car as Markgraf stepped off the curb and revved his engine before plowing into him. So far, it’s raised just $2,100 of the $50,000 goal.

Unfortunately, the only description of the car is a silver Honda Civic. There’s no description available for the driver.

Lets hope they catch this jerk before he or she tries to kill someone else.

And maybe succeeds next time.

………

Another crowdfunding page is raising money to buy a new bike for an Active SGV staff member whose bike was stolen, along with her panniers, wallet and clothes, at last Sunday’s CicLAvia.

So far it’s raised nearly $300 of the modest $500 goal.

………

There’s no shortage of bighearted people in today’s news.

When the bike a Salem, Oregon man used as his primary form of transportation was stolen, his friends in the trading card community pitched in to buy him a new one.

The bike an Ohio man used as transpiration for himself and his one-year old daughter was stolen just two days into his new job, so his Walmart coworkers dug into their own pockets to buy a new bike and trailer for someone they barely knew, and most had never met.

A Pennsylvania man rode his bike across the US, raising $11,000 for a pair of small-town animal rescues.

Great piece about a British Columbia bike shop owner and inventor who earned the Lanterne Rouge in the 1955 Tour de France, joining another rider as the first British cyclists to finish the tour; after moving to Canada, he built the wheelchair used on an around-the-world journey, as well as refurbishing bicycles to give to those in need. Sadly, he died of cancer on Saturday.

Then again, some people would rather help themselves. After a thief stole the bicycle a nine-year old English boy got for his birthday, he set out to do odd jobs around town until he earned enough to buy a new one.

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Local

As we noted yesterday, LADOT is looking for volunteers for the city’s first-ever official bike and pedestrian count later this month, as well as using traffic cameras for part of the count. Volunteers are needed to count bicycles in Long Beach, too.

A pair of LA Times readers shake a metaphorical fist at the paper for celebrating the death of the High Desert Corridor through the Antelope Valley.

 

State

67-year old San Diego man was rear-ended on his bike in broad daylight, suffering what was described as a non-life-threatening brain bleed. A witness said he “came out of nowhere,” which is just another way of saying you weren’t paying attention.

The student newspaper at San Diego State University says the school made a bad decision in banning e-scooters and other micromobility devices, based on bad data and with little student input.

A Santa Barbara man was critically injured when he was hit head-on rounding a curve after allegedly drifting onto the wrong side of the road; fortunately, he’s expected to make a full recovery.

 

National

Bicycling hosts a debate on whether someone on a bicycle is a cyclist or a biker. Apparently, a person riding a bicycle wasn’t an option.

A medical columnist says if you really want to avoid pain when you ride, hie thee to a bike fitter. Though he might not have phrased it quite that way.

A Hawaiian advocacy group will host a Noodle Ride, with participants using pool noodles to call attention to the three-foot passing law.

Seriously? An Oregon letter-writer says she’s fine with one bike lane, but why do bicyclists need one going the opposite direction on the other side of the street, as well?

Albuquerque paramedics are using bicycles to get through the crowds at the city’s annual hot air balloon festival.

Good advice. After surviving a serious collision while riding her bike, a Boulder CO woman says you should take published reports in the media with a massive grain of salt. Like this one, for instance.

A Houston man is dead after a cop driving at high speed — and without lights and sirens — slammed into him in a crash caught on dashboard video from a car parked nearby. In a tragic irony, the city launched a prescheduled campaign just hours later, calling on drivers to watch out for vulnerable road users.

A writer for Streetsblog Chicago says he’s willing to bury the hatchet after a city alderman backs down on his threat to ban bikes from the Riverwalk. But he wants those illegal Bicycles Must Be Walked signs taken down.

A Minnesota man just finished riding every public street in his county

A Pittsburgh man is making his third official attempt to set a new handcycle 24-hour record. The paraplegic athlete set an unofficial record of 407.7 miles in 2016, breaking the existing record of 403.8; however, the track wasn’t certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, so it didn’t count.

Life is cheap in Pennsylvania, where a 73-year old woman was killed in a left cross collision, and the driver walked with a lousy traffic ticket. There’s something seriously wrong when needlessly taking the life of another person amounts to nothing more than a simple traffic violation.

 

International

Cycling Tips says a British Columbia bikemaker is setting a new standard for environmental sustainability in the bicycle industry.

Heartbreaking story from Hamilton, Ontario, where a 14-year old boy was stabbed to death by a pair of brothers as his mother watched, after he had confronted the other boys for allegedly stealing his bicycle.

Life is cheap in Wales, too, where a woman got off with just 27 months behind bars for drunkenly driving “like a maniac” and plowing into four members of a family out for a bike ride, then fleeing the scene; one of her victims was lucky to survive. So naturally, she blamed the entire thing on her boyfriend.

A British truck driver was convicted of careless driving in the death of a bike-riding doctorhis view was obstructed by a dashboard tray full of ornaments and other items.

In news for my fellow diabetics, a new Australian study shows that while diabetics are prone to heatstroke, you can reduce your risk by training in the heat for a week in advance.

 

Competitive Cycling

Baltimore will host a one-day ProSeries race — one rung below the WorldTour — for the next three years.

Cycling’s governing body says it’s going to work with riders to improve safety in time for next year’s cycling season. If they really want to improve safety, they’ll get team cars and race motorcycles out of the peloton, and require riders to wait until someone can catch up for assistance.

 

Finally…

Nothing like circus friends to borrow a bike from. Apparently, there’s no bike lane that can’t be turned into a parking lot.

And nothing like turning a Santa Clarita bike path into your personal brass knuckle fight club.

 

Rally tomorrow demanding justice for Scott Clark; OC triathlete was collateral damage in alleged 2017 road rage case

No Morning Links today, due to the demands of this piece, as well as a few too many emergency potty runs caring for a sick Corgi.

I’ll try to catch up tomorrow with a rare Weekend Links if her belly allows; if not, we’ll be back on Monday with anything we’ve missed.

………

When does justice delayed become justice denied?

Apparently, when Orange County investigators drop the ball.

And the DA drops the case.

Bike lawyer Ed Rubinstein forwards a flyer demanding justice for a Laguna Hills father, teacher and triathlete who was killed over two years ago, the result of a road rage incident between two motorists.

Scott Clark, a fifth-grade teacher at Laguna Niguel Elementary School and four-time Ironman triathlete, was training for a race in January, 2017, when he ran into a crosswalk just as two women were arguing as they sped down the road in Laguna Nigel.

One of the women, later identified as Jamie Mulford, allegedly turned right from the left lane in front of the other car, cutting off the driver and forcing her  car into Clark as he crossed the street.

He suffered severe head injuries, and died two weeks later.

Mulford was arrested at the scene for suspicion DUI, but the charge was dropped because investigators failed to test her blood alcohol level for nearly six hours after the crash, by which time she was under the legal limit.

The DA eventually charged Mulford with vehicular homicide in the death of Scott Clark. Yet after numerous delays, the case was dismissed ths year when the DA said they could no longer prove Mulford’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Adding insult to overwhelming injury, Mulford sued Scott Clark’s wife for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress — choosing the two year anniversary of his death to file suit.

It took less than a month to have the case thrown out of court for lack of merit.

Which bring us to tomorrow’s rally calling for justice for Scott Clark.

Supporters of Clark — or anyone who believes in the safety of our streets — is urged to meet at Laguna Nigel City Hall at 10 am Saturday to walk to the crash site at Niguel Road and Alicia Parkway.

I don’t know if Jamie Mulford is guilty.

But I do know Scott Clark’s survivors deserve to have the case put in front of a jury.

And newly elected DA Todd Spitzer owes them that.

Thanks to Ed Rubenstein for the heads-up.

Morning Links: South Figueroa Complete Street project opens next week, and updates on OC court cases

The long awaited My Figueroa Complete Streets project will finally open a week from tomorrow.

City officials will open the long-delayed makeover of the iconic South Figueroa corridor with an official ribbon cutting, as well as walking and biking tours.

Although not everyone is happy with the unprotected, cab-blocked bike lanes by Staples Center, the pedestrian beg buttons required to cross the street, and the interminable bicycle red lights that give drivers clear priority over people on bikes on a street that’s supposed to serve everyone.

LADOT has promised they’re still fine-tuning the street, but I’m hearing complaints that too many compromises were made to get everyone to sign off on the My Figueroa project.

Let’s hope they get it fixed before Angeleno bike riders write off the remade Figueroa as just another incomplete, auto-centric LA street.

Meanwhile, nothing has been done at all on North Figueroa, which remains just as deadly as ever.

………

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from our anonymous OC correspondent, who checks in today with a number of updates on outstanding court cases.

Along with a little justified criticism of yours truly.

Hi, here’s a few overdue updates on OC cases, along with some typical ranting.

………

(Alleged) murderer Justin Scott German was released from custody on August 10th on $1mil bond. His preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for September 17th. No surprise that this bartender was on probation for DUI at the time of the killing.

………

Baby-faced rager Pratiti Mehta is facing a slew of charges: unsafe right turn, unsafe lane change, unsafe operation of a motor vehicle causing injury, hit and run causing injury, and oh yeah, ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON with an enhancement for great bodily injury. And since her fleeing ass provided false information to the investigating officers, there’s another charge.

………

The Rita Faye McLaughlin case drags on and on and on. Last fall, I skipped a “pretrial” hearing. Turns out, it wasn’t yet another pretrial. It was the victim impact hearing. The victim’s siblings and daughter were there, and Rita Faye was supposed to plead. But she changed her mind. The jury trial was scheduled to begin on the 16th, but has been delayed again.

………

Jason Roy Rocha‘s case is also dragging. There will be no good outcome; he needs extensive mental health maintenance and he needs to be permanently banned from operating a motor vehicle, but neither of these things will happen.

………

Taylor Russell Evans pleaded guilty in June and is currently serving 364 days in County. His prelim on June 11th was canceled because he accepted a plea bargain, and sentencing was the following week (I skipped both because I had that gimongous facial hematoma)*. He’ll probably be out by Thanksgiving, and his victim will probably still be dead.

*(Editor’s note: Our correspondent was hit by a driver while riding, suffering what the police consider minor injuries.)

………

Not bike collisions, but Bani Duarte, who was interrupted by officers as she was packing her suitcase to flee the country, will be allowed out if she raises $4mil bail.

And imagine if Garrett James McKinnon injured 12 people in two separate firearms incidents, instead of using a car.

………

Can you stop lauding the OCDA sooo highly? I remind you that killer Becki Lee James was acquitted after she ran down a cyclist, from behind, in broad daylight, inside a 23′ lane, even though her victim was riding in the door zone. The deputy DA at the trial sprawled out in his seat like Dwight the Surly Teen and was clearly irritated to be in the courtroom. The DA absolutely failed to provide the level of prosecution the case deserved, and James is still out there driving around.

Young Dylan Rand-Luby served his 90 days in the cushy pay-to-stay section of Santa Ana’s jail, and is going on about his life.

I was sooo hopeful that the OCDA’s Vehicular Homicide Team would be be brave enough to set some precedent and prosecute on murder/DUI-marijuana charges, but they’ve decided not to go for murder, and so far there are no charges at all.

There’s more, but we’ll save it for another day.

………

BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen offers a good explanation of California’s comparative liability law, which could cut the amount you receive in any settlement if a jury finds you’re partly at fault in a crash.

On the other hand, it could also allow you to receive something, even if you’re the one who screwed up.

………

Local

The Los Angeles Public Library has a bouncing baby bakfiets book bike, which was donated to the Baldwin Hills branch by the LACBC.

LADOT and CD3 Councilmember Bob Blumenfield are hosting a public workshop to discuss street improvements for Winnetka Ave between Vanowen St and Victory Blvd next Wednesday.

Bloomberg says forget vaporware tech promises, and just build a decent sidewalk that would allow fans to walk to Dodger Stadium.

A bill just signed by Governor Brown will allow the County of Los Angeles to develop a program to get employers to encourage their workers to use alternative forms of transportation, including bicycling.

 

State

No surprise here, as the San Francisco driver who allegedly admitted he was drunk after running down and killing a bike rider has pled not guilty, with his attorney calling it just a “tragic accident.” He faces a murder count due to two previous DUI convictions, which led to a warning under state law that he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while under the influence.

San Francisco bike advocates want to end the city’s cap on bikeshare ebikes.

Police in Elk Grove turned to Facebook to find the owner of a Colnago Extreme C racing bike after busting a burglar. Seriously, register your bikes, already. It doesn’t cost anything, and will give police a much easier way to find you if something like this happens.

 

National

The national Vision Zero Network says it will focus on managing and reducing speeds, while defending the program against cities that treat it like a tag line or a PR campaign. Like Los Angeles, for instance.

Bicycling says bicycling — lower case — is the best way to banish the blues. Unless, of course, you’re sad because you can’t ride for some reason, in which case you’re screwed.

A writer for Bicycling says keep your feet out of our bike lanes.

DIY advice on how to wall mount your bike.

Portland’s Community Cycling Center is looking for a new Director of Equity, Engagement and People.

A Utah man suffered cuts and bruises, and broken glasses, when he was assaulted by a bike rider who objected to the man’s dogs being off-leash on a shared use trail. Seriously, just… don’t. No matter how justified you may think your anger is, violence is never the answer.

No bias here. A Colorado music professor is being blamed for a fatal suicide swerve into the side of a passing tanker truck. A more likely explanation is the truck driver passed too close at too high a speed, in violation of the state’s three-foot passing law, and the victim got sucked into the truck’s slipstream.

The subway apocalypse predicted for New York when the L-train shuts down for 15 months of maintenance next year could be a boon for buses and bicycling in the city.

A group of DC Eagle Scouts just earned their bicycling across the US merit badge.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. DC is fixing a bike lane and intersection where a bike rider was killed earlier this summer.

Arlington VA is conducting a trial next month to see how well bicycling volunteers can deliver emergency supplies and messages following a disaster. But oddly, they’re charging people to participate.

A North Carolina newspaper says if the city is bike friendly, where are the bike lanes?

 

International

The Guardian says urban walking could save humanity.

Bike riding is growing in Toronto, even as the BBC calls it the worst city in the world for bicycling.

London’s Scotland Yard has developed a “shocking” 360° virtual reality film to show the dangers of riding a bike near large trucks.

A member of the British Parliament accepted an invitation to ride with a bicyclist after his Conservative party sent out a since-deleted tweet promising a crackdown on dangerous bicycling. Many, if not most, of LA’s elected officials agreed to meet and ride with bicyclists when they filled out candidate questionnaires from the LACBC, but to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever held them to that. Maybe we should change that.

Seriously? A UK study shows Millennials are spending more on hobbies, including bicycling, than their elders, because they have to have the latest fashionable gear and most up-to-date equipment. Which is the exact opposite of most bike riding Millennials I know, but sounds like a lot of older riders.

A pair of British men now officially own the world record for circumnavigating the globe by tandem, riding over 18,000 miles in a little more than 290 days. Speaking of which, tandems are in again.

This is why you have to ride carefully around horses. A woman in the UK suffered a punctured lung when a bike rider tried to pass between her horse and the curb without announcing his presence. Seriously, equestrians can be self-righteous jerks when it comes to demanding exclusive rights to trails and bridges, but both rider and mount can be seriously injured if the horse gets frightened.

The London driver caught on video deliberately swerving at a group of bike riders wasn’t lying when he said the car was stolen; he faces multiple charges for car theft and driving without a license.

A new British government program will spend the equivalent of $645,000 to train driving instructors to teach bicycle awareness to their students.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Continental Jelly Belly-Maxxis team could be on its way out after 18 years, after Jelly Belly announces it’s pulling out at the end of this year.

An Indiana mountain biker is still winning races after 25 years.

 

Finally…

Apparently, you ride like a moose. An injured goose’s goose isn’t  cooked, thanks to a pair of bike riders.

And evidently, there were no major advances in road bikes before 1948.

 

Morning Links: Justice for Deborah Gresham, bike settlements soar due to bad LA streets, and BAC meets tomorrow

Finally, there’s justice for a fallen bike rider.

It’s been 16 months since Walking Dead fan page author Deborah Gresham was hit by a driver while riding her bike in Stanton.

And left to die in the street, literally within site of her own home.

The driver, Ricardo Hernandez Sandoval, was arrested less than an hour later after horrified witnesses followed him to his home. He was booked on charges of felony hit and run, felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter.

Now I’ve been informed that he was sentenced on Friday to four years for vehicular manslaughter under the influence, and five years for the fatal hit-and-run, to be served consecutively.

In other words, nine years total, along with fines and restitution.

I’m also told the assistant DA had to wipe tears from his eyes when Gresham’s children gave their witness statements.

It won’t bring Deborah Gresham back. But for once, a fallen SoCal cyclist got justice from the courts.

If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to read Peter Flax’s moving, must-read story about this tragedy. Photo from Ghost Bikes LA.

………

Great story in the LA Times about the soaring cost of settlements involving bike riders who were injured due to the city’s failing streets.

According to the story, the City of Los Angeles settled with 17 bicyclists last year for a total of $19 million, over four times more than in any previous year.

That’s $19 million that could have gone to fixing the streets before anyone got hurt, rather than waiting until it was too late.

It was those settlements that inspired Councilmember Mitch Englander’s misguided proposal to ban the striping of bike lanes on any streets with less than an A pavement grade, and removing any existing ones from streets with a B or less.

Which would leave few, if any, bike lanes anywhere in Los Angeles.

And only serve to increase the city’s liability when bike riders continue to get injured on streets that used to have bikeways.

The story quotes me on that, as well as talking with BikinginLA sponsor and Calbike board member Josh Cohen.

………

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee will meet tomorrow night in Hollywood; the BAC is the only official voice for bike riders in the City of LA.

………

The LACBC has unveiled a new video explaining who they are and what they do as part of their 20th Anniversary Celebration.

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Local

It shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s ridden a bike through there to learn that the intersection of Devonshire Street and Reseda Blvd is the most dangerous one in the state.

LA2050 is offering a total of $1 million in grants to five organizations for projects designed to make Los Angeles, “the best place to learn, create, play, connect and live.” Applications will start being accepted on March 1st.

A bike rider was hit by a car in Pacific Palisades last Wednesday; no word on how the victim is doing. The driver somehow claimed to be driving just 15 mph in a 45 mph zone at the time of the crash.

Tomorrow the UCLA Bicycle Academy intends to confront the members of the Regents Health Services Committee to demand that the statewide UC Health system lose its automotive bias and recognize the health benefits of bicycling.

LA celebrated the official opening of a one-block long Green Street in the Del Rey neighborhood, connecting Westlawn Ave with the Ballona Creek bike path.

 

State

Sad news from Hesperia, where a father drowned rescuing his nine-year old son from the California Aqueduct, after the boy slipped in as they rode their bicycles along the canal.

Caltrans is warning about construction delays on the the coastal bike path north of Ventura through the month of February, though the path will remain open.

A decision could be made this week on the proposed San Luis Obispo bike boulevard that has brought the anti-bikeway NIMBYs out of the woodwork.

For the first time, you won’t need a vintage bicycle to participate in the Eroica California in Paso Robles.

More sad news, this time from Oakland, where a man on a bike was killed in a collision with a big rig truck.

 

National

Slate says requiring bicyclists to wear sensors so self-driving cars don’t crash into them is cheating, and autonomous vehicles should be able to spot people riding bicycles on their own, without outside help.

Details have been released for this year’s Ride the Rockies bike tour through the Colorado high country; it will cover 418 miles and nearly 26,000 feet of vertical climbing in six days. And it will visit the tiny lakefront town where my mother worked as a waitress when she was just 18.

Seriously? The death of a Kansas cyclist competing in the state time trial in 2015 was the catalyst for a proposed state law prohibiting negligent driving. Except the penalty would be a whopping $45, which isn’t likely to change anyone’s driving habits.

Michigan is doubling the width of a four-foot bike lane and adding other safety improvements, after two women were killed there two years ago. Maybe they could try making improvements like that before someone gets killed. Which goes for Los Angeles, and everywhere else, as well.

New York news media goes berserk after mobs of “crazed, angry cyclists” swarm drivers, smashing a car window and punching a driver. Although it turns out it was really just 16 teenagers on bicycles, and the cop who was injured was hit by a car making a U-turn to go after them.

 

International

Canadian cross-country ski clubs are slowly opening their trails to fat bikes.

Ofo dockless bikeshare comes to London, as the Guardian says it will be to cycling what Uber is to taxis.

LA bike riders aren’t the only ones who have to deal with crappy pavement.

The economic impact of bicycling adds the equivalent of nearly $1 billion to the Scottish economy.

 

Competitive Cycling

The incomparable Katie Compton had to settle for second place in the women’s world cyclocross championships, finishing behind Belgian Sanne Cant.

Belgium’s Wout van Aert won the men’s world cyclocross title for the third consecutive year.

 

Finally…

Buy a bike, bore your dinner companions. UFC champ Connor McGregor is one of us.

And yes, you just got dropped by a priest on a folding bike.

No doubt staged, but still fun.

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

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

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

………

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

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

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

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

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

………

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

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

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

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Local

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

Bike Portland looks at the ugly economics of bike crashes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Washington Post illustrates the history of the bicycle.

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

 

Morning Links: Truck driver charged in 2015 death; LA capitulates on green lanes, and ranks low on low stress

About damn time.

After a 20 month delay, the LA County District Attorney’s office has finally charged the driver responsible for the death of Long Beach bike rider Robert Castorena in 2015.

Fifty-year old Utah resident Wesley Phil Blake was charged with vehicular manslaughter for attempting to cross under a railroad bridge in Carson that was too low for the load he was carrying on his flatbed truck. It dislodged the massive shipping container, which fell off and crushed Castorena as he rode his bike on the sidewalk.

Blake was reportedly driving as a result of a trucking strike at the Port of Los Angeles, and may have been attempting to cut corners since he was being paid by the load, rather than the hour.

He faces up to six years in prison if he’s convicted.

His victim has already been sentenced to death.

……….

Once again, the LA City Council has chosen the film industry over your safety when it comes to putting green bike lanes on the streets.

A compromise agreement with the city council — which reads more like a capitulation to the industry — commits the city to using a far less noticeable shade of forest green, which pretty much defeats the entire purpose of green bike lanes.

It also establishes a three-year moratorium on any new green paint in popular filming locations, and commits to notifying the city’s FilmLA before installing green paint on other high filming streets.

Yet all this is just the industry forcing the city to bend over to kiss its collective ass to its will, since the green paint can be removed in post production, and can be easily covered before filming.

Maybe we should start a crowdfunding campaign to buy some damn black mats to cover the green lanes during locations shoots, since Hollywood production studios can’t seem to find any money for them in their $100 million budgets.

And maybe remind the council that, as important as the film industry is to LA, this is a city, not a studio backlot.

And people actually live here.

This is the dull color LA’s new green bike lanes will be, as opposed to the bright, highly visible green on Santa Monica’s Main Street at the top of this page. Thanks to Michael MacDonald for the photo.

………

People for Bikes has introduced a new nationwide map to show how 299 cities rate in terms of being able to ride your bike on a low stress network, determined by factors such as how easy it is to ride to school, shopping or a doctor.

Not surprisingly, many small towns rated high for low stress.

And equally unsurprising, Los Angeles scored an extremely low 19, compared to other cities, which scored as high as 80.

The site is still in beta, and looking for feedback through the 14th of next month. But they seem to have gotten our ranking right, anyway.

………

The LACBC will host a ride on the lower portion of the LA River bike path this Saturday.

………

The grueling Race Across America — better known as RAAM — kicked off in Oceanside yesterday; the winners should reach the finish in Annapolis MD in a little over a week.

A team of San Bernardino firefighters are competing to raise funds and awareness for their fellow firefighters with cancer.

………

Yesterday we linked to the Go Fund Me page for track cyclist John Walsh, who was seriously injured in a fall while competing on Sunday. Now Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson suggests it wasn’t an accident.

………

Local

Maybe he got the message. CD1’s Gil Cedillo is co-hosting a discussion with the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council next Tuesday to draft an action plan to improve pedestrian, bike and traffic safety. Show up and tell him to approve the North Figueroa road diet if he’s serious about saving lives; if not, it’s just more talk and political posturing. Thanks to Harv for the heads-up.

KABC-7 professes to offer tips to keep you safe while bicycling, but doesn’t get any further than helmets and lights. Note to KABC — bike lights are required in California, and every other state in the US. Not just Santa Monica.

A San Marino jewelry store owner has set out on a 3,000 mile ride across the US to raise funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), after his riding partner died of the disease four years ago.

LA County has issued a $10,000 reward for the capture and conviction of a bike-riding man who attempted to rape a woman on a South El Monte bike trail. Let’s hope they find this creep and lock him up for a long time.

 

State

A new UC Irvine study shows safe passing laws don’t appear to have had any effect on fatalities.

Go Human and Orange County Parks hosted a pop-up event to show how cycle tracks could connect a gap in the county’s 66-mile OC Loop bike trail network.

The Daily Pilot discovers the South African cyclist towing a replica rhino down the left coast as he pauses in Huntington Beach to raise awareness of the risks to the endangered species.

A Central California public radio station looks into whether mountain bikes should be allowed in US wilderness areas.

San Francisco’s BART rail system is testing a new smart bike lock system in their stations; the Estonian maker of the lock says not a single bike has been stolen from one of their locks in over a million uses in Europe.

An Oakland resident maps out a two-wheeled pub crawl.

A Marin columnist says separate but equal is the solution to the county’s conflict over allowing mountain bikes on the local trails.

 

National

Bicycling looks at where you can legally ride your ebike, which isn’t as simple a question as it seems. In California, ebikes capable of up to 20 mph are allowed on bike paths, and bikes capable of up to 28 mph can ride in bike lanes. Anything faster than that is legally considered a motorcycle, and requires a license and helmet.

An Austin TX bike group says the minor charges against the driver who ran down four bicyclists, claiming he fell asleep at the wheel, aren’t serious enough to fit the crime.

Nice story, as a seven-year old Louisiana girl stops in Chicago to meet with bike cops on a nationwide tour to hug police officers in every state across the US.

Police in a Chicago suburb are ticketing bike riders for good behavior by giving them coupons for free ice cream for riding safely.

After someone stole a custom tricycle from an adult man with Down syndrome, Chicago-area residents crowdfund money to buy a replacement within days.

A Massachusetts bill would establish a three-foot passing distance for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as equestrians and road workers, increasing by one foot for each 10 miles per hour over 30 mph.

The Department of DIY wins one for a change, as Providence RI replaces toilet plungers installed by a bike rider with actual plastic flex poles to mark a protected bike lane.

A Baltimore judge issues a restraining order to keep the city’s mayor from ripping out a partially installed protected bike lane in response to complaints from NIMBYs.

 

International

A Canadian consultant argues that better bike lanes don’t just improve safety, they boost the local economy.

Traffic speeds are being cut to 20 mph on streets throughout the UK through 2020 as part of a Scottish study to determine if lower speed limits really do reduce injuries and fatalities.

Why settle for one world record, when you can set four in a single day?

Yes, France’s new president really is one of us, and so is his wife and security detail.

An Aussie newspaper says cyclists can’t stay at the bottom of the street food chain.

 

Finally…

Nothing like trying to do a good deed, and going for an unexpected swim; thanks to David Wolfberg for the link. If you’re investigating a hit-and-run involving a bike rider, it might help to release a photo of the truck that hit him instead of the bike that got hit.

And when your first sentence starts “”The time of the year when middle aged morons take to the highways with their bicycles and block traffic…”, it’s smart to hide behind a paywall.

 

Morning Links: Killer road rage driver cops plea for up to 12 years, and the war on bikes goes on. And on…

Maybe they’ll get it right this time.

In a case that horrified LA’s cycling community, a Los Angeles man could spend the next 12 years behind bars for the 2015 road rage murder of a man on a bike following an argument near USC.

According to KTLA-5, 33-year old Andrew Williams pled no contest on Friday to felony voluntary manslaughter and felony hit-and-run driving resulting in death for intentionally running down 35-year old Ruben Wharton Vanegas.

The District Attorney’s office finally explained what happened in a case where very few details were released at the time.

On Oct. 15, 2015, Williams was driving his SUV in the 3900 block of South Vermont Avenue when he came across Ruben Wharton Vanegas, 35, who was on a bicycle, the prosecutor said.

The two men got into an argument over the cyclist being on the road and after exchanging words, Vanegas hit the defendant’s side view mirror and rode in front of the vehicle, according to court testimony. Williams then ran over the victim and dragged him for about 50 feet, the prosecutor added. Vanegas died at the scene.

Sentencing will take place on the 20th of this month.

Too many killer drivers get off with little or no significant jail time in LA County. Let’s hope that changes in a case where the driver clearly murdered his victim.

………

The war cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.

A Northern Irish bike rider was lucky to walk away after someone sabotaged a Belfast bikeshare bike by loosening the lug holding the front wheel in place.

A nine-year old Aussie boy was nearly decapitated when someone strung a rope across a pathway at neck level.

Horrifying story from Australia, where a driver deliberately mowed down a man on his bike, and shouted at him to get out of the road before driving away and critically injuring a pedestrian in a second crash. He later told police saying he only intended to knock the man off his bike, not hurt him, while claiming the pedestrian he hit was the devil.

………

Thanks to Tim Rutt for forwarding this really cool collection of antique bicycle headbadges.

………

The seven-stage Critérium du Dauphiné opened Sunday, serving largely as a tune-up for next month’s Tour de France; Napa’s Andrew Talansky will lead the Cannondale-Drapac team, while Alberto Contador has a new bike for the race.

The Vail CO paper talks with cyclocross legend Katie Compton, in town to give mountain biking a try.

………

Local

LA’s Vision Zero is focusing on high rate of crashes in South LA. Nice to see city officials have finally ventured into the undiscovered country south of the 10 Freeway.

Los Angeles has opened the latest segment of the LA River Greenway Trail in Studio City, forming a four-mile trail along the river.

KPCC previews yesterday’s River Ride benefitting the LACBC; the Daily News says over 2,000 riders participated.

Bicycling profiles Silver Lake new and used bicycle emporium Coco’s Variety, which started as a variety shop before bicycles sales and studio rentals took over.

A writer for UCLA’s Daily Bruin says teach students about bike regulations before they get a ticket, not after.

LA Bike Dad rides with the kids to a free art class at the Barnsdall Art Park — and his four-year old rides the two mile distance on his own bike.

Pasadena could see another 400 bikes on the streets when Metro Bike comes to town on Bastille Day.

A 13-year old South Carolina boy set off from Santa Monica Saturday on a 3,000 mile bike trip across the US; before he even set off, he’d raised $300,000 in donations for clean water and hopes to raise half a million by the time he gets back home. At his age, I was happy just to ride to band practice.

 

State

Orange County will conduct a bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operation tomorrow. You know the drill; ride to the letter of the law so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

Coronado adds bicycle maintenance stations along the city’s Bayshore Bikeway.

Caught on video: A security camera captures a man burglarizing an El Cajon bike shop after shooting out a window.

Bixby, the dog who’s spent the last several years riding across country to promote pet adoption, will be staying in San Luis Obispo for the next few weeks after having emergency surgery.

A trans woman in San Francisco used a settlement she received after getting hit by a car while riding her bike to go from homeless to starting two successful businesses, including a bike shop.

Around 2,200 AIDS/LifeCycle riders left San Francisco yesterday for a 545-mile along the coast to Los Angeles; the riders have already raised $15.1 million for the fight against HIV.

 

National

A Las Vegas bike shop owner is riding across the state to campaign for the Republican nomination for governor of Nevada. More proof that traveling on two wheels does not automatically make you a liberal.

As bike sales slump, Boulder CO bike shop employees are being trained not to be jerks.

A Wisconsin man shares what he’s learned after vowing to run or bike through all 72 of the state’s counties.

Chicago Streetsblog sets out on a Black Power Ride through the city’s South Side.

The Akron, Ohio paper remembers a hospital administrator who endured stares riding his bike to work in the 1950s and 60s.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 84-year old upstate New York man still rides 30 or more miles three times a week.

A curmudgeonly New York columnist follows-up on his video rant insisting bike riders suck by taking offense that anyone would take offense at what he now says was a tongue-in-cheek comment. Because really, who doesn’t bust up laughing when someone says you suck?

Caught on video: A group of North Carolina cyclists can thank a bad driver for making the right choice, pulling onto the grass next to the left shoulder after getting caught in a bad pass, rather than pulling back into the soft and squishy people on bikes as so many other drivers have done. A local TV station asks why so many drivers lose their minds around cyclists. Good question.

The Charlotte Observer talks with NASCAR champ Dale Earnhardt Jr about his newfound love of bicycling. Even if he does refuse to wear spandex on the track.

 

International

Mexico City is the latest major city to have a bike mayor.

A Canadian man ties a pool noodle to the back of his bike to show the legal one-meter safe passing distance — the equivalent of a three-foot passing law — and gets hit anyway.

Toronto finally installs barriers separating a bikeway from a major roadway after a five-year old boy was killed after falling in front of traffic. Yes, this is the way Vision Zero is supposed to work, but why do authorities always seem to wait until it’s too late to fix problems they already know about?

English police told a former cycling champ to go away when he tried to report a dangerous near-miss by a driver.

The Telegraph says middle aged men are trading in their roadie Lycra for mountain bike baggies.

A bike-born British acting troupe has traveled over 6,000 miles performing Shakespeare across the UK.

A Philadelphia writer goes walking amid the bikes of Copenhagen.

A new report finds drivers are at fault in most crashes with bike riders in Adelaide, Australia.

 

Finally…

If you build it, they won’t come if the bike lane is only 27 inches wide. If you’re going to ride home drunk, put a damn light on your bike and try to hold your line.

And you no longer have to struggle to carry your bicycles on your private helicopter.

 

Morning Links: $4.5 million settlement in broken street death, new laws aren’t helping OC, and windshield bias in CD7

LA’s poorly maintained streets and lack of safe bicycling infrastructure will cost taxpayers $4.5 million dollars.

And cost a bike rider his life.

The city council agreed to a settlement in the 2014 case of Edgardo Gabat, who struck a two-inch ridge of concrete on Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock, and was thrown over his handlebars.

Sadly, the city knew about the problem after other riders had been injured there, but failed to fix it. Yet continued to list Colorado as a bicycle-friendly street, despite a lack of any bicycling infrastructure or warning signs.

As the LA Times points out, this settlement comes as Los Angeles debates whether to invest Measure M local return funds in fixing the streets or supporting Vision Zero projects.

Clearly, both are necessary. Because sometimes, it’s the same thing.

And as large as this settlement is, I have a feeling Gabat’s family would gladly give it all back just to have him with them again.

………

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from David Whiting of the Orange County Register, who says new laws and thousands of dollars spent improving safety haven’t cut the county’s bicycling death toll, averaging one rider a month killed in traffic collisions.

Yes, he stresses the need for bike riders to be polite and obey the law. And he’s not wrong about that, although no one ever seems to suggest that every driver has to obey all the laws and be ambassadors for motoring.

But he does point the finger where it belongs, at distracted drivers and dangerously close passes that violate the state’s three-foot law. And notes that fines for littering exceed the penalty for nearly killing another human being with just inches to spare.

The kicker to the story, which ends with a call for Wednesday’s Ride of Silence, is that his own wife returned home from a ride as he was writing it, and reported that a man in a truck yelled an obscenity at her.

Which really shouldn’t surprise anyone, unfortunately.

………

Streetsblog considers the new protected bike lanes on Foothill Blvd in Sunland-Tujunga, which were installed as a Vision Zero measure in response to the death of bike rider Jeff Knopp. And how they entered the debate between CD7 council candidates Karo Torossian and Monica Rodriguez, as the formerly bike-friendly Torossian offered a windshield-perspective comment about bike lanes being “rammed down our throats.”

Meanwhile, the Eastsider repeats questions for the candidates for CD1, and once again, gets crickets from incumbent Gil Cedillo.

For all the problems that have surfaced recently with Joe Bray-Ali, it’s hard to imagine he could be any less responsive or more out-of-touch with the district than Cedillo has been.

………

This is why you don’t retaliate against drivers, no matter what they do or how pissed off you are.

A Santa Clarita man was sentenced to 188 days behind bars for throwing a bottle at a car after the driver apparently cut him off as he rode his bike on the sidewalk.

………

CNN visits the Madonna del Ghisallo chapel above Lake Como in Italy and its shrine to cycling and the Giro d’Italia.

A major crash took down 50 riders in the Giro, sending a number of riders out of the race and into the hospital. Meanwhile, Vincenzo Nibali’s homecoming was ruined when one of his teammates got the cycling equivalent of a red card for shoving another rider off the road.

The Modesto Bee previews the Amgen Tour of California, which starts this weekend, and says keep an eye on Peter Sagan. French rider Julian Alaphilippe won’t be defending his title, or competing in the Tour de France, for that matter, after knee surgery knocks him out for at least four weeks.

Southern California’s Coryn Rivera returns to compete in the four-stage women’s Tour of California after becoming the first American the Tour of Flanders; full rosters were released for the women’s teams.

The course for this summer’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix will go backwards.

………

Local

Metro invites you to attend the grand opening of the long-awaited Hollywood Bike Hub on Friday the 19th at 9 am.

CiclaValley looks at last weekend’s NBA Reunion and BMX Bike Show, which oddly had nothing to do with basketball.

The LACBC will be hosting a pair of bike safety classes in Inglewood this afternoon and this evening.

The Bikerowave bike co-op invites you to bring your bike in on Saturday to get ready for Bike to Work Day, and score some swag from Metro.

Santa Monica gets serious about reducing traffic fatalities, including hiring a Vision Zero Czar, increasing funding, improving infrastructure, updating the bike action plan, and addressing the city’s speeding problem. Maybe LA could take a few hints from them.

The year’s first Redondo Beach TEDx talk addresses the city’s transportation issues, like how to reduce driving and where more bike lanes are needed; sadly, the discussion came just two days before a 13-year old girl was killed riding her bike along PCH.

Speaking of the young victim in that case, the Easy Reader News offers the most complete account yet of what happened that tragic night, and the heartbreaking impact Ciara Smith’s death has had on the community. If the story doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, you’re a stronger person than I am.

Long Beach approved plans for a new 2.5 mile bicycle boulevard in the southeast part of the city. Thus demonstrating to its much larger neighbor that it is in fact possible to build the things that are included in a city’s bike plan.

 

State

Good question. The Human Streets website asks if it’s possible to get the data needed to pass the Idaho Stop Law in California without actually trying it first.

An injured mountain biker was airlifted after falling off his bike at the top of Coyote Run Trail in Wood Canyons Wilderness Park near Laguna Nigel.

Laguna Beach is looking for more input to create a more inviting entrance to the city, including a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists.

Cal State Fullerton police are looking for a bike-riding man who threatened to kill a woman who rejected his sexual comments.

Newport Beach boldly backs out of plans to improve safety on Bayside Drive, canceling plans for a roundabout, as well as an alternate plan for a road diet. Because obviously, you don’t want to do anything to save lives if it might possibly inconvenience someone.

Sixteen bike repair stations will be installed at fire stations throughout Ventura County over the next year; a 10-mile family friendly ride will be held on Monday to celebrate the first one.

Bakersfield police are still investigating a member of a prominent local farming family in the January hit-and-run death of a woman riding her bike; police found an empty vodka bottle in the SUV of the driver, who has at least one previous DUI.

A Bay Area TV station offers advise on what you need to start cycling, albeit from a strict roadie perspective.

 

National

A new study shows increasing bicycling infrastructure can reduce fatalities and severe injuries as much as 75%. It includes Los Angeles as an example, even though LA has drastically cut back on building bikeways, and largely forgotten its 2010 bike plan.

People for Bikes says living plants make great diverters and traffic calming measures while doubling as on-street storm drainage.

Oregon considers a new 4% – 5% excise tax on the sale of new bicycles to fund transportation projects; while bike advocates may not like the idea, they’re not going to the mattresses.

Chicago is about to get its first contraflow bike lane, on a road where people frequently ride salmon to avoid busier streets.

As we mentioned awhile back, Pittsburgh-based ultracycling legend Danny Chew is back on track towards his goal of riding one million miles in his lifetime, now using a handcycle after a crash that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Hundreds of police officers are riding from New Jersey to DC for the annual Police Unity Tour to honor officers killed in the line of duty.

The homeless man who stabbed a Connecticut man to death as he neared the end of a ride to Miami to propose to his girlfriend won’t stand trial after being declared incompetent by the judge.

 

International

A writer for Cycling Tips says there’s no such thing as “just” a concussion, and every brain injury has to be taken seriously. I concur, from experience.

London’s Telegraph shares ten cycling routes you should tackle on your next trip to the UK.

After former three-time Tour de France champ Chris Froome was intentionally hit by a car while training in France, the BBC asks how safe the roads in the UK really are for people on bikes.

The Guardian says police have to crack down on vicious drivers, because bike riders don’t deserve to be killed by bike-hating motorists for jumping lights or hopping curbs.

Caught on video: Yesterday we mentioned the road raging London mother-to-be who will be having her baby behind bars after running a bike rider off the road and into a tree; today, horrifying security cam video of the crash was released. Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

A Dutch art student left her bike in an English town when she returned home, with a note encouraging people to use it and return it for others to use.

The Paris Velib bikeshare goes electric with a new operator, ebikes and a new parking scheme that doubles dock capacity.

 

Finally…

The best way to lose a race — and get laughed at — is to celebrate your victory a lap early. Unless it’s nearly getting run over by the peloton posing for your Instagram pics.

And if you’re going to flee the scene after a drunken crash, make sure the cyclist you hit wasn’t a bike cop.

They take that shit seriously.

 

Morning Links: Killer Baltimore bishop already up for parole; LAPD Hollywood Memorial Riders reach Arkansas

Some things are just too awful to understand.

Peter Flax does his best to do just that, and to explain to us, the incomparable loss to family and friends when someone doesn’t come home a ride.

In this case, a husband and father. A Baltimore bike builder named Tom Palermo.

It was a case that made news around the world. Not because of who he was, but because of who took his life.

The assistant Episcopal bishop of Maryland.

Heather Cook had previously been convicted of DUI, at over three times the legal limit, but was still on the road after convincing the court she had completed rehab and installed an interlock device.

She ran Palermo down from behind, fleeing the scene as a bicyclist gave chase before returning to turn herself in, long after her lifeless victim had been taken away.

Despite being charged with a litany of crimes that could have added up to nearly four decades behind bars — including DUI, hit-and-run and distracted driving — she accepted a plea to just four charges, the most serious of which was vehicular homicide.

She was sentenced to seven years.

Now she could be out in just 18 months.

Because of a quirk in Maryland law, which says that people convicted of violent crimes have to serve at least half of their sentence before being considered for parole.

But in Maryland, vehicular homicide isn’t considered a violent crime. Not even when the driver was nearly three times the legal limit, texting, and fled the scene.

Or when two little kids will have to grow up without their father.

It’s not fair. It’s not right.

But Heather Cook will have a hearing next week that could let her back out on the streets. And maybe kill someone else’s husband or father. Or wife, mother, sister, brother or child.

It’s a heartbreaking story. One that will probably leave you outraged.

And one that Flax tells very well.

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Seven LAPD officers and one retired officer riding from LA to DC on the first Hollywood Memorial Ride have reached Fort Smith Arkansas, pausing to honor fallen officers along the way.

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Congratulations to the University of Colorado, the new collegiate road cycling champions.

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Local

Los Angeles police are looking for a man rode his bike up behind another man near Crescent Heights and Wilshire Blvd, got off and whacked him in the back of the head with a hard object in an apparent random attack; the victim is currently in a coma.

Streetsblog says Councilmember Mike Bonin nailed the response when he was challenged about his support for Vision Zero.

The Santa Monica city council will discuss bike and pedestrian safety at their next meeting this Tuesday, including calls for a full-time pedestrian safety coordinator.

The LACBC continues their Bike Month member profiles with ride marshal Treva Moore.

 

State

The Idaho Stop Law is scheduled to go before the Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday, along with a bill that would clarify that pedestrians are allowed to cross in a crosswalk while the signal is counting down — something the LAPD tickets pedestrians for in DTLA.

Costa Mesa will pay out $250,000 to a man who was injured falling off his bicycle when he struck protruding wooden post on the sidewalk on Harbor Blvd.

An Escondido mom used social media to track down and confront the man who stole her son’s bicycle.

San Diego bicyclists are losing patience with progress on the city’s bike plan, even though the city has built out 15% of the new lanes in the 2013 plan, as well as improving 22% of the existing lanes.

The Ventura County Fire Department is unveiling their first public bike repair stand, attached to a fire station in Newbery Park. Great idea; attaching it to a fire station could help prevent the vandalism that is common with stands like that.

San Francisco’s transportation agency comes in just under the wire, completing the last of three protected bike lanes on the final day allowed under the mayor’s executive order.

A Sonoma County man finished a 13-day, 550-mile ride around the entire Bay Area, climbing a total of 68,000 feet along the way.

 

National

This is who we share the streets with. A Seattle pedestrian was harassed by a group of men in a car before one got out, pointed a gun at her as she tried to get a photo of the car’s plates, and shot at her. Hopefully they’ll find the guy and lock him up for a very long time. But it’s a reminder to always be careful, because you never know who you’re dealing with.

This is why people continue to die on our streets. A Kansas man was arrested for reckless driving, after serving just 60 days for killing a bike rider two years ago; he was out on a three-year suspended sentence.

A Kansas woman is riding her bicycle to follow the 10,000 mile migration of the monarch butterflies from Mexico to Canada and back again.

Bikeshare continues to spread through the American heartland, as Wichita KS opens a program with 100 bicycles at 19 stations in the downtown area.

Kindhearted employees of a Toledo, Ohio bike shop will replace the bike that was stolen from an 11-year old boy at knifepoint.

Twenty-six bike riders set off on a 400-mile annual ride from Newton CT to DC to honor victims of gun violence, including the 26 children and adults killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.

That’s one way to get votes. A Pittsburgh councilwoman — and current candidate for mayor — was caught on video honking at a bike rider and yelling at him to get in the bike lane. Even though there wasn’t one.

Something else you’d never spot from a car: A Philadelphia woman recognizes wooden pipes from a two-century old water system after workers piled them in the bike lane.

A DC-area man says not stopping is the best way to improve safety for cyclists.

 

International

Caught on video: A road raging passenger got out of a van and chased a British bike rider after he banged on the van’s window following a too-close pass.

No bias here. The UK’s Daily Mail says a bike rider rode into a car and headbutted the windshield after failing to see the car stopped directly in front of him. Or maybe the rider came around a blind curve and was unable to stop in time to avoid the car.

Arnold Schwarzenegger goes bike riding in Paris, and celebrity photobombs tourists at the Eiffel Tower.

An African website says Namibian cycling star Raul Costa Seibeb died mysteriously. Which is only mysterious if that’s what you’d call a car crash.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to flee the scene of a fatal crash, take your license plate with you. If you’re going to brake check a pair of bike riders, make sure they’re not cops.

And if you’re going to install bike racks at a shopping center, make sure you can actually lock a bike to them.

 

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