Tag Archive for Donald Murphy

Izquieta pleads guilty in OC drugged hit-and-run death; Jay Slater elected chair of BAC

Riverside resident Patricia Ann Izquieta has pleaded guilty in the 2009 death of cyclist Donald Murphy in Newport Beach.

According to KPCC 89.3 – which describes Izquieta as “drug-addled” at the time of the collision — she changed her initial not-guilty plea to admit to charges of felony hit-and-run with death or permanent injury, felony manslaughter while intoxicated and misdemeanor driving without a valid license.

And for that, she is expected to receive a whopping three years in prison — despite being under the influence of several prescription medications at the time of the collision.

On the other hand, Murphy, who spent much of his spare time working with recovering addicts in halfway houses, received the death penalty for the crime of riding a bike on a public street.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad there was a conviction in this case, and that justice was done.

But sometimes justice stinks.

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In a surprising move, Jay Slater is elected Chair of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee by a one-vote margin after calling for better outreach to LADOT, the mayor and City Council committee heads; former Chair Glenn Bailey is unanimously elected Vice Chair.

Glenn has done a great job as Chair over the last few years, raising the profile of the BAC and helping restore it to it’s legitimate place as the leading voice for cyclists in L.A. government. Regardless of last night’s vote, he deserves the thanks of the city’s cyclists for a job well done; if you’ve noticed improvement in how we’re treated on the streets and in City Hall, he deserves a lot of the credit.

And congratulations to Jay Slater, who is well-respected in L.A. cycling circles and well-connected to city leadership. Here’s hoping he can build on Glenn’s work and take the BAC to the next level.

I know, like and respect both men. If they can work well together as leaders of the BAC, it should be an unstoppable combination.

Thanks to Christopher Kidd for live tweeting the meeting. Meanwhile, Chris also reports on last week’s meeting of the BAC Bikeways Subcommittee.

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People for Bikes urges everyone to help double their membership by inviting a friend to take the pledge. So I’m asking you. If you haven’t signed up yet, take 30 seconds to do it right now; you could win a free Timbuk2 messenger bag.

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America’s rising bike hero puts his first pro year on hold as Taylor Phinney pulls out of the Tour of Qatar due to tendonitis in his knee. I’ve had the privilege of riding with both his parents — not that they’d remember it — and word is that he’s better than both onboard a bike, which is saying something. And he seems to be a genuinely nice guy, which appears to run in the family.

Meanwhile, Floyd “I was lying then but seriously, I’m telling the truth now” Landis says he had to choose between cheating by doping and being cheated by dopers; the Amgen Tour of California says not on our watch. Alexandre Vinokourov says this will be his last year as a pro cyclist. And Aussie cyclist Jack Bobridge breaks Chris Boardman’s 15-year old world record in the 4 kilometer individual pursuit.

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A DC area writer says cyclists will follow the rules when the rules make more sense. Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magos responds that cyclists need to follow the rules and obey the traffic laws we have now.

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The L.A. City Council decides not to decide on a proposal for bus and bike-only lanes on Wilshire Blvd. Car-less Valley Girl offers great advice on what not to do when you ride a bike and why; seriously, read it already. REI Santa Monica is hosting a presentation on cycling California’s central coast by the extremely nice and knowledgeable Meghan Kavanagh. Joe Anthony of Bike Commute News writes a great piece on the history and importance of the Save A Cyclist campaign; it’s definitely worth reading — and not just because he quotes me. Good daily news report from L.A.’s 2nd Council District. I spent most of yesterday on Tuesday’s ride from the Ballona Creek outlet to L.A. City Hall hosted by Jared Blumenfield, West Coast Administrator for the EPA. The Valley Bikery celebrated the Grand Opening of their new storefront, with coverage by CicLAvia and Streetsblog’s Damien Newton. Speaking of CicLAvia, mark your calendar for April 11, July 10 and October 9. More on NIMBYist opposition to the proposed extension of the beachfront bike path in Venice, as well as a surprising supporter. Tim Robbins rides a bike in Santa Monica. Long Beach hosts a workshop on the city’s bike master plan Wednesday night, part of a series of upcoming meetings. The city also begins construction on separated bike lanes downtown; thanks to Frank Peters for the heads-up. The Claremont Cyclist examines differences in helmet use between lycra and denim clad riders.

San Diego-area Representative Duncan Hunter, recent recipient of his similarly named father’s hereditary seat, says getting San Diegans out of their cars is not feasible; way to think small, Congressman. Just Another Cyclist says California’s Mandatory Use Law really isn’t. Do SF cyclists consider new center lane sharrows too dangerous to use? A bicycling widow campaigns for safer roads for cyclists a year after his death.

Elly Blue says don’t be afraid to ride a bike, be afraid of what could happen if you don’t. A new $16 tool could save your next bent rim. A University of Arizona student has her first bike commuting collision, with another cyclist no less. Chicago’s leading mayoral candidate is an avid cyclist and bike supporter. Boston Biker astutely tells motorists cyclists are not the ones slowing them down. A columnist for the Boston Globe says if a little less car space is the price we have to pay to see women, children and the elderly pedaling the city’s streets, it’s worth it; thanks again to Frank Peters. John McCain — who I used to admire — has gone from maverick to whack job, insisting that not one federal dime be spend for bike parking at airports; God forbid some crazy person might actually want to ride to one instead of spending hours in backed-up traffic.

A Bahamian cyclist is murdered as witnesses report seeing a driver chase and intentionally run him down. No European-style strict liability for English cyclists; more on that topic soon. The BBC notes the rise of bike helmet cams; here’s a quick overview of some of the leading options. Town Mouse reports on the new Cycling Embassy of Great Britain after failing to get her Boris Bike account to work. Northern Ireland’s Assembly votes to reduce the rate of cycling in the province by requiring mandatory helmet use for all riders. In Copenhagen, parents are afraid to let their children ride because of speeding cyclists. Storming the beaches of Normandy by bike. The number one reason New Zealand is so shit for cyclists — the author’s words, not mine; personally, I think the #1 reason more people don’t ride is because we’re usually treated like #2. Ghost bikes may soon haunt Kiwi drivers; I’m a big supporter of ghost bikes, but what if we just didn’t kill any cyclists so they wouldn’t be necessary?

Finally, Cyclelicious points us towards this story about a new Jakarta bicycle track; maybe it’s just a bad translation, but I really, really like their promise to “sterilize the special track from other road users.” I don’t know what kind of disinfectant they use, but I want some.

Or I could just ride on the other side of the road. As long as it’s not this one.

Bike cases fill the dockets — Dr. Thompson was just the beginning

As Bob Mionske noted in the Times last week, the Thompson case does not represent a sea change for cyclists.

It was just one case, with unique circumstances. Like driver who admitted trying to “teach them a lesson.” A car with a unique, memorable license plate. And at least three other cyclists who could testify to similar incidents involving the same car, and the same driver.

Not to mention a police department that took it seriously — which isn’t always the case.

Unfortunately, it’s also just the tip of the iceberg.

As cyclist/attorney DJ Wheels pointed out recently, while Thompson got 5 years for intentionally injuring two cyclists, Alejandro Hidalgo got just two years for getting drunk and killing Jesus Castillo, then fleeing the scene.

Call me crazy, but on my balance sheet, Intoxication + Death + Running Away outweighs Intent + Injury. Even if it wasn’t the first time.

And that’s just the first of at least 10 other cases involving cyclists working their way through the investigative and legal process in the L.A. area.

Like Teri Hawkins, for instance.

She reportedly ran a stop sign before striking a cyclist, knocking him 30 feet through the air. The 40-year old Simi Valley resident turned herself in to the police 4 days after the hit-and-run collision that resulted in “major injuries” to the 26-year old rider, who has not been publicly identified.

After pleading no contest to hit-and-run with injury (CVC 2001a), her request for probation was denied and she was sentenced to 16 months in state prison last week, with credit for 76 days time served. Hawkins was also ordered to pay restitution, with a hearing scheduled for Tuesday in the San Fernando courthouse.

Wheels notes that turning herself in may have been a mitigating factor in the relatively low sentence — although it should be noted that her conscience seemed to kick in after her car had been located and impounded by the police.

Wheels also provided an update on the status of some of the other cases:

The preliminary setting for Robert Sam Sanchez — the driver accused of killing Rod Armas and seriously injuring his son Christian on PCH in Malibu last June — has been continued for the third time.

Sanchez was arrested shortly after fleeing the collision, which took place near the completion of the L.A. Wheelmen’s 200-mile Grand Tour Double Century. The preliminary setting, held prior to a preliminary hearing, is now scheduled for February 11 in the Malibu Courthouse. Sanchez has pled not guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (Section 191.5a of the California Penal Code) as well as driving under the influence (CVC 23152a) and failure to stop after an accident involving an injury (CVC 20001a).

Rod’s sister-in-law reported last summer that Christian was doing well physically, though making it clear that the family was struggling with his loss. And an acquaintance of Sanchez noted that he was not a bad person, despite a drunken decision to get behind the wheel that has forever changed two families.

Mark Antonio Valencia was high on drugs and alcohol when he mowed down five cyclists in Santa Clarita on the morning of July 11, killing Joseph Novotny and seriously injuring two others. Valencia, who was driving his sister’s car without a license after two prior DUI convictions — as well as multiple arrests for drug and alcohol possession, selling tear gas and obstructing officers — had already been reported to authorities before the collision; unfortunately, sheriff’s deputies couldn’t catch up to him in time.

DJ Wheels reports that Valencia is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in the San Fernando courthouse on January 22. Valencia is still being held on $1.3 million bail, charged with 13 criminal counts including murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run and several DUI charges.

In a very personal case, the driver who threatened a group of cyclists, resulting in injuries to Wheel’s new wife, will be arraigned on January 26.

On January 28, the driver accused of injuring local cycling advocate Roadblock in a hit-and-run collision is scheduled for a pretrial hearing.

A February 3 hearing has been scheduled for four men charged with attempting to rob a female cyclist by striking her in the face with a baseball bat.

Meanwhile, the investigation continues into the hit-and-run that sent community leader Ed Magos to the hospital on January 6. Despite driving off and leaving another human splayed on the pavement unable to move, the driver was not arrested when she turned herself in later; no charges have yet been filed.

No word yet on the status of Patricia Ann Izquieta, who was arrested for the hit-and-run death of Donald Murphy in Irvine last month. Or whether any charges will be filed in the death of Gustavo Ramirez in Long Beach on the 5th. It doesn’t sound likely, though, since initial police statements seemed to blame Ramirez; the Press-Telegram reports on last weekend’s ride in his honor.

And there’s still no word of an arrest in the hit-and-run death of Robert Painter, the cyclist killed while riding in a crosswalk in North Hollywood last month. Fittingly, the driver is likely to face murder charges once an arrest is made.

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Controversy over plans for a bikeway near JPL. Travelin’ Local maps L.A. by bike. A North County San Diego paper questions whether current criminal penalties are strong enough when cars hit bikes; a drunk cyclist unwittingly volunteers as a test case. Another rider is killed in the nation’s most deadly state for cycling; Transit Miami examines why it happened there. Austin’s planned bike boulevard hits some bumps. Anchorage holds a very frosty bike race. A Colorado town revives the legendary Morgul Bismark stage from the Red Zinger/Coors Classics. German pro Matthias Kessler suffered a serious brain injury after a cat runs in front of his bike. London residents question traffic calming and bikeway plans. Lance has won seven tours; World Champ Cadel Evans says he’s only lost five.  Bikeways to the sailing venues for the 2012 Olympics could use some improvement. Scotland awards over $1.2 million to promote cycling in Edinburgh. The UK promotes child cycling through the new Bike Club. An Indian Nobel Laureate and confirmed cyclist says cars set a bad example, while a Danish politician says bikes are the obvious solution. Finally, the Trickster did indeed say it first — Michael Vink is a rising rider to keep an eye on.

And a woman walks into a bike shop

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