Tag Archive for admission of guilt

Fugitive driver cops plea for 7 years in 2017 hit-and-run, and drugged driver busted in Moorpark hit-and-run

Seven years.

That’s the sentence Andrea Dorothy Chan got after finally pleading guilty to the 2017 hit-and-run death of Agustin Rodriguez as he rode his bike in Whittier.

Chan had to be extradited from Australia to face charges after originally fleeing to Hong Kong, and having her badly damaged car repaired and stored in Idaho in an attempted coverup.

Rodriguez died at the scene after he was dragged 600 feet — the length of two city blocks — underneath Chan’s car.

Seven years isn’t anywhere near enough for a cruel and heartless crime like that. Especially since she’ll likely do less than half of that before being released.

But it’s the max she could get under California’s weak hit-and-run laws.

So it will have to do.

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A 38-year old Palm Springs man was busted for an allegedly drugged hit-and-run that left a Moorpark bike rider hospitalized with minor injuries.

Marco Martinez was being held in Ventura County jail on suspicion of felony hit and run, and DUI, as well as possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Although the unnamed victim may have been more seriously injured than the story suggests, since minor injuries would only merit a misdemeanor hit-and-run charge under California’s weak hit-and-run laws.

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If you’ve never had the chance to meet, or at least listen to, CicLAvia’s Tafarai Bayne, you’re missing out on one of Southern California’s leading voices for bicycle and social equity.

So don’t miss this one.

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A SoCal startup is promising a new 33 pound ped-assist ebike capable of doing 33 mph, with a 33-mile range. Although the price is a tad more than $33.

However, a bike that fast exceeds California standards, which max out at 28 mph for a ped-assist bike.

And even that requires a driver’s license, license plate and a motorcycle helmet, and can’t legally be ridden on bike paths or in bike lanes.

Meanwhile, ebike prices are going up as manufacturers are being squeezed by higher costs.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

A pair of Scottish bike riders were assaulted by three men for no apparent reason, when they stopped to fix one of their bikes on a footbridge; one of the men was injured badly enough to require medical treatment.

Sometimes it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

One of America’s most wanted men is one of us. US Marshals believe Lester Eubanks, aka Victor Young, may still be living in Los Angeles nearly 50 years after the convicted child killer escaped from an Ohio penitentiary; his ex-boss says he rode his bike to work every day when he worked at a Gardena waterbed factory.

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Local

Pez Cycling News talks with LA’s Phil Gaimon, whose cycling career has flourished after he retired from the pro tour. Which is usually not the way it works.

 

State

Here’s your chance to run the California branch of the Sierra Club, as the not-always bike and urbanist-friendly organization looks for a new director.

Bakersfield is considering giving the green light to ebike riders on the city’s bike paths.

San Luis Obispo County unveils plans for an $18 million, 4.5-mile extension of the Bob Jones City-to-Sea Bike Trail.

A Palo Alto bike rider says yes, distracted drivers deserve to get tickets, like the one who ran him down by jumping on the green light before he could get across an intersection.

Nearly 50 Sonoma County residents are suing the SMART rail authority for allegedly building bike and walking trails through their properties without permission.

They get it. A new regional transportation plan for the Lake Tahoe area says the region can’t build its way out of mounting gridlock by building more roads, calling for improved public transportation and building more bike paths. Now they just need to find a spare $1 billion under the cushions.

 

National

Transportation advocates and organizations, including NACTO and the League of America of American Bicyclists, are calling for a rewrite of the auto-centric Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices; the head of the signals committee for the MUTCD’s parent organization bizarrely calls the campaign an example of “cancel culture.”

Heavy rates the 15 best balance bikes for the toddler in your life.

No bias here. If an Arizona bike rider can simply fall over and get run over by the rear wheels of a passing semi, the truck driver was too damn too close. Which is probably why the poor guy on the bike fell over in the first place.

Unbelievable. A Kansas woman with a long criminal record faces a murder charge for allegedly running down a man who was riding a bike across an intersection — then reportedly getting out of her van to shoot him while he lay in the road.

Sioux City, Iowa bike riders celebrate the city’s first bike lane, which opened just six months ago. Welcome to the 20th Century.

Life is really cheap in Milwaukee, where a killer driver walked with two years probation for taking the life of a man riding his bike — while driving with a suspended license, no less. What the hell is wrong with the judge and prosecutor when they can’t even manage a slap on the wrist for someone who wasn’t even supposed to be on the damn road in the first place?

More on the Montauk NY woman who faces up to 25 years behind bars after pleading guilty to running down a man riding his bike home from work, while she was drunk and speeding at nearly twice the legal limit, with coke in her system.

A Florida TV station showed an incredible lack of basic human decency by posting security cam video of a bike rider getting run over a driver, which left the victim severely injured. I’m only linking to this to condemn the station for showing the full video without editing or blurring out the crash. I can’t recommend watching the video because you can’t unsee it; I wish I hadn’t. And I can only imagine the pain it will cause friends and family members of the victim.

 

International

A new book from record-setting endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont promises to teach you how to ride further than your current limits, whether that means a half century or riding around the world.

The Men in Kilts are one, uh, two of us, as they bike the Scottish Highlands in their latest episode. No word on whether they had to use a penny to keep their skirts down

Life is cheap in the UK, where a killer driver walked without a single day behind bars for killing a 17-year old boy as he was riding his bike; the driver told police he hit a deer.

A 94-year old British man also walked without a day in jail for killing a bike rider, the only punishment was a four year driving ban, and having to retake the test to get his license back when he’s 98.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 100-year old English veteran of World War II has been raising funds for charity by riding his exercise bike 15 minutes every day. Even if he is doing his riding inside.

The capitol of India’s Jharkhand state is encouraging residents to go carfree every Saturday to reduce air pollution.

A new study shows a program in India’s Bengaluru state to give students new bicycles led to improvements in enrollment, retention of students and academic performance.

Cycling Weekly tells the tale of Josh Reid — son of British bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid — who picked up his new bike off the Chinese production line and rode it 9,300 miles home to the UK, relying on strangers along the way.

A rear-view camera captures an Aussie bicyclist getting rear-ended by a distracted driver; you can actually see the cell phone she’s holding.

 

Competitive Cycling

Next year’s Tour de France will kick off with two stages in Bilbao, Spain. Which is not the Spanish name for the main character in the Hobbit.

The entire board of cycling’s drug testing agency resigned en masse in anticipation of a transfer of responsibility to the independent International Testing Agency, which controls drug testing for over 40 other organizations worldwide.

Two-thirds of the Bora-Hansgrohe team was quarantined when British cyclist Matt Walls was diagnosed with Covid-19, meaning the team will miss out on both the Ghent-Wevelgem and Dwars door Vlaanderen one-day classics; needless to say, the team manager was not pleased.

Powerhouse British cycling team Ineos-Grenadiers swept the podium at the week-long Tour of Catalunya stage race, with Adam Yates finishing ahead of teammates Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas.

Cycling Tips remembers Belgian pro Antoine Demoitié five years after he was killed in a collision with a motorbike rider, just six months after he married a woman he’d known since they were both 14.

VeloNews talks with Belgian cycling legend Freddy Maertens, who they call the greatest classics rider who never won one of the Monuments.

A writer for Road.cc explains why he decided to pull out of Europe’s Transcontinental race. Although it sound like he’s still trying to convince himself.

Pugilistic French pro Nacer Bouhanni was DQ’d in Sunday’s one-day Cholet-Pays de la Loire classic after bodychecking another cyclist during the final sprint; Italian Elia Viviani won the race.

 

Finally…

This track cycling ebike prototype may be thrilling, but a commuter bike it ain’t.

And that feeling when you get knocked off your bike by a passing UFO.

Even if the bike in question was a motorbike.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

Why Attorneys Tell You To Never Admit Guilt

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

Pocrass Photo 6-15

Immediately after any type of motor vehicle “accident” (bicycle, pedestrian, motorcycle, car), most people have two reactions: 1.) to blame the other person or 2.) to say “I’m sorry; it was my fault.” As a personal injury lawyer, I counsel people to NEVER admit guilt after a crash of any type. Whether you are or are not liable, I guarantee such a statement will come back to bite you in ways you never expected.

The most important reason for not admitting guilt, which is, in legal terms, admitting liability, is because you probably don’t really know the cause of the collision.

Example: We recently had a client who was in a Santa Monica bicycle collision. He came up to a four-way stop and rolled slowly through it, getting halfway through intersection. Meanwhile, an 80-something-year-old woman drove up to the intersection, stopped, and went, hitting our client in the intersection.

During the deposition, the woman insisted that she never saw anyone or anything in the intersection. (I admit, I laughed inside at the insurance company lawyer’s expression.) The insurance company settled for a five-figure settlement.

This was an unusual situation, but the point is, you really don’t know exactly what the complete cause of your bike collision is, and, therefore, who is liable. Yes, you might be partially liable if you do not follow the rules of the road, but there may be extenuating circumstances that contributed to the collision. These could be:

  • Road Design: the road or signage was not designed well, maintained, in disrepair, or missing.
  • Product Liability: your bike or the other vehicle could have defective parts or been repaired, maintained, or manufactured incorrectly.
  • Other Driver: also might not be following the rules of the road.

If any of these conditions exist, your case — even if you are partially liable for the collision — could allow me as your bike lawyer to argue for comparative liability.

California recognizes comparative liability, which states that each party might hold some responsibility for the collision. If your case were to go to trial, the judge or jury decides IF each party is liable for the collision and, if so, what percentage of liability each party is responsible for.

Consider this hypothetical situation: You are riding your bike at night. You have no lights on your bike. As you ride past a parked car, the driver opens his door and you are “doored.” You suffer serious personal injuries and your bike is trashed. The case goes to a jury trial.

The jury decides that because you were riding at night without lights — clearly against the law — you are partially liable for the collision. They may determine that you are 10% responsible and the driver is 90% liable. In that situation, if they awarded you a $100,000 verdict, you would receive $90,000 from the driver’s insurance company rather than the full $100,000.

Once you have admitted guilt at the scene (or in follow up conversations with the other driver’s insurance company), it becomes more difficult for your attorney to argue comparative negligence. It also means that it is more likely that the insurance company will either refuse to settle or low-ball its offer.

Trials are always more expensive in cost and in time than settlements, so if a fair settlement is possible, that is the more desirable route. (Of course you wouldn’t say THAT to an insurance company either because if it thinks you’re not prepared to go to trial you’re back to them either refusing to settle or low-balling their offer. It’s all a chess game with serious consequences for you.)

I have a friend who is a criminal attorney. He once told me the most difficult part of his job is trying to undo what his clients have told the police. As a civil attorney, I understand. It is very difficult to “unring a bell.” So, please, don’t admit liability or guilt. Let us sort that out later.

 

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

 

 

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