Archive for Legal Cases

Morning Links: Justice for San Diego thrill kill victim, Griffith Park feeder ride, and CD4’s Ryu finally responds

Sometimes there’s justice after all.

Even if it takes awhile.

When a bike rider gets shot, it’s almost always gang involved in some way. The 2011 death of San Diego cyclist Jordan Hickey was the exception.

The developmentally disabled man was just minutes from his home while riding back after visiting his girlfriend when he was gunned down for no reason.

Or more precisely, just for the hell of it.

Two men were allegedly driving around just looking for someone to kill when they spotted Hickey on his bike, and one leaned out of the car window to fire the fatal blast from a shotgun.

On Wednesday, the driver, Juan Ignacio Gomez, was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder; he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Humberto Emanuel Galvez, the accused shooter, faces a possible death sentence when he goes on trial in May.

Which is exactly what he’s accused of sentencing Hickey to, without a trial.

………

A feeder rider to tonight’s Griffith Park Advisory Board meeting will roll out from Sweet Salt in Toluca Lake to protest plans to open Mt. Hollywood Drive to cars to placate Beechwood Canyon homeowners, who are tired of being overrun by tourists looking for the Hollywood Sign.

………

While I wasn’t looking, CD4 city council candidate David Ryu finally responded to the LACBC’s candidate survey; turns out like most bike riders, his remains in the garage most of the time. Carolyn Ramsay, his opponent to replace Tom LaBonge in the May 19th runoff, submitted her response back in February.

………

Local

LADOT offers up a Pico Blvd bike love story with a happy ending.

Hollywood’s Amoeba Records is holding a charity auction hosted by comedian Kurt Braunohler on April 4th; proceeds will benefit the kids ride and activities at the LACBC’s River Ride in June.

Expect rolling closures on PCH in western Malibu for the next two days as work continues on the highway’s Bike Route Improvements project.

A Burbank writer looks back on Sunday’s Valley CicLAvia and asks what effect a similar event would have on the city.

Ride for a great cause, as the Bear Claw Classic rolls this Saturday in Westlake Village to raise funds for Ride 2 Recovery.

 

State

Clear registration stickers from California’s Anti-Theft Dots could help recover your bike if it’s stolen.

Once again, the CHP rules harm, but no foul, as a driver escapes responsibility for taking his eyes off the road and seriously injuring a cyclist when his vehicle drifted to the right. Evidently, drivers are no longer required to pay attention and maintain control of their cars and trucks in California.

Sad news from Sacramento, as a bike rider becomes the latest victim of a fatal hit-and-run.

A San Jose writer provides a first-person account of simple solo fall with a not so simple result — multiple broken bones, collapsed lung and nearly a half million dollars in medical bills.

San Francisco supervisors want more bike education classes in their districts.

 

National

AAA Distracted DrivingDashcam video in a new PSA shows texting teen drivers swerving off the road; as the BAC’s David Wolfberg asks, how much of teens’ distracted driving behaviors did they learn from watching their parents?

Denver prosecutors throw the book at a driver who nearly killed a bike cop while having a seizure; he faces up to 32 years in jail for crashing into the officer after hiding his medical condition when applying for driver’s license.

A Houston website says it’s open season on bike riders in the Texas city following a horrific hit-and-run that left a cyclist critically injured.

Good news from North Dakota, as bike collisions are down 50% in Rapid City.

A 70-year old man who collapsed on the street can credit his life to the quick actions of a couple of Chicago bike cops.

Whether a protected bike lane on a busy Boston street is a good thing or a bad thing depends on who’s telling the tale. Meanwhile, a Boston city councilor bemoans the loss of revenue from the 73 parking spaces that will be removed to make room for the cycle track, evidently valuing money over the lives of people on bikes.

Baltimore plans to add up to 100 miles of bike lanes over the next 15 years; the question, as always, is whether the plan will be funded.

A Florida driver faces up to 30 years in prison for the death of a bike rider; he was reportedly doing at least 102 mph at the time of the impact.

 

International

The UK’s Cycling Weekly reminds us all why we got on a bike to begin with; however, they forgot to mention the most important reason. It’s fun.

Formerly anti-bike Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson rides off on one after being fired by the BBC for punching a producer; he faces possible criminal charges, as well.

Caught on video: A first person view from the hero cyclist who chased down three British bike thieves.

Dubai develops a specialized six-wheel ambulance — including bike rack on the front — to rescue cyclists injured while riding in the desert.

An Indian official sets out on a “bicycle march” to end injustice, lawlessness and corruption in the country. Although he disappointed his mother, who wanted him to get married first.

A Bangkok writer calls for his countrymen to stop using the term accident to refer to crashes, saying most, if not all, are preventable. You’re preaching to the choir, dude.

 

Finally…

After riding 5,000 from Los Angeles to Miami, then up to Charleston, a cyclist gets a ticket for unlawful passing — just one hundred yards from his final destination. That silly looking German adult balance bike is now a real thing, for no apparent reason.

And how many times has this happened to you?

Breaking news: OC lawyer guilty in 2013 DUI death of cyclist Eric Billings

Word is just coming in that an Orange County attorney has been convicted in the DUI death of cyclist Eric Billings two years ago.

According to a press release from the OC District Attorney’s office, Hasti Fakhrai-Bayrooti pled guilty to a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated on Tuesday.

The DA reports the 41-year old Rancho Santa Margarita woman had prescription drugs — including Xanax and Suboxone — in her system when she ran down Billings’ bike from behind on March 15, 2013, as he rode in a marked bike lane on Santa Margarita Parkway in Mission Viejo.

Fakhrai-Bayrooti was apparently unable to plead down to a lessor charge; she was convicted on the same count she was originally charged with, which is unusual in cases that don’t go to trial.

According to the press release, she is currently out on $100,000 bond, and faces up to four years in state prison when she is sentenced on May 8th.

She also faces possible removal from the state bar following her conviction; she has been an active member of the bar since 2005.

Thanks to Edward Rubinstein, and Amy Senk of Corona del Mar Today for the head-up. (And apologies for misspelling Rubinstein’s name at first.)

 

Morning Links: LA finally gets tough on hit-and-run, Calimesa driver convicted in fatal DUI hit-and-run

Now that’s more like it.

After years of rampant, unsolved hit-and-runs that have made this the City of Fallen Angels, Los Angeles is finally getting tough on fleeing drivers.

Streetsblog reports LA will establish its own Amber Alert-style emergency notification system after Governor Brown vetoed a similar statewide system last year. Alerts will be sent out on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to warn the public to be on the lookout for drivers responsible for serious hit-and-runs.

In addition, the city is establishing a standing reward for information leading to the conviction of runaway drivers, ranging from $1,000 for a collision resulting in property damage with no injuries, up to $50,000 for fatal collisions.

It won’t remove the incentive to flee.

But maybe if more drivers are convicted of the crime, others may think twice about flooring it following a wreck.

……..

William Donald Johnson has been convicted in the allegedly booze and drug-fueled hit-and-run death of cyclist Phillip Richards in Calimesa at the end of 2013. He reportedly fled the scene after crossing the center line to hit Richards head-on.

Johnson faces up to 15 well-deserved years in prison.

……..

Local

The next Bicycle Roundtable is scheduled for 6:30 pm this Thursday at Metro headquarters. The agenda includes updates on bike share, bike platform symbols and complete streets policy; the latter earned them national recognition for last year’s efforts.

A USC student was hit by a car while she was riding in a marked intersection near campus, while those darn cops refuse to play fair, hiding behind cars and trees to catch law-breaking Trojans.

Ciclavalley examines the Forest Lawn Death Trap as part of a series on the worst bike lanes in Los Angeles. Which sadly seems to be a much longer list than the best ones.

South Pasadena’s Monterey Road may be up for a road diet.

 

State

San Diego finally hit the on switch for its long-delayed bike share system.

A salmon cyclist suffers two broken wrists in Brea collision when she’s hit by a car pulling out of a parking lot; drivers seldom look for anyone coming against traffic.

Participation will be off at this weekend’s Tour de Palm Springs due to a lack of available hotel rooms, while riders taking part in the tour may have to wait for the presidential motorcade to pass.

A Texas man and his dog bike from Main to Monterey the long way.

 

National

An Anchorage man averaged a speedy six mph on a 225 mile fat bike race along the frozen Iditarod trail.

Someone is removing ghost bikes from the streets of Houston. But at least the city is getting green lanes downtown.

Only 18 bicyclists have been injured using Chicago’s bike share system since it was introduced 2-1/2 years and 3.2 million rides ago. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s successful bike share is expanding into neighboring Kentucky.

The seemingly endless battle of bikeways versus parking rears its ugly head once again, this time from St. Paul business owners. Because only motorists could conceivably spend money, not bike riders. Right?

Wisconsin’s conservative governor takes aim at funding for bike and pedestrian projects.

Stickers saying “I parked in a bike lane” are called too passive aggressive for New Yorkers, who are more likely to simply bash a windshield with a U-lock according to one Gotham cyclist.

How to ride a Mississippi roundabout.

A road raging West Palm Beach driver intentionally crashes into a bike rider, then gets out and punches him, apparently just for being in his way.

An Orlando writer discovers biking to work is more fun than driving, though a DC writer might disagree after giving up biking to work following a solo crash he can’t remember.

 

International

A look at the history of bicycling superhighways, both real and vaporware, starting with the elevated bikeway that eventually became LA’s first freeway. Meanwhile, City Lab criticizes all those farfetched plans to remove bikes from the streets, because it’s not the bikes that are the problem.

Safety fears keep British kids from bicycling.

London cyclists stage another massive die-in to call for safety.

Talk about distracted driving. A Scottish driver is photographed using headphones, a mobile phone and a laptop computer while he drove, all at the same time.

Greg LeMond handicaps this year’s Tour de France, saying Froome is the favorite but don’t Quintana count out. And says cycling needed Lance to crash and burn.

A cold-hearted Aussie woman actually bragged to family and friends about fleeing the scene after hitting a bike rider, leaving him to die of hypothermia in a ditch.

Caught on video: riding on top of a car may be taking sharing an Australian road just a tad too far.

 

Finally…

You might have to wait awhile to print your own bike, at least if you actually want to ride it.

And Walmart’s newest bicycle shaped objects are assembled in the US from foreign-made parts, while Scottish kilts come from Long Beach, courtesy of a cyclist who evidently wanted to air things out after a hard ride.

 

Weekend Links: OC hit-and-run driver charged in death of PCH cyclist; fund set to help injured bike rider

It looks like LA’s District Attorney could learn something from her counterpart in Orange County when it comes to traffic crime.

The OC DA announced Thursday that 20-year old Dylan Thomas Randluby of Emerald Bay has been charged with felony hit-and-run with injury and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence in the death of 55-year old cyclist John Colvin.

Colvin was riding in the bike lane on North Coast Highway last June when he was run down from behind by Randluby’s car. Randluby allegedly kept driving despite a shattered windshield; he was followed by a pair of witnesses and arrested after stopping a mile later.

In too many other cases, hit-and-run has been essentially forgiven when drivers stopped nearby, returned to the scene later or turned themselves in even days later. It’s nice to see Orange County prosecutors treat it like the serious crime it is, even if the charges could be a little stiffer.

Randluby has apparently been released on $50,000 bond; KTLA-5 reports that no one by that name was in custody as of Thursday.

Thanks to Amy Senk and Jeffrey Fylling for the heads-up.

………

A Giveforward account has been established to help raise $30,000 for a bike rider who was severely injured when she was hit from behind at an estimated 50 mph while riding in a bike lane.

And an LA rider wants your help thanking the firefighters who came to his aid when he was injured on Angeles Crest.

………

Local

KNBC-4 says LA has a crack problem — potholes and surface cracks in the streets that can seriously injure cyclists. And quotes BikinginLA sponsor Jim Pocrass, as well as frequent contributor Patrick Pascal.

The LACBC shares an interview with new Executive Director Tamika Butler.

Santa Monica officials propose naming their coming bike share program “Breeze;” the city is also hosting a Valentine’s Day Kidical Mass family ride.

 

State

Rather than improve safety on the Coast Highway, Laguna Beach installs sharrows and signage to steer riders away from it.

Does a bike co-op by any other name smell as sweet? Santa Barbara City College opens a DIY bike shop.

A Danville court case could determine whether the safety of cyclists should be considered in the environmental review process for new developments. Maybe we should be classified as an endangered species.

One of the victims in that recent Mendocino County collision where an 18-year old driver mowed down five riders in rapid succession recounts her story in horrifying detail; she remembers seeing the driver sneer at her through the windshield before she fell under the car and was dragged 400 feet.

 

National

If you wondered who would ever buy that $20,000 S-Works McLaren Tarmac, the answer is cyclist and former baseball great and alleged doper Barry Bonds.

Charges have been dropped against a 74-year old Arizona woman who kept going after hitting a bike rider, blew through a red light and t-boned a truck, killing the driver — while on Ambien, no less — because she was found incompetent to stand trial. And to drive, evidently.

After a 14-year old Kentucky boy with Cerebral Palsy has his bike stolen, a stranger reaches out to buy him a new one.

Deadspin drops in, unwelcomed, on the nation’s second-oldest alley cat race in Minneapolis; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the link.

A Maryland county finds drivers are at fault in 58% of collisions involving bike riders.

The Baltimore paper looks at why some drivers flee after a collision; maybe because they’re at fault 58% of the time.

A Florida county becomes the first in the state to criminalize harassment of bicyclists, pedestrians and people in wheelchairs.

 

International

Get your video fix from Road.cc with this roundup of the year’s best bike videos, including a texting driver shouting at a rider to get in the bike lane and a massive pile-up in the Tour Down Under.

The head of London’s licensed taxi drivers association says maybe he went a tad too far in comparing bicyclists to terrorists. If we were really like ISIS he would have been beheaded for that remark.

In yet another pie-in-the-sky — or maybe pie-in-the-ground, in this case — plan, a London design firm proposes converting abandoned subway tunnels into underground bikeways.

Kind-hearted Londoners raise £6,000 to send the body of a bike rider killed in the city back home to Greece.

British authorities have finally dropped charges against a bike rider who was fined £50 after he swerved out of a bike lane to go around a phone booth. Yet no one seems to ask why was there a phone booth in the bike lane to begin with.

A Brit bike rider is called the most hated man on two wheels after using his helmet cam to help police convict 70 scofflaw drivers.

A Czech group has sent 200 bikes to Cameroon to help protect African elephants. And no, they aren’t so the elephants can ride them to safety whenever poachers show up.

In one of the most over-the-top editorials in recent memory, a “hard-hitting” writer for the Sydney, Australia Telegraph accuses the Lord Mayor of desecrating the city with gridlock-inducing bike paths.

 

Finally…

Plans for a Halifax, Nova Scotia bike lane are put on hold when a hot dog vendor complains it will put him out of business; evidently, bike riders don’t eat hot dogs in the Great White North. A British bike lock goes high fashion.

And if mountain biking isn’t challenging enough, maybe it’s time to try it with one wheel. Or perhaps racing through shopping malls.

 

A rider fallen, family and friends shattered, and a young woman on the verge of hard time

It’s hard to believe it’s been a full year.

Yes, all traffic deaths are tragic.

But some seem more troubling than others, haunting the edges of memory until something — an anniversary, a ghost bike, a news story — brings it back full force. And you’re struck once again by the incredible waste of it all.

A life taken for no reason.

Other than a driver’s carelessness and — alleged — criminal behavior.

A 21-year old bike shop worker taking the long way to work early on a Sunday morning, run down from behind by an 18-year old girl accused of having meth in her system from the night before.

It was exactly one year ago today that Joseph Robinson was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding in a bike lane on Santiago Canyon Road in Orange while on his way to Jax Bicycles in Irvine. Sommer Gonzales was charged with the crime after being arrested in a parking lot not far away on Santa Margarita Parkway, reportedly while hiding evidence in a friend’s car.

It was thanks to an off-duty firefighter that Robinson was discovered off the side of the road, on the verge of death. And that a police officer had the information he needed to spot Gonzales’ car and make an arrest.

OC Battalion Chief Mark Stone was on his way to work when he spotted the badly damaged car traveling in the opposite direction, and began looking for what — or who — the car had struck. The only visible sign of the crash was a tumbleweed smashed against a guardrail, and a single bike shoe resting on the road.

Evidently, I’m not the only one who’s been haunted by Robinson’s needless death.

A memorial ride was held in Irvine this morning; hundreds of riders were expected to participate, escorted to the site of his ghost bike by Irvine police and CHP officers.

Meanwhile, Gonzales faces felony charges for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, driving under the influence of drugs causing bodily injury, hit-and-run causing death and possession of a controlled substance.

In addition, she’s charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, with sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury and fleeing the scene of a crime, according to the MyNewsLA website.

The site reports she could spend over 15 years in state prison if convicted on the felony charges, with an additional six months in county for the misdemeanor count.

Our anonymous South Bay correspondent was in the courtroom recently for the preliminary hearing for Sommer Gonzales.

………

The preliminary held Wednesday, January 21st, was lengthy and at one point during some protracted questioning by the defense, the judge interrupted to remind him that the purpose of the prelim is to present only the most germane facts.

And the facts appear to be these:

Sommer Nicole Gonzales had been hanging out at a private residence in Anaheim on Saturday night. About 3 am on the morning in question, she allegedly smoked meth. A couple hours later, she began her drive to visit a 24-year-old gentleman friend in South County, taking a route familiar to her. Her undamaged vehicle is seen on the video surveillance of a Villa Park 76 Station shortly before she reached Santiago Canyon Road. At 6:47 am she texted a reply to the persistent gentleman friend, saying she was going through Santiago Canyon.

At approximately 6:55 am, she left a frantic message on another friend’s mom’s voicemail, stating that she had “hit something” and needed help. (The mom, for the record, disapproves of her son’s acquaintanceship with Gonzales, and immediately deleted the message.)

Although video surveillance from the gated entrance of the nearby Loma Ridge Emergency Operations Center didn’t capture the impact that flung Joey’s body 200 feet through the air, it shows that Gonzales stopped and exited her damaged vehicle. She did not walk back towards the site of the collision. Instead, twenty-five seconds later, she got back in the driver’s seat and continued driving southbound on Santiago.

OCFA Battilion Chief Marc Stone, commuting northbound, noticed the smashed hood and shattered windshield of Gonzales’ car as it passed him by the south entrance of Irvine Lake. The magnitude of the damage to her windshield initially, very briefly, made him think the car had struck a deer, but his intuition instantly put him on alert. Three miles up the road, he spotted crunched-up tumbleweeds and a lone bike shoe nearby. The same surveillance video shows his truck slow and flip a U-turn. Off camera, he found Joey’s body and dialed 911. Just up the hill, the dispatchers at the Loma Ridge Facility, which houses the county’s emergency communications bureau, relayed the description of the damaged maroon Toyota to law enforcement.

A sharp-eyed Sheriff’s deputy located the suspect’s vehicle, along with the suspect and her 24-year-old gentleman friend, in a parking lot. She had burn marks on her lips and paraphernalia in her purse. She had all sorts of nystagmus and was uncooperative with officers who attempted to administer a field sobriety test. After very few questions, she was taken into custody.

The judge listened to both sides impassively, examining all the exhibits and asking pertinent questions. Throughout the hearing, he was observant, neutral and unreadable, even during the defense’s closing arguments that dropped jaws in the audience.

The defense, possibly sensing the hopelessness of requesting a dismissal of charges, contended that Gonzales’ behavior that night did not meet the definition of gross negligence. The judge disagreed, and stated several reasons to support his opinion: She was high. She was texting. She was on a road familiar to her as one popular with cyclists. She, for whatever reason, maneuvered her vehicle straight into a marked, eight-foot wide bike lane. She failed to investigate the cause of the damage to her vehicle. Fifteen miles away from the scene, she parked her car head-in so that the damage would not be so visible to passers-by. She called pretty much everybody except 911. She made conflicting statements to law enforcement. Her “credibility,” concluded the judge, “is a question for the jury to decide.”

And, despite his calmly expressed finding that the evidence in the case clearly merits a more thorough examination by trial, there was no mistaking his own incredulity at the defense’s claims. I’m fairly sure everyone else in the courtroom (with the exception of Gonzales and her lawyer) wanted to yell “YESSS!” and add a fist pump for good measure.

………

She goes on to offer her personal take on the case:

Gonzales is an idiot for not taking whatever lenient plea deal she was offered, because it’s off the table now. Let alone for not learning anything about how to manage her addiction during three (count ‘em, three) stints in rehab as a minor.

And it’s disgusting that her gentleman friend hasn’t been charged as an accessory after the fact. He was helping her remove her possessions from her damaged vehicle when the two were discovered. He’s also the brilliant mind who suggested that she reposition her vehicle so that the damage would be less noticeable, and “accidentally” deleted the texts he sent and received that morning (it took a subpoena to his carrier, but the DA has them all).

Meanwhile, Orange County traffic engineers still think 55 mph is an acceptable speed on a downhill stretch with a blind vertical curve. And the tower visible off in the distance from where Joey was killed, the one that looks like a steeple?

It belongs to the county’s 911 dispatch center.

………

Two lives were destroyed that morning; two families shattered and countless friends shaken.

Sommer Gonzales may have a chance to rebuild hers once she finally gets out of prison — assuming she’s convicted, of course.

Joseph Robinson will never get that chance.

 

 

Morning Links: The wages of road rage sin, bike thieves get busy (and get caught), and how car wrecks happen

Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magas observes that we don’t need to call LA’s bike boogeyman Doctor Christopher Thompson anymore.

In the good ex-doctor’s case, the wages of sin were several years in prison, loss of his medical license and a substantial civil settlement. Just in case you were wondering if road rage was worth it.

………

Bike thieves are in the news this week, as Santa Monica police catch one in the act, and two men are arrested for poaching a Palm Springs bait bike. Less luck in San Diego, where several bikes have been stolen since the first on the year.

………

The CHP lists the 11 most common causes of collisions — 10 of which can be avoided simply by changing driver behavior.

And few, if any, of which probably will be.

………

You’ve got just a few more days left to win this one-of-a-kind, belt-driven titanium bike.

………

Local

Flying Pigeon notes that nothing happened on North Fig until the rabble rose up and demanded action.

LA’s Multicultural Communities for Mobility show how community organizing can help improve health through bicycling.

Ciclavalley offers thoughts on the Valley CicLAvia.

A stretch of Venice Blvd west of Western has been freshly repaved and should soon get the bike lanes called for in the 2010 bike plan.

The LACBC shares photos from Wednesday’s Operation Firefly in DTLA, and announces dates for future light giveaways.

Bikerowave hosts their monthly open house today.

Metro plans to select a vendor for the coming bike share network in LA and Pasadena.

 

State

An Anaheim cyclist was injured in a collision Thursday morning; the driver fled the scene but came back an hour later. And no, that should not excuse the hit-and-run; drivers are required to stop and render aid, as well as exchange insurance information, in the event of a collision.

San Clemente approves plans to upgrade their beachfront bike path.

East Bakersfield gets 20 miles of new sharrows. While I have walked the streets of Bakersfield, I have yet to bike them, sharrowed or otherwise.

Paso Robles’ Great Western Bicycle Rally begins this coming Monday.

An apparently invisible Santa Maria cyclist suffers major injuries when he’s hit by an unlicensed driver.

Palo Alto approves plans for two new bike boulevards, the first of 20 planned safety improvements.

The San Francisco Examiner says enforcement of the state’s new three-foot passing law is off to a slow start. Actually, nine citations in the first four months is pretty good; cyclists in other states often complain that police haven’t issued any.

 

National

Former Charlotte mayor and current US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx challenges America’s mayors to improve bike and pedestrian safety.

How to print your own carbon mountain bike.

Honolulu businesses say a new protected bike lane is harming sales, despite numerous studies that say they’re good for business.

Add South Dakota to the list of states considering a three-foot passing law.

The most interesting car at the Detroit Auto Show isn’t one.

A banjo playing musician bikes 1,400 miles along the Mississippi River for a gig in New Orleans.

Grist looks at Louisville KY’s new underground bike park. We can’t do that here because it would disturb the Lizard People.

After a Georgia cyclist is hit by a car while trying to cross a street, he gets a ticket for riding in the street — which is legal in every state in the US.

Miami cyclists demand safety improvements after yet another rider loses his life on the city’s deadly Rickenbacker Causeway; the allegedly drunken hit-and-run driver returned 20 minutes later, reportedly crying hysterically.

A 72-year old Florida woman shoots three times at a man riding his bike home from work in an attempt to scare him, for reasons apparently known only to her.

 

International

Ouch. Calgary cyclists say don’t compare their bike-friendly city to bicycle-challenged Houston.

London’s Evening Standard looks at the latest tech devices that promise to transform your ride. Or you could just, you know, go out and ride your bike.

A Brit cyclist has his $2,500 mountain bike stolen while lying on the street after being struck by an SUV.

We’ve all thought about it, right? A British cyclist argues with a motorist, then gets off his bike and snaps off the driver’s key in the ignition before riding away; police are looking for the suspect.

A 21-year old cyclist rides over 4,300 miles across Egypt in four months.

Great. Now even using a bike bell to alert pedestrians to your presence is considered rude by some Aussies. Personally, I find polite voice warnings work better, anyway, with rude ones when called for.

 

Finally…

Repeat after me: if you’re carrying crystal meth on your bike, don’t ride salmon. More proof bicycling is becoming mainstream, as even Spongebob is doing it.

And Elly Blue asked Twitter users what difficulties they went through when they first learned to ride a bike, then Storified the responses; my own comment wraps it up.

 

Morning Links: CicLAvia sued over Wilshire hit-and-run; LaBonge keeps Glendale-Hyperion Bridge dangerous

Maybe you remember.

It was during the June, 2013 Wilshire CicLAvia when a bike rider was hit by a hit-and-run driver during the ostensibly car-free event.

Now CicLAvia has been sued by the rider, who suffered three broken vertebrae when an impatient motorist drove through the barricades blocking a cross street and sped across the boulevard, striking him in the process.

No arrest was ever made, making it impossible to sue the person actually responsible for the injuries. So instead, the victim’s lawyer is going after the nearest deep pockets, which is what lawyers are paid to do. Although how deep CicLAvia’s pockets are remains to be seen.

Presumably, the non-profit organization has insurance to cover cases like this, so it’s unlikely that it will affect future events. Although increased costs for insurance coverage and security are likely to make them more expensive to stage.

And don’t expect to hear CicLAvia respond to the suit. They’ve undoubtedly been advised by their attorneys not to comment publicly on the case.

……..

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from erstwhile bike blogger Will Campbell, now an animal cop with the spcaLA.

Will explains that the local spcaLA is not associated with the national ASPCA, and any donations made in response to the ubiquitous ad with the sad-eyed dogs and cats won’t benefit homeless or abused animals here in the City of Angels.

He invites you to guess how many coins are in a jar he plans to donate to the society; the winner can have the donation made in their name. Or you can donate directly through the society’s website.

No, it doesn’t have anything to do with bikes.

But it’s a damn good cause.

……..

‘Tis the season.

A Turlock, CA group puts together 50 bikes to donate to the Salvation Army for underprivileged kids. A mountain bike group donates dozens of bikes to kids at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Grand Rapids MI volunteers give away 1,500 free bikes. Three-hundred Miami kids from needy families get new bikes, thanks in part to Walmart.

……..

Local

Outgoing 4th District councilmember Tom LaBonge’s insistence that no traffic lanes be removed from the soon-to-be redesigned Glendale-Hyperion Bridge force dangerous compromises to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. The best solution may be to wait a few months until someone else sits in his seat.

The Eastside Bike Club hosts a ride on Sunday, January 4th to protest CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s misguided comments to the council that bike riders represent the 1%; let’s show him that real Angelenos — and voters — of all types ride bikes. Thanks to Jaime Kate for the tip.

Better Bike discusses how Beverly Hills fails to take California’s three-foot passing law or cyclist safety into account in a planned redesign of Santa Monica Blvd; you’re invited to discuss a new complete streets proposal for the boulevard at 7 pm tonight in the Beverly Hills Public Library. And maybe the topic of how political accountability takes a holiday in the Biking Black Hole will come up, as well.

A 26-year old Pomona bike rider was killed in a drive-by shooting. Bad enough we have to dodge cars; no one should ever fall victim to bullets.

 

State

An Irvine woman walks out of jail just hours after being sentenced to nearly a year in jail for intentionally running down an airport bike cop. If the courts won’t take a vehicular assault on a cop seriously, what hope is there for the rest of us?

A San Diego bike rider makes a remarkable recovery from an Ocean Beach hit-and-run that nearly took her life just two months ago.

A Bakersfield bike rider is killed in an early morning hit-and-run on Saturday.

Palo Alto proposes striking designs for a planned bike/pedestrian bridge over Highway 101.

 

National

Close associates of ex-six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by ex-one-time Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, agreeing to pay the Feds $541,000.

Tucson bike ambassadors give away bike bells, arguing that the bells sound nicer than saying “on your left.” And every time one rings, an angel gets his wings.

The National Parks Service proposes allowing bikes to use a six-mile pathway in Bryce Canyon. However, a recent NPS rule change could mean cyclists could be banned from nearby roads if the bikeway is approved.

As if the state’s highways weren’t risky enough for cyclists, South Dakota expands the use of rumble strips to make them more dangerous.

Massachusetts’ state parks department approves a half-million dollar study on how to better accommodate bikes, recognizing that bicycling is a growing form of both transportation and recreation.

Pittsburgh installs a new stop box for cyclists, but fails to tell motorists what it’s for.

A North Carolina judge rules a motorist gave a cyclist enough passing distance — even though the car’s mirror knocked the rider off her bike. I’d hate to see what he thinks is too close.

It takes a real jerk to steal bikes from Florida foster kids.

 

International

Volvo announces a new safety system to provide proximity alerts between drivers and cyclists; of course, it only works if both are using the same system.

Aussie pro Simon Gerrans is out of commission for the next few months after breaking his collarbone while training.

Now that’s a big heart. A Kiwi cyclist forgives the motorist who ran him off the road and assaulted him before running over his bike.

Caught on video: A Chinese bike rider miraculously walks away after getting run over by a semi in a right hook; warning, though, you may find the video hard to take. Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

 

Finally…

Aussie police conduct a drunk driving crackdown over the weekend, but the most wasted person they caught was riding a bike. Lance insists he would never cheat, at least not at golf; didn’t he used to say the same thing about bike racing?

And bad enough that bike riders have to dodge dangerous drivers; not even ghost bikes are safe. I’m afraid I’ve lost track of who sent this one to me, but thank you, anyway.

 

Morning Links: Arrest made in Anaheim hit-and-run; saddle up for Selle’s Christmas party in San Diego

An arrest is finally made in the hit-and-run death of an Anaheim mother early last month.

Daniella Palacios was riding her bike across the street just blocks from her home when she was run down by a white pickup, whose driver fled the scene without stopping.

Now 30-year old Buena Park resident Junior Lopez has been arrested for the crime. He’s being held on $50,000 bond, and his Ford F-150 truck has been seized as evidence.

……..

If you find yourself in San Diego tonight, make your way to the Selle Anatomica Christmas Party at 7939 Silverton Ave, Suite 806, from 6 to 9 pm. Just bring a canned good for the San Diego Food Bank and a “funky” item for the schwag exchange. RSVP in advance to fred@selleanatomica.com.

……..

Irvine and Riverside personal injury legal firm Avrek Law introduces the BikeSafe Bicycle Accident Reporting App, allowing you to report bike-related incidents throughout the SoCal region, or search for collision data by year or type. And yes, it does make an impact to see all those wreck sites on a single map.

Although I wish lawyers, of all people, would learn to call them collisions instead of accidents, since accident implies that no one is at fault.

……..

The LACBC is teaming with Better Bike to host a meeting on Monday on how to create a more bike friendly Beverly Hills. Personally, I’d start with a major attitude adjustment at City Hall.

……..

Lois forwards this photo of a gray-haired Burbank man who appears to be riding a ghost bike, right down to the RIP sign attached to the frame.

Stolen or not, I’d say that’s tempting fate just a little too much.

……..

Longtime LA Times columnist Patt Morrison says local bike riders should be required to get an “info license” to make them learn the rules of the road.

Aside from the fact that only the state can impose licensing requirements — cities can license bikes, but not riders — it’s an interesting, if muddled, unnecessary and ultimately unworkable idea.

……..

Local

Streetsblog reports on Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s snub of bicyclists as the City Council unanimously approved the city’s Call for Projects list. Meanwhile, Across LA asks who the real one-percenters are. And Richard Risemberg aptly describes Cedillo’s method of governing as a “tantrumocracy.”

The USC Bike Coalition unveils first bike repair station and pump on the traditionally bike-unfriendly campus.

UPS makes Burbank deliveries by bike.

Now that the San Gabriel Valley bike plan has been approved by all five cities involved, Monterey Park cyclists could see improvements as early as next spring.

Three Baldwin Park bike thieves are under arrest after the owner spots his stolen bike for sale on Craigslist.

 

State

An Irvine woman gets just a year in jail for intentionally running down an airport bike cop.

San Diego neighborhoods battle over plans to close an off-ramp to make room for a bike and pedestrian corridor, as local merchants fail to grasp that people on bikes spend money, too.

Paso Robles plans a L’Eroica Vintage Bicycle Event next April; participants are limited to riders on steel frame bikes built before 1987.

An Oklahoma man stops in Petaluma after riding 7,500 miles with his dog in support of animal shelters.

That’s a good problem to have, as a Bay Area Caltrain station struggles to keep up with demand for bike parking.

The civil trial begins in the case of a San Francisco bike rider killed in a collision with a 13 ton delivery truck. Police initially blamed the cyclist until the SF Bike Coalition found security camera footage that police hadn’t bothered to look for.

‘Tis the season, as a Turlock real estate agency donates 23 bikes for less fortunate children.

 

National

Requiring sideguards on large trucks could save the lives of countless cyclists and pedestrians.

People for Bikes looks at the nation’s 10 best protected bike lanes, including one right here in Temple City.

Biking pop star Katy Perry gets a custom painted ride.

DC bike riders are most likely to be white or Hispanic, and either wealthy or low income.

 

International

The ugly Christmas sweater fad spreads to bike jerseys. Although hideous might be a better word.

A heartbraking story from the UK, as a father is accused of killing his own bike riding son by passing too closely.

Unbelievable. An injured British cyclist is kept waiting over two hours before an ambulance finally arrived.

Good thing the peloton has been cleaned up. An Italian pro cyclist is caught using testosterone, despite serving an 18-month ban for doping. Meanwhile, banned cyclist Riccardo Riccò says it’s impossible to win a grand tour without doping; scary thing is, he may be right.

A Japanese cyclist is banned from riding his bike for 90 days after crashing while under the influence of quasi-legal drugs.

 

Finally…

Once again, a driver mistakenly assumes that gas taxes pay for the roads, let alone the bikeways on them, and blames scofflaw cyclists for breaking the law — unlike all those law abiding motorists. Bike riders are often turned away from drive-through widows; evidently, it helps if you use a gun and ask for the contents of the cash drawer.

And caught on video: Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas plays Jingle Bells using bike bells.

 

Guest Post: A view from the courtroom

It’s one of the more heartbreaking cases in recent history.

It was just two days before Christmas last year, when a young Australian man working in Chicago was flying back home for the holidays, leaving his girlfriend of five years behind. Faced with an extended layover at LAX, James Rapley decided to rent a bike on a sunny Sunday morning for a ride along the beach.

He never made his flight home.

Rapley was riding in the uphill bike lane on Temescal Canyon Blvd when he was run down from behind by another young man, who was allegedly under the influence at 9 am, and reportedly admitted to texting behind the wheel when he drifted into the bike lane, taking the Aussie’s life in an instant.

I’ve often wondered what James Rapley’s thoughts were in those last few moments as his life drifted away. Whether he thought of the woman he loved, or the family he would never see again.

Or just wondered why.

Mohammed Kadri, the driver who took his life, was recently charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Our anonymous South Bay correspondent volunteered to be in the courtroom for Kadri’s Preliminary Setting on Thursday. Here’s her report.

……..

This morning, Mohammed Kadri was actually present in court. I didn’t see anyone in the tiny courtroom who looks 20 years old, because Kadri is kind of hirsute, so he looks older; the kid probably has a 5 o’clock shadow by noon. He’s not very tall, but his suit fit well, and posture is good and it indicated that he understands the gravity of his situation.

The Deputy DA assigned to the case requested a continuance. The judge asked a little impatiently why they shouldn’t proceed today. The prosecutor stated that she needs time to speak with the victim’s family. (Because what better time than the holidays?!?) The next court date is Friday, January 16th.

Incidentally, the prosecutor is Danette Meyers. She’ll prosecute viciously. The victim impact statements will be absolutely integral to the case, though. Even if the family can only provide written statements.

From the glass elevators at the courthouse, you can see planes coming in to LAX. I looked at those tubes of tin and thought of all the souls on board. James had flown into LAX a day early because he was worried that bad weather would delay his flight home to Australia. I wondered if any of today’s arrivals had chosen an early flight for the same reason, to play it safe so they can get home to their families for the holidays. And then I prayed every single one of them will be on their connecting flights. Because James Rapley never got the chance.

Just as an aside, and I could be wrong, but… In the hallway outside the courtroom, an older guy intercepted Kadri’s lawyer as we (me & the guy who turned out to be the lawyer) reached for the courtroom door at just about the same moment. This older guy may be a relative. Right after Kadri’s appearance, I went into the hallway to type some quick notes on my laptop. This same older guy walked by, very clearly looking down at the screen. I scowled at him and he pivoted away. I think he noticed the LACBC sticker on the front and suspects I’m some agent of theirs. Well, let the defense worry that so many eyes are on them.

I’d love to see Kadri quake beneath the gaze of an angry guardian angel the size of the Bike Coalition.

The Airport courthouse has no bike parking, but the security at the garage entrance suggested locking up to the handicap parking sign. The courthouse is conveniently nestled in the armpit of the 105/405 interchange, and miserable to reach by any way but car. If you look at Google Maps, it’s right there by the Green Line station, but you can’t access it by 116th street (unless you scale two chain link fences, and people clearly do this.) Nope, you have to go down to 120th and head back north. If you’re on a bike on 120th & La Cienega, it’s terrifying to wait in the eastbound left turn lane (whose sensor doesn’t register bikes), because the westbound traffic shooting out from the freeway underpass seems to be COMING RIGHT AT YOU thanks to the wacky angle at the intersection. By the time that oncoming wall of FedEx truck zoomed at me like Jaws, my heart rate was about 160. It’s not much lower right now, what with the rage about how we practically require vehicular manslaughter defendants to arrive at the courthouse by automobile.

……..

After I got her report, I emailed a member of Rapley’s family in Australia to let them know about the January 16th court date.

The response I received broke my heart.

The next court date will be just days after the one year anniversary of his funeral. And six years to the day that he’d been with his girlfriend. 

……..

The ghost bike for James Rapley is still there, 355 days later.

Maybe you’ve seen it at the corner of Temescal and PCH, and wondered who it was for, or stopped to read the inscription.

It’s been maintained all this time by a grieving father from Oxnard, whose own six-year old son was killed while riding his bike. Since then, Anthony Novarro has dedicated his life to remembering other bike riding sons and daughters who have lost theirs.

He stops by every few weeks to clean the site, and remember a young man none of us ever knew.

But all ghost bikes are removed or stolen sooner or later; it’s unusual that one lasts this long.

There’s a discussion currently underway to make the memorial permanent by installing a bike rack in the shape of a bicycle in Rapley’s honor.

So far it hasn’t gotten past the discussion stage.

But its another reminder that James Rapley hasn’t been forgotten in the City of Angels, even if he died a stranger to us all.

……..

Something else that hasn’t gotten past the discussion stage yet is a proposal to build the city’s first parking-protected bike lane on that uphill side of Temescal Canyon where Rapley lost his life.

Such protected bikeways were just approved by the state legislature earlier this year, and signed into law by Governor Brown. This would be the ideal location for one, with no conflicting intersections or cross traffic for nearly mile from PCH to Palisades High School.

Whether it would have saved Rapley’s life at that early hour is impossible to say; there may not have been enough beachgoers parking their cars to form a protective barrier so early on a winter weekend.

But it might help prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

And if there’s a better way to honor someone who needlessly lost his life in the few short hours he spent in our city, I don’t know what that would be.

……..

Update: A comment below from Jeffrey reminds us that a memorial fund in Rapley’s name has raised over $15,000 for Australia’s Amy Gillett Foundation to improve bike safety, with a goal of eliminating bicycling deaths. And it tells his all-too-brief life story, letting us know just who this man we never knew was.

More impressively, his family donated his life insurance and joined with friends to contribute over $250,000 to establish a scholarship at Whitley College for a Rural Student studying either Engineering or Science at Melbourne University.

But more funds are needed to increase the amount of the annual award, and help make a difference in the world that James Rapley never got the chance to make.

 

Morning Links: 16-year old killer of randonneur Matthew O’Neil gets off with barely a slap on the wrist

Evidently, life is cheap in Santa Maria.

Or maybe just when you’re the son of a former Lt. Governor.

The 16-year old son of Abel Maldonado, who was diving the truck that killed popular randonneur Matthew O’Neill, gets off with a mild caress on the wrist in the form of restitution, community service and losing his license for a whole nine months.

Make that just 100 hours of community service.

O’Neill, on the other hand, received the death penalty for the crime of riding a bike. And the $75,000 in court ordered restitution isn’t going to bring him back, or fill the gaping holes in the hearts and lives of his family, friends and fiancé.

If this is justice, I don’t want to see the alternative.

……..

Local

KCET looks at the 110th anniversary of what may be LA’s most celebrated boulevard. And the one I chose as my all-time favorite ride in the City of Angeles.

Parenthood star Erika Christensen is engaged to be married to cyclist Cole Maness; they reportedly met at a bike event.

Streetsblog offers a busy week of livable streets events.

 

State

A new petition calls for a stop to plans for a bike and pedestrian toll on the Golden Gate bridge.

CSU Bakersfield invites students to try out the new campus bike rental program for free in January.

Do we really need to explain that the new three-foot passing law does not require cyclists to stay three feet from cars? Evidently, yes, we do.

Even Hollister, famously invaded by motorcycle riding Marlon Brando in the Wild One, is getting bike lanes.

 

National

Smart idea, as Sugoi makes highly reflective new bike jackets by weaving glass beads into the fabric.

Smart bikes are nothing new. Take this one from 1992, for instance.

The seemingly interminable debate over whether bike lanes gentrify neighborhoods goes on, as if no one ever rides bikes in lower income areas.

I somehow missed this last month, as bike lawyer Bob Mionske offers advice on how to deal with overly aggressive drivers. I’ve learned the hard way to simply pull aside and let jerks pass; taking a photo of an angry driver will also often help diffuse a confrontation.

Honolulu is getting its first protected bike lane; surprisingly, the city has the nation’s ninth highest rate of bike commuting.

Drivers ignore new buffered bike lanes in Louisville KY. So naturally, the local TV station blames scofflaw cyclists.

Men’s Journal says the lesson to be learned from Bono’s broken arm is that parks and other mixed-use urban spaces — like the Santa Monica/Venice bike path — are among the most dangerous places to ride.

Solange Knowles and new husband show a little bike love, riding matching white bikes to their New Orleans wedding. Although I can’t say it’s a good omen to start a marriage on a ghost bike.

 

International

Advice from the UK on how to ride faster up short, steep hills. Or just ride faster, period.

Cycling Weekly offers up five classic Brit bike videos from the British Pathé newsreel archives.

A British road safety week campaign falls flat amid accusations of victim blaming.

Lesson #1: Don’t try to steal a bike from an Irish cyclocross rider.

Delivering HIV medications by bicycle in Cape Town.

Actually, that new Aussie 3D printed titanium bike isn’t; only the lugs are.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: A Toronto man smashes the window of a local bike shop with his head for no apparent reason, then simply walks away. When you’re riding a bike with a live python in your backpack, it’s only polite to tell the cop who stops you before he searches it.

And when you’re carrying a crack pipe, two drug needles and a pill box in your pocket, it’s probably not the best idea to block access to an ATM while riding a bike in your bra.

Especially if you’re a man.

 

%d bloggers like this: