Tag Archive for drunk driving

Infrastructure bill could cut drunk driving, but keeps US on unsustainable path; and road raging driver hits man on 3rd try

Debate continues over the pros and cons of the new infrastructure bill, which passed the US Senate on Monday with rare bipartisan support.

One big plus was highlighted by the anti-drunk driving advocacy group MADD, which points to provisions that could finally put an end to the deadly scourge.

Or at least put a big dent in it.

The bill directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to initiate a rulemaking process and set the final standard within three years for impaired driving safety equipment on all new vehicles. NHTSA will evaluate technologies that may include:

  • Driving performance monitoring systems that monitor the vehicle movement with systems like lane departure warning and attention assist;
  • Driver monitoring systems that monitor the driver’s head and eyes, typically using a camera or other sensors;
  • Alcohol detection systems that use sensors to determine whether a driver is drunk and then prevent the vehicle from moving.

Automakers are then given two to three years to implement the safety standard. New cars equipped with the NHTSA-directed technology could start rolling off the assembly line in 2026-2027.

So now that Congress has proven they can actually work together, maybe they can do something about distracted driving, too.

On the other hand, the National Association of City Transportation Officials, better known as NACTO, is no fan of the measure.

Even as the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that our planet is heading toward an increasingly uninhabitable future, the infrastructure bill passed today by the Senate keeps our nation on an unsafe and unsustainable path. It continues to prioritize building the infrastructure that most contributes to the U.S.’s worst-in-class safety record and extraordinarily high climate emissions: new highways. With transportation as the largest source of U.S. climate emissions, and 80% of those coming from driving, the Senate’s bill goes in the wrong direction, giving a whopping $200 billion in virtually unrestricted funding to this unsustainable mode.

With the bill moving to the House for consideration, there is still a narrow opportunity to rectify the worst aspects of this enormous legislation, reshaping it to address the looming threat of climate change and stem the unconscionable level of death and injuries on American roads, which are the least-safe of all industrialized countries. We urge House leaders to meet this moment and use their leverage to fix what’s painfully wrong with the bill to meet the scale of the climate emergency the world is facing today.

They recommend a series of simple fixes first proposed in the bill that passed the House earlier this year, including a requirement to fix existing roadways before building new ones, and investing more in transit.

Maybe they could also include more funding for non-motorized transportation while they’re at it.

Photo by energepic.com from Pexels.

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This is who we share the road with.

Apparently, it’s not just people on bicycles at risk from hot tempered drivers, as a road-raging Oakland driver tried three times to run down another man who had the audacity to ask him to slow down.

For anyone unclear on the concept, that’s attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, at a bare minimum.

Let’s just hope the local DA takes it seriously.

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A new ad from Dutch ebike maker VanMoof suggests a way out of the ever worsening traffic congestion in our cities.

And you can probably guess what that is.

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

Evidently, we’re not safe anywhere. Portland bike riders are being warned to watch their backs on an offroad bike path, which is being used as an access road for drivers from a nearby homeless camp.

Then again, people evidently drive in protected cycle tracks in Hong Kong, too.

A Singapore bike rider slammed into a taxi that pulled out directly in front of him, in a crash caught on bike cam video. So naturally, people blamed the guy on two wheels.

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Local

Once again, the East Side Riders prove they’re much more than a bike club, providing 30 underprivileged kids in the Compton area with $100 for back-to-school shopping, along with a grocery shopping spree, laptop and a haircut. If anyone wants to know my choice to succeed Joe Buscaino in LA CD15, the list starts and ends with East Side Riders founder John Jones III. Thanks to Keith Johnson for the link. 

Metro has finished renovation work on the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station, which includes a full service Mobility Hub with safe bike parking.

 

State

San Diego-based Juiced Bikes has launched a new version of their Cross Current X Step-Through ebike, with an improved price tag reflecting a $500 drop from earlier versions.

A Bakersfield man suffered major injuries when he allegedly rode his bike through a red light, and was struck by a driver. As always, a lot depends on whether there were any independent witnesses other than the driver who saw him go through the light.

San Francisco Streetsblog argues that it’s lobbyists and elected officials marring the public process rather than bike and pedestrian activists, accusing representatives of the de Young museum of engaging in gaslighting in an attempt to “turn J.F.K. back into a de facto freeway through Golden Gate Park.”

Once again, bike riders are heroes, after mountain bikers were credited with reporting and attempting to extinguish last month’s Cascade Fire, helping to restrict the blaze to a few hundred acres; a former lecturer at Santa Clara University and Sonoma State University is suspected of setting a number of fires in the area, including the massive Dixie Fire. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

 

National

USA Today says American cities are failing to meet their climate goals, but there’s still time to turn things around. Does anyone really believe Los Angeles will meet its goal of a 45% reduction in greenhouse gasses in just four more years — especially without a major investment in reducing motor vehicle traffic?

A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows separation works, saying bike paths and protected bike lanes saved lives from speeding drivers during the pandemic, while suggesting last year’s jump in bike deaths would have been even worse without them.

Tern’s commitment to plow 1% of their sales back into social and environmental causes resulted in splitting $45,000 between World Bicycle Relief, PeopleForBikes, and Trips for Kids. Now if every bike and accessory maker would do that, we might make some real progress for a change.

That one-of-a-kind Harley-Davidson chopper ebike styled after the classic Schwinn Apple Krate could have been yours for a mere $14,200.

Bicycling declares the once ubiquitous aluminum frame road bikes with mechanical shifting and rim brakes officially dead. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

Evidently, a “miscellaneous accident” is a thing in Hawaii.

A Portland writer celebrates biking with dogs in tow, including her own Dalmatian.

Rapidly rising Covid counts in my Colorado hometown, driven by the virulent Delta variant, has led to cancellation of the original Tour de Fat celebration, which was apparently the only one scheduled in the US this year.

A Denver magazine offers tips on how to power up hills like Colorado’s Sepp Kuss, the first American to win a stage in the Tour de France in over a decade.

A Colorado man confesses that he used bikepacking to escape from depression and anxiety, but let it turn into a tool for his own self-destruction. Once again, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

A Kansas woman faces a second-degree murder count for the hit-and-run death of a bike-riding 16-year old girl over the weekend; she’s also charged with DUI, hit-and-run and tampering with evidence.

An unused bikeshare dock on a New Orleans street was turned into a guerrilla artwork to protest the death of a Black man at the hands of Louisiana State police, in what some see as a prequel the murder of George Floyd.

 

International

An Edmonton, Alberta cop is on trial for assaulting a member of the Cree First Nation by needlessly driving his knee into the man’s back while he was already restrained by another officer, in what began as a simple traffic stop for not having a bike bell. One more argument for eliminating bike bell laws and other similar requirements, which are too often used as an excuse to target people of color.

A Toronto bike rider thanks the strangers who rushed to help him when he was struck by a driver pulling out of an alley.

London’s Independent looks at the city’s edition of Black Girls Do Bike, part of a loosely affiliated international organization dedicated to breaking down barriers that keep Black women from bicycling.

A British TV host credits her helmet with saving her skull when she was struck by a driver in the UK equivalent of a right hook. But instead of blaming the driver, her husband got rid of her bicycle.

You’ve got to be kidding. After BBC broadcaster Jeremy Vine posted a video of bicyclists riding side-by-side to argue that it’s safer and less inconvenient to drivers if bicyclists ride abreast, the founder of a motorist rights group called him a “cycling zealot” and accused Vine of breaking the Beeb’s rules by “politicizing” the roadways. Then again, “motorist rights group” pretty much tells you everything you need to know about him.

 

Competitive Cycling

Twenty-three-year old Portuguese cyclist João Almeida made a late attack to take a slim lead on day two of the Tour of Poland.

New Zealand Olympic cyclist Eddie Dawkins called for accountability from the country’s cycling and sports authorities after the suspected suicide of fellow Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore, who died suddenly at just 24 years old.

Tragic news from New Hampshire, where a 33-year-old Rhode Island scientist was killed when he suddenly veered off the course of the Concord Criterium; Evan Barr-Beare had a 45-second lead on the rest of the peloton in the final lap when he apparently suffered some sort of medical emergency and lost control of his bike.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be a life-size Hot Wheels. If you’re going to risk up to 20 years behind bars for knocking a man off his bicycle, at least make sure he’s got more than five bucks on him.

And seriously, don’t tempt fate by parking in a bike lane.

Thanks to Ted Faber for forwarding the video.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Why people keep dying on our streets, learn about coming changes to Ballona Creek Trail, and UK’s BoJo gets it

You’ve got to be kidding.

In a truly astounding case of authorities keeping a dangerous driver on the road, Louisiana officials finally arrested a repeat drunk driver after he missed not one, not two, but seven court dates.

Fifty-year old Jacob Paul Raffray faces charges for allegedly ramming his pickup into a family of five, breaking the grandmother’s hips and seriously burning a seven-year old boy who was trapped underneath the truck.

That came just four years after he was released for paralyzing a college baseball player in a drunken hit-and-run crash, following three previous DUI convictions.

And bizarrely, just two years after he was pardoned as a first-time offender, despite multiple parole violations.

Never mind his most recent arrest, for possessing meth and drug paraphernalia.

There’s no mention of his license being taken away, so presumably, he’s been allowed to continue to drive this whole time.

And we wonder why people keep dying on our streets.

Photo by energepic.com from Pexels.

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The Friends of the Ballona Wetlands invite you to learn more about the planned restoration of the wetlands, and how it will affect the popular Ballona Creek Trail.

WEBINAR: RE-ENVISIONING THE BALLONA CREEK TRAIL IN THE WETLANDS

An online presentation hosted by the Friends of Ballona Wetlands and Q&A with CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Monday, August 9, 2021, 5:00PM

Register at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2782870943479543820

The restoration plan for the Ballona Wetlands will create some significant modifications to the popular Ballona Creek Trail.  The webinar will describe:

  • What is planned for the wetlands restoration
  • What is planned for the Ballona Creek trail in the project area
  • What trail design details in the plan can still be influenced

Presentation by Neysa Frechette, Manager of Scientific Programs,  Friends of Ballona Wetlands

Q&A with Richard Brody, CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

View trail map on page 2-42 in the Draft EIR at: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=149710&inline

For more information, including the final EIR, see: https://wildlife.ca.gov/Regions/5/Ballona-EIR https://www.ballonafriends.org/restoring-ballona

 

 

 

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A Twitter thread from Megan Lynch decries the failure to replace bollards on the UC Davis campus that are intended to keep drivers off sidewalks and pathways.

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Britain’s bike-riding prime minister gets it.

At least when it comes to bicycles and transit.

Speaking of which, it’s really not a good look for a local councilor to stand in the street celebrating as a bike lane gets ripped out.

Particularly when his party supports them.

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

A pair of Wisconsin men face charges for yelling at a couple of people riding their bikes to get on the sidewalk, then coming back and smashing their bikes, and stealing the woman’s ID, keys and cash.

Irish bike riders question why on earth local authorities painted a parking space directly in front of the East Lothian Harbor Master’s office, blocking access to both it and the harbor’s only bike racks.

But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

Police in Culver City are looking for the bike-riding man who followed a 17-year old girl with his hand down his pants, then struck her in the head when she tried to get away.

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Local

Proving there is no highway project so bad Metro won’t back it, the country transit agency is dumping previously approved plans for a high-desert bikeway and high-speed rail corridor in favor of reviving the long-dead High Desert Freeway Project by widening nearby five-lane Highway SR-38 instead.

An East LA mother is demanding justice for her 14-year old son, who was seriously injured when he was knocked off his bike by a CHP officer who just drove off afterwards.

A 37-year old mountain biker had to be hoisted out of a remote area in Mandeville Canyon on Saturday after suffering traumatic injuries in a fall.

WeHoVille talks with Jason Bowers, general manger of Bikes and Hikes LA, which is offering a 20% locals discount for an LA-area bike tour.

Speaking of WeHoVille, the paper decries poorly parked scooters running amok in the city and terrorizing people on sidewalks. Hint: It’s not the scooters that are responsible for either of those problems.

A group of 15 firefighters left from Santa Monica on a cross-country bike trip to New York to raise awareness for firefighter-related cancers and mental health, intending to arrive in time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11; they were joined by ten riders who set out from Santa Clara Sunday morning.

 

State

Carlsbad has received a $1.77 million grant to build a 2.5-mile segment of the Coastal Rail Trail on Avenida Encinas and Carlsbad Boulevard, which will be matched by $5.2 million in local funds.

Del Mar has settled a lawsuit over the bicycling death of a sheriff’s detective for $3.5 million; 54-year old Brian Villa was killed when his bike hit a rut in the road during the 2017 Amtrak Century.

Over 200 people rode their bikes on Sunday to celebrate the opening of a 1.5-mile protected bike lane in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, with the mayor calling for the project to be replicated throughout the city; naturally, not everyone is happy about it, especially the loss of 420 parking spaces.

Survey says, Goleta residents want bikeshare.

A Petaluma public schools food service director — in other words, the guy who managed the district’s public schools cafeteria — marked his retirement by riding up Mt. Diablo with ten pounds of sugar on his bike, representing the amount kids could eat in a typical school year.

Once again, someone has been killed illegally riding a bike on a California freeway, when a man was killed riding salmon with no lights on an Oakland Interstate. The victim was reportedly homeless.

 

National

Tips on how to ride with your kids, from finding the right seat to applying plenty of sunscreen.

No surprise here. GeekWire staffers raced through Seattle’s rush hour traffic by foot, boat, bike, car and scooter. And it was the guy on an ebike who came it first.

A formerly homeless Kansas jail deputy won’t get to have to ride his bike 11-miles each way to work and back anymore, after a crowdfunding campaign raised enough to buy him another car after his broke down.

If you build it, they will come. A full three-quarters of Boston residents support building more protected bike lanes, as a case study shows bicycling “increased significantly” in the two years after one protected bike lane was installed.

A Facebook group has become a lifeline for Gotham bicycle delivery riders, working to keep them and their ebikes safe on New York’s streets and bridges.

 

International

Presenting the UK’s most popular mountain biking spots, for your next trip to the country that isn’t part of Europe anymore.

Seventy British bike riders completed a 280-mile ride into London in honor of late Member of Parliament Jo Cox, who was assassinated by a right wing radical five years ago.

An Indian paper says the bike boom is the silver lining in the pandemic.

Bike-riding Indonesian volunteers are delivering vital medicines during the country’s ongoing pandemic lockdown.

 

Competitive Cycling

American cyclist Connor Fields is slowly improving after a horrific crash during a BMX preliminary heat that put him in the ICU with a brain hemorrhage.

Two-time BMX racing world champion and Rio silver medallist Alise Willoughby didn’t have a much better day on the track, but at least she walked away from it.

Britain’s Charlotte Worthington went from Mexican chef to Olympic gold by performing a stunt no other woman has pulled off in BMX competition.

Bicycling explains the often confusing Olympic track cycling events. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

The sorry state of America’s velodromes doesn’t help the US team.

Cycling Weekly talks with rising Portuguese cyclists and twin brothers Rui and Ivo Oliveira to see if cycling success is in their identical genes.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be a million dollar, previously unobtainable Pokémon bicycle come to life. Bike to work or school so you can drink more milk — udders optional.

And evidently, it’s just a short trip from getting a slap on the wrist for killing a bike-riding tourist with your garbage truck to becoming a full-fledged enforcer for a Mexican drug cartel.

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Thanks again to Matthew R for his monthly donation to help keep this site coming your way every day; any donation, no matter how large or small, helps and is deeply appreciated. 

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Man killed in DUI crash while riding bike in Hawthorne Thursday night, blocks from last week’s hit-and-run crash

For the second time in a week, a bike rider has been struck by a driver on Rosecrans in Hawthorne.

But this time, the victim didn’t make it.

According to the Daily Breeze, the man, who has not been publicly identified, was run down by an alleged drunk driver around 11 Thursday night at Rosecrans and Chadron Aves — just five blocks from where a 14-year old boy was seriously injured in a hit-and-run crash last Friday.

He died at the scene.

The driver was apparently headed west on Rosecrans when she slammed into the victim, then crashed into a pair of parked cars, telling police she lost control after hitting “an unknown item in the roadway.”

An unknown item that turned out to be a man on a bicycle.

The driver suffered some sort of unspecified injury; police planned to arrest her once she was released from the hospital.

Unfortunately, there’s no other information available at this time.

This is at least the 49th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 12th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.

Morning Links: DA bargains away drunk driving charge against actor, and a Silver Lake bike theft in reverse

This is why people continue to die on our streets.

An actor on the Showtime series Ray Donovan walked with just three years probation and a six month license suspension after the LA District Attorney’s office bargained down his drunk driving and child endangerment charges.

Marion “Pooch” Hall was arrested in Burbank last year after crashing into a parked car with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit.

Yes, three times.

And with his two-year old son on his lap, no less.

In fact, witnesses reported the child was holding the wheel as Hall weaved in and out of traffic.

So Hall gets to keep his license. And in six months, he’ll be back on the streets. Hopefully sober this time.

But I wouldn’t count on it.

And next time, someone else could pay the price.

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Call it a reverse bike theft.

Someone broke into a Silver Lake studio while the owners were away, and instead of taking anything, just left a nice folding bike behind.

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Local

Just one week after Pasadena reconfigured the Rose Bowl ride and bicyclists warned someone would get hurt, that prophecy came true when a rider went over his handlebars after rolling over the base of a warning cone.

An 18-year old mountain biker was rescued from the hills above Altadena after he fell off his bike and attempted to hike out.

KCBS-2 catches up with the proposal from Hilda Solis’ to build more protected bike lanes in LA County.

Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies will conduct another bicycle and pedestrian safety operation on Monday. Usual protocol applies; ride to the letter of the law until you’re outside their jurisdiction so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

State

Del Mar has approved a one-year pilot bikeshare program; reading between the lines, it sounds like a mix of dockless bicycles and ebikes.

Santa Barbara will install reverse angled parking on Cabrillo Drive as part of a road diet to improve safety and make room for bike lanes in each direction.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever rode his bike up to a Turlock 7th grader and yelled racial slurs before flashing a knife at her.

San Francisco has responded to the demands of bicyclists for safer streets by announcing plans to extend the protected bike lanes on Howard Street to the waterfront, after a woman was killed riding on an unprotected section of the roadway.

Speaking of San Francisco, the city is considering plans to make more streets carfree to improve safety; plans are already underway to remove cars from iconic Market Street. Make a fist and count your fingers; that’s how many carfree streets you’ll find in Los Angeles.

Oakland bike riders are getting impatient with the city’s still unfulfilled plans to fix the streets, in part due to a number of vacancies in the city’s Department of Transportation.

The Sacramento Bee says two recent deaths in San Diego and Santa Monica show just how dangerous e-scooters are. But fails to mention that the Santa Monica victim was killed by a hit-and-run driver after falling off his scooter.

Sacramento residents are upset that someone who apparently doesn’t get the concept locked a pair of Jump dockless ebikes to a fire hydrant, and no one’s done anything about it. Seriously, the point of dockless bikeshare is that you don’t have to lock them up, you just leave them when you’re done — hopefully out of the way and not on the sidewalk. And never blocking a fire hydrant.

National

Gear Patrol says your brain should thank Trek for its new WaveCel bike helmets, designed to help prevent concussions as well as protect your skull.

If you have a Stromer ST5 ebike, it may be recalled due to a risk of the stem breaking.

Wyoming says yes to ebikes, adopting the same regulations pioneered by California.

Looks like it will stay against the law to ride a bike or a horse under the influence in North Dakota, after the state Senate killed a bill that would have changed that.

The Department of DIY is back, with permission this time. A Montana advocacy group installed its own temporary traffic circle to calm traffic, along with cameras to measure how effective it is.

New York bike advocates are calling for a temporary, weekend-only bike lane on the iconic Verrazano Bridge this summer. And say if it turns out a weekend-only bike lane causes too many problems, just make it permanent.

The New York Post says the city has hated bicycles for 200 years.

New York will install speed cameras around every public school in the city, after cameras previously installed at some schools cut speeding 60% and resulted in a 50% drop in fatalities. Yet another reminder that speed cameras save lives. And that they’re still illegal in California.

A Boston group is auctioning a $10,000 Boston Strong-themed bicycle commemorating the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing that was ridden in the 2015 Amgen Tour of California; the money will benefit a man suffering from ALS.

A Massachusetts town is “torn,” and “a town in crisis,” by a state proposal to install a rail-to-trail conversion. Seriously, if that’s the biggest problem they have, they should let go of each other’s throats and throw a party to count their blessings.

New Orleans officials travelled to Seville, Spain for ideas on how to improve bike infrastructure and safety in the Crescent City.

A New Orleans man will spend 33 years behind bars for a long string of crimes, including a half-dozen robberies and the hit-and-run death of a bike rider while driving a stolen car.

International

Now that’s what I call a beautiful ebike.

Horrifying case from the UK, where a 14-year old boy riding on a pathway with friends was beaten, kicked in the face and doused with beer — after the attackers stole his bike.

Bike riders formed a people protected bike lane in a British city.

No surprise here, as US bike companies are finding ways to work around Trump’s China tariffs.

Finally…

No, seriously. If you’re already wanted for kidnapping, robbery with a deadly weapon and accessory to a felony, don’t ride salmon. If you’re riding your bike with an outstanding warrant, nearly 7 grams of meth and a thousand bucks, put a damn light on it, already.

And if you’re carrying meth and drug paraphernalia on your bike, try not to get hit by the mayor.

Morning Links: LACBC responds to LA worst bike city nod, Englander bails, and who we share the roads with

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition offered a response yesterday to Los Angeles being named the worst bike city in America by Bicycling magazine.

Worst Bike City in America Another Mandate to Make LA’s Streets Safer

Reading Peter Flax’s article “Los Angeles is the worst bike city in America” is not a wake up call for LACBC, but we hope it serves as one for some of our leaders. For those that work, partner, and volunteer alongside us, we’re highly aware of the dangers of biking and walking in LA, and care deeply about making our streets safer for all road users. Since 1998, LACBC has steadily grown our advocacy and education efforts around safe streets, with a re-focused commitment to equity and inclusion for the most vulnerable road users over the past three years. And while Los Angeles has seen some progress over our two decade history, having to see our friends and neighbors continue to die on our streets while walking and biking is not something we take lightly.

The October 10 article in Bicycling Magazine makes some excellent points, and speaks to the urgency regarding the state of our county’s streets and sidewalks. Working to advocate for livable streets in all 88 cities in LA County is a difficult task, but one from which LACBC does not shy away. Our team is proud of the framework our Interim Executive Director Janet Schulman and our Board of Directors are providing to the organization, and looks forward to ever-increasing our presence in making Los Angeles a better place to bike. During this time of transition, staff continues to focus on critical mobility justice issues.

As a 501(c)3, the LA County Bicycle Coalition is dedicated to helping our community identify and implement complete street changes that would make our streets safer for people walking and biking. Much of our non-profit’s time is focused on base-building and advocating for policies and practices that encourage safer street design and improve the community engagement process. This is work that takes years to develop and grow, and the programs are transforming Los Angeles’s landscape into one that supports a culture of complete streets.

Like you, we take great pride in being an Angeleno, and we’ll never tire in trying to make tomorrow better than today. We invite you to become a part of the movement for safer streets in Los Angeles, and to volunteer with us in making our streets safer for those traveling around LA County.

It’s not exactly the hard-hitting response we might have wanted. But it may be the best we can hope for as the coalition struggles without permanent leadership after losing two executive directors in the space of a year.

Meanwhile, there’s still no hint of a response from the mayor’s office, or any member of the city council.

Today’s photo, like yesterday, represents the massive fail of being named America’s worst bike city. And the repeated failures on behalf of city leaders that brought us to this point.

Maybe we’ll just keep using it every day until they finally do something about it.

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Speaking of the city council, the only Republican on the panel, CD12 Councilmember Mitch Englander, announced he’s leaving the city council at the end of the year.

He becomes the second councilmember in recent years to blow off the people who elected him in favor of a higher paying job in the private sector.

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This is who we share the roads with.

A Florida man was driving 100 mph in a 40 mph zone when he plowed into another car and sent it into a man walking his dogs on the sidewalk.

And was so drunk he didn’t even realize he’d suffered a compound wrist fracture, with the fractured bone breaking through the skin.

Blood tests afterward showed he had an alcohol level of .28, three and a half times the legal limit.

He had two previous arrests for DUI in Florida, as well as four DUI convictions in a ten year period in Virginia, along with another three for driving with a suspended license, earning him a whopping one year of probation.

He’s now facing charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, DUI causing serious bodily injury and reckless driving.

Just one more example of authorities going out of their way to keep a dangerous drunk driver on the roads until it’s too late.

And on the other side of the world, the passenger in a New Zealand contractor’s truck can be heard on video urging the driver to run over a bicyclist on the shoulder of the roadway.

The owner of the company responded by calling it “extremely embarrassing.”

Never mind how embarrassed he should be that his employees were stupid enough to post it online.

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Local

L.A. City Councilmember José Huizar officially opened the new left-side Spring Street parking protected bike lane with a ribbon cutting in DTLA.

The LA Daily News reports on the ghost bike installation for Roberto Perez, the victim in Sunday’s Sun Valley hit-and-run. Now if we can just find the heartless coward who left him to die in the street.

North Hollywood residents will have more time to weigh in on the planned widening of Magnolia Blvd through the NoHo Arts district after people questioned whether it meets LA’s Vision Zero goals; you now have until November 26th to comment.

CiclaValley looks back at the recent NACTO convention in Los Angeles.

 

State

Orange County rapper Innate followed up last year’s solo album with a 5,000-mile bike ride across the US.

The California Coastal Commission has given its blessing to plans for a lane reduction, bike lanes and Complete Streets makeover of the Coast Highway 101 through Leucadia.

San Francisco’s new mayor shows what can happen when the mayor isn’t running for president, moving to speed up work on a pair of safety projects on Market Street. Maybe LA’s mayor could take notes the next time he has a layover at LAX.

JUMP is looking to hire a Market Entry Project Manager in San Francisco.

 

National

Bicycling repeats what we’ve been talking about all week. If you want to fight climate change, leave your car in the garage and ride a bike.

Three bike riders tell Bicycling what Coming Out Day means to them, and why it matters. I’ve had a number of deeply closeted friends over the years, and have seen close up the damage living a double life can do. And the relief that comes with coming out.

Singletacks talks with the executive director of Little Bellas, an organization dedicated to mentoring young girls on mountain bikes.

Outside talks with the professional race car driver who helped Denise Mueller-Korenek shatter the land speed record for a human-powered bicycle.

An Oregon FedEx driver is going on trial for failing to yield in the death of a bike rider; the case hinges on whether a bike lane continues through an intersection. But it’s still just a traffic citation, rather than a criminal case.

A Seattle TV station questions whether it’s really the best bike city in the US. On the other hand, a Seattle weekly doesn’t mince words, saying Bicycling is dead wrong about the city’s first place finish.

My hometown is just one of four Colorado cities that made Bicycling’s list of the 50 best bike towns in the US.

A Denver TV reporter bikes to work live on camera, then learns from angry viewers that the state didn’t actually legalize the Idaho stop, they just made it so individual cities could if they want. And so far, Denver doesn’t.

Residents of an Ohio city are unhappy with plans to relocate a bike path in front of their homesEven though studies show it will make their property values go up.

Akron, Ohio is right sizing the city’s streets by removing lanes and installing bike lanes. And without the near riots that accompanied LA’s attempts to do the same thing on the Westside.

Support is growing for a two-way protected bike lane on New York’s Central Park West.

The NYPD responds to Streetblog’s Freedom of Information request on its decision to “close critical Manhattan bike lanes” during last month’s United Nations General Assembly by telling them, in effect, to mind their own business.

He gets it. A Maryland university professor says the cities of the future should be built for people on two wheels.

 

International

A Canadian writer explains that there are good reasons why you don’t need a license to ride a bike.

European bike makers, bicycle tourism companies and nonprofit organizations have banded together to form an organization representing 650,000 workers to “unite all the private sector voices in cycling, behind one vision, in one structure.”

If you build it, they will come. London opened three new quiet ways across the city, as newly released figures show bicycling in the UK capital increased 8% last year. Los Angeles has no idea how much bicycling went up or down last year because they’ve never bothered to measure it.

Britain’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says traffic planners should consider the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, children and older people to improve safety.

British bike hero Sir Chris Hoy says it’s time to end the “us versus them” attitude between drivers and bicyclists. No shit. Especially since most of the latter are also the former.

A writer from the UK suggests that the 30-mile Sellaronda in Italy’s Dolomites may be the most beautiful bike route in the world.

 

Finally…

Why mountain bikers should be glad summer is over. And the forgotten era of women’s bike racing in the ’90s.

No, the 1890s.

Morning Links: Arrest in Valbuena hit-and-run, adaptive bikes in the news, and who we share the roads with

Police have arrested a suspect in the hit-and-run death of bike rider Jonathan Valbuena in Torrance last month.

Thirty-seven-year old Thomas Hudson was arrested at his home in Rancho Palos Verdes following a two week investigation.

He was being held on $50,000 bail.

Valbuena, who was described as homeless, was left to die in the street following the 5 am crash at Hawthorne Boulevard and 227th Street.

Let’s hope the DA’s office takes this case seriously, and don’t just write it off because the victim didn’t have a home. Or was on a bicycle.

And that our state legislators finally do something to stop this murderous epidemic.

………

Today’s common theme is adaptive riding.

Bicycling profiles handcycle mountain biker Jeremy McGhee, who has developed a rating system for mountain bike trails accessible to adaptive riders. But then they don’t bother to, you know, link to it.

After losing the use of his own legs, a Colorado framebuilder switched his focus to building one-of-a-kind adaptive mountain bikes to bring wheelchair-bound riders back to the trails.

A Pittsburgh paraplegic is preparing to make an attempt to set a new record for the most miles traveled by handcycle in 24 hours.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

An allegedly drunk, off-duty Lyft driver takes a wide, fast turn onto Sunset Blvd, and takes out a handful of people standing on the sidewalk outside the Whiskey a Go Go.

Then there’s this guy.

In yet another example of keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late, a British driver with eight previous convictions for distracted driving killed a bike rider moments after reading a text. And just weeks after magistrates agreed to let him keep his license.

Maybe those magistrates should be looking for a new line of work.

………

Get your zen on with mesmerizing drone footage of bicyclists rounding a roundabout in bike-friendly Davis.

………

Women on Wheels rides to brunch in the San Gabriel Valley on Sunday.

Maybe they’ll bring me back something from Donut Man. Not that I could actually eat it or anything.

………

Damn.

This punishment pass from the UK is about the closest I’ve ever seen without actually hitting someone.

………

Local

A motion by San Fernando Valley Councilmember Bob Blumenfield would revoke regulations that have officially taken 374 LA streets off the books, preventing some of them from getting repaved since 1934.

NIMBY pressure group Fix the City settled a lawsuit that had stopped plans for a Frank Geary designed complex on Sunset Blvd; the group had somehow sued to preserve a dangerous right turn slip lane at Sunset and Crescent Heights that puts pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers at needless risk.

Lyft is teaming with LADOT to sponsor a promotion to get you out of your car for 30 days. Shouldn’t be a problem; I haven’t driven mine for 285 days, give or take. Although if you’re just going to move to a ride hailing service, it doesn’t accomplish much.

Good news for South Bay bicyclists, as bike-friendly former Long Beach city councilmember Suja Lowenthal has taken over as city manager for Hermosa Beach.

 

State

The Folsom History Museum is offering new exhibits combining bicycles and beer. Or you could just ride your bike to your favorite microbrewery.

 

National

A City Lab Op-Ed proposes the concept of Universal Basic Mobility, based on the idea that everyone has a right to get around — for a price.

A business writer considers the inevitable conflicts between mountain bikers and trail runners as a metaphor for resolving business conflicts. Although from his description, I get the feeling he doesn’t know enough regular bike riders.

Gear Junkie looks at the latest ebikes on display at Reno’s recent Interbike show.

A Colorado letter writer makes the point that even when a bike lane is empty, it’s “reducing congestion and aggravation for transportation users of all kinds.”

Now that’s a ciclovía. Colorado Springs CO is closing the spectacularly beautiful Garden of the Gods Natural Landmark to motor vehicles this Sunday, replacing the usual bumper-to-bumper traffic with people on foot and bikes.

An Idaho man spends a late fall Sunday riding a little too fast past bears, elk and bison in Yellowstone Park.

Boston is working to improve its bike infrastructure, including a new two-way centerline bike lane, protected intersections and bicycle traffic signals.

No bias here. The NYPD continues to target immigrant delivery people riding banned throttle-controlled ebikes, rather than the restaurants they work for, despite the mayor’s promises and in violation of the city’s ordinance governing ebikes.

A bike-riding New York councilmember discusses her proposal to require crews to provide bike lane detours around construction sites. We could really use a similar law here in Los Angeles.

North Carolina bicyclists are warning each other to be careful after a bike rider was hit by an object thrown from a passing car.

A Louisiana parish responds to the collision that killed a bicycling Baton Rouge city councilmember by adopting an anti-bike “bike safety” law requiring bicyclists to wear flouro hi-viz and ride single file in groups of ten or less. None of which would have prevented the crash that killed him. Or likely the next one, for that matter.

 

International

Talk about not getting it. A Montreal letter writer says a ghost bike should be installed in front of city hall to remind politicians to “curb inappropriate cycling behavior to prevent hogging the road.” Which is not exactly what ghost bikes are for.

Bike riders and pedestrians will be included in a small class of vulnerable road users as Nova Scotia updates its traffic regulations for the first time since 1932.

No, removing bike parking from an English train station is not an “improvement.”

Scottish blogger Town Mouse gets a bad case of the speed wobbles.

Paris will now ban cars from the entire city center on the first Sunday of every month, starting this Sunday, to improve air quality and share public spaces.

The mayor of an Istanbul neighborhood is doing more than encouraging people to people get out of their cars and bike to work; he gave up his own official car and is using a bike to get to and from appointments.

An Indian cycling club will try to set a new record for the longest line of moving bicyclists; the current record of 1,186 bicyclists is held by Bangladesh.

A Sikh cyclist is challenging an Indian randonneuring ride’s requirement for all riders to wear a helmet, since that would mean removing the turban he’s required to wear by his faith.

Australian bicyclists are angry that two of the most popular riding routes have been bumped off plans for promised bike infrastructure, leaving thousands of bike riders on their own every day.

Australia’s eight-time world BMX champ Caroline Buchanan took time off from training in California to marry boyfriend Barry Nobles at Nevada’s Valley of Fire.

Japanese police explain how a wanted man was able to hide in plain sight by posing as a bike tourist in Osaka Prefecture for seven weeks.

 

Competitive Cycling

The barren dirt slopes of Afghanistan are witnessing the birth of an equal opportunity mountain biking movement; 40% of the cyclists in a recent race were women.

Women’s cycling will visit the UK’s north for the first time next year, with the three-day Tour of Scotland.

Hard-hitting piece from Canadian cyclist Devaney Collier, as she explains why she’s still afraid to leave her home for training rides, two years after her teammate Ellen Watters was killed in a collision.

 

Finally…

Why buy a bakfiets when you can just subscribe to one? Your wait for a gold-plated track bike is finally over.

And the best drink mix for every type of ride.

And no, margarita mix isn’t one of them.

 

Morning Links: 15 years for Oceanside drunk driver, ebike regulations, and young cyclist dies in Paris-Roubaix

For once, the charges — and the conviction — fit the crime.

An Oceanside woman faces up to 15 years behind bars after she was convicted of second degree murder for the drunken hit-and-run crash that took the life of a homeless man.

In an extreme case of heartlessness, she drove over a mile with the victim’s body embedded in the seat next to her. Then parked the car around the block from her house and walked home.

And did all that after her friends warned her she was too drunk to drive, but got behind the wheel anyway.

At least she’s not likely to be driving again for a very long time.

Drunk or otherwise.

………

Today’s common theme is ebikes and the rules governing them.

City Lab considers New York’s recent, and way too late, approval of ped-assist ebikes.

Popular Mechanics questions when ebikes cease to be bicycles.

And the Washington Post looks at changing ebike regulations across the US.

Meanwhile, police departments are quickly adopting ebikes as the best tool for bike cops.

………

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix bike race, stop reading now and skip to the next section.

Still here?

World Champion Peter Sagan out sprinted Swiss rider Silvan Dillier to take the cobbled Monument after taking off on a breakaway with 33 miles to go.

But don’t take my word for it.

https://twitter.com/Paris_Roubaix/status/983003465222905856?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Ftheradavist.com%2F2018%2F04%2Fthe-last-moments-at-this-years-paris-roubaix-spoiler%2F

If that wets your appetite, SoCal Cycling has posted video of the full race broadcast. And in a piece written before the race, a Scottish website says Sagan is a throwback to an earlier era.

All was not good, however.

The race known as the Hell of the North lived up to its billing with the heartbreaking news that 23-year old Belgian rider Michael Goolaerts died of cardiac arrest in a Lille, France hospital several hours after the race.

Goolaerts heart reportedly stopped 65 miles into the race, as medical staff struggled to resuscitate him as he lay on the side of the road; it was unclear if he collapsed while riding or as the result of a crash.

His team released a statement announcing the death, and asking everyone to respect the privacy of Goolaerts’ family.

He had posted this moving photo on Instagram just two weeks ago.

………

Local

A new report shows what the lower LA River could look like as you ride through, once the existing gaps in the bike path are finally closed.

An Op-Ed in the LA Times says almost no one walks to or from LAX because the airport has made it virtually impossible to do. But those who do may find some hidden gems. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

Culver City goes to the polls Tuesday; Bike the Vote LA has your voter guide.

 

State

A section of the Santa Ana River Trail near Angel Stadium has finally reopened after authorities cleared out a massive homeless encampment. Although they can’t seem to find anyone willing to take the people in.

Dockless bikeshare comes to downtown San Diego.

San Francisco celebrates Walk to Work Day with a tone-deaf distracted walking tweet from the fire department.

The US Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis is now accepting nomination for this year’s class.

 

National

Great piece from elite cyclist Ayesha McGowan on the need to go beyond tokenism in bike marketing, and bring more diversity to the bike industry. McGowan is working to become the first African-American woman on the pro tour.

Fast Company makes the case that the Trump administration blew it by focusing on highway projects in their infrastructure plans, rather than bike and pedestrian trails that can revive rural economies.

Curbed’s Alissa Walker says you can’t be a climate mayor if you’re making room for more cars. Let’s hope LA Mayor Eric Garcetti reads that.

It only took Goodyear 120 years to get back to making bike tires.

Seattle’s new mayor puts the brakes on plans for a promised bike lane on 4th Street, delaying it until at least 2021 over fears of slowing traffic. Because everyone knows people on bikes don’t count as traffic. Right?

The Durango, Colorado newspaper calls on everyone — or mountain bikers in particular — to respect the land, and stop using closed trails and building illegal ones.

Denver’s bikeshare system is adopting a hybrid program to compete with dockless bikeshare, allowing riders to leave bikes in hundreds designated bike corrals, or leave them anywhere for a small additional fee. Something Metro may want to consider as dockless bikes expand through Los Angeles.

New York bicyclists ride to call for safer streets and remember a father killed by a drunk driver as he rode his bike.

Treehugger says you could solve the problem of New York’s salmon cyclists by getting rid of one-way streets. Or at least installing contraflow bike lanes.

This is the cost of traffic violence. The University of Georgia remembers an award-winning professor and experienced cyclist who was killed while riding her bike last week; the driver was accused of following too close and not giving a safe passing distance.

 

International

Road.cc explains why cycling clothes are better for long rides, and why you probably don’t need them around town.

A Costa Rican website recognizes the need to improve bike safety, but questions whether a new 9.5 mile bike lane in the capital does more harm than good.

A Canadian broadcaster has been cited by two government agencies for calling on drivers to hit “idiot” bicyclists.

A Vancouver Op-Ed says bicycling is often more convenient than driving in major cities. I’ve found that true in Los Angeles, where I could commute from Westwood to DTLA in the same time it took to drive, with far less hassle and aggravation.

Around 4,000 young Londoners took over the streets as they rode to call for an end to knife crime in the wake of several recent murders. Meanwhile, a website looks at the movement bringing young riders onto the streets of the city.

A UK bike rider kicks the car habit after 20 years, and says it feels great.

A British newspaper asks if it’s time to make bike helmets mandatory after a young helmetless rider suffers major facial injuries after going over the handlebars. While some studies have shown helmets can help prevent facial injuries, he would have had to wear it over his face to prevent most of his; a good pair of glasses probably would have done more to prevent his eye injuries.

An English town tries “cyclist speed dating” to get more people on bikes.

An Egyptian man set off on a two month, 3,000 mile ride to Russia to watch the 2018 World Cup after Egypt qualified for the first time in 28 years. And the US didn’t. I’m just saying.

Walking and bicycling could be the best solution to Nairobi’s crushing traffic.

An allegedly drunk South African driver was convicted of killing two cyclists on a group ride in a high speed crash after leaving a night club at 5 am.

No bias here. A Kiwi columnist proudly admits to road rage when it comes to people on bicycles — especially MAMILS in colorful Lycra.

An Aussie study suggests that suggests that speed limits and lane widths may be more to blame for crashes with bicyclists than bad driving. However, a Canadian study shows that nearly half of bike collisions are the result of driver error and following too closely.

A 15-year old Australian cyclist takes bike-hating drivers to task for their shocking attitudes.

 

Competitive Cycling

London’s Independent talks with the author of a new book about the dark side of cycling.

A pair of Kiwi cyclists rode Paris-Roubaix in honor of nearly 60 members of the New Zealand Cycling Corps buried nearby, who were killed on the Western Front in the war to that was supposed to end all wars. Except it didn’t.

Tom Boonen hints that he believes Fabian Cancellara used motor doping to beat him in the 2010 Tour of Flanders. 

In an absolutely unnecessary display of stupidity on the part of race organizers, American cyclist Lawson Craddock was lucky to escape without injuries after crashing into one of several parked cars that were left on the race course on the final stage of the Tour of the Basque Country.

 

Finally…

Stopping dockless bikeshare vandalism 19¢ at a time. When a bike lane is just a hippie plot to make construction workers ride bicycles.

And the next time you find yourself being attacked by angry cows on a bike ride, call a plumber.

 

Morning Links: Auto-centric Cal Poly becoming bike friendly, and more events to wrap up LA Bike Month

Good news from Cal Poly Pomona, for a change.

CPP professor Boyonabike! provides a wrap-up of Bike Week at the traditionally auto-centric and bike-unfriendly university. And reports that things are finally beginning to change.

The university’s new President, Dr. Soraya Coley, has been supportive of efforts to encourage alternative transportation (the previous campus president once threatened to ban bikes from campus). The campus installed new bus shelters last summer and this year we’ll be getting new bike racks and bike repair stands at several locations on campus.  Even bigger changes may be just around the corner, however.

This year the president created a new campus Transportation Advisory Committee that will take a more holistic approach to mobility, and next year’s update of the Campus Master Plan could provide a blueprint for a more bike- and transit-friendly campus.  Better transit connectivity to campus and discount student transit passes will be a priority, but it is in bike infrastructure that we may see some of the most sweeping changes.  I still can’t believe I’m writing these words, but the President recently approved installation of protected bike lanes on a stretch of Kellogg Drive that is being realigned to accommodate new student housing. Yes, you read that right.  By September 2017 there should be protected bike lanes and improved intersections on a roadway where a cyclist was killed by a distracted driver a few years ago.

That would be the best possible memorial to fallen cyclist Ivan Aguilar, to transform the university he never got to graduate from into one where no one else needs to fear for their lives, however they choose to travel.

My apologies to John Lloyd and everyone at Cal Poly; I meant to include this one last night, but lost it as I struggled to get yesterday’s post online despite a balky, and since replaced, trackpad.

………

These are the people we share the roads with.

A drunk, speeding Corvette driver gets six years for running down a 77-year old Oregon man as he rode his bicycle in a bike lane; a lawsuit is proceeding against the six bars that allowed him to achieve a BAC three and a half times the legal limit. A previous DUI (or DUII in Oregon) was dismissed after he completed a diversion program, which obviously didn’t take.

A Michigan woman faces up to five years behind bars for doing coke before running down a bike rider.

And Michigan driver was high on heroin when he fled the scene after killing a 61-year old man riding his bike on the shoulder of the roadway.

Clearly, more has to be done to keep drunk and drugged drivers off the roads. Especially if they’ve already been arrested — not merely convicted — for driving under the influence.

………

Pasadena Now recaps the hometown finish of America’s only WorldTour race.

After finishing second in her first road race, a Roseville cyclist serves as a “human shield” — otherwise known as a domestique — in the women’s tour of California.

Cycling Weekly looks at the Cima Coppi, the intense climb up the famed Stelvio — the highest point of the Giro d’Italia — named after one of the greatest cyclists of all time.

Estonian cyclist Tanel Kangert is out for the season after breaking his arm and shoulder after falling in the Giro; he was the leader of the Astana team, which lost Michele Scarponi earlier this year when he was killed in a collision while training.

………

Local

The Spoke Bicycle Café along the LA River bike path in Frogtown has re-opened, after re-imagining itself as a full service restaurant.

Make your plans for the final event of LA’s Bike Month, with Metro’s Bike Night at Union Station this Friday.

Black Kids on Bikes will host the BKOB Memorial Ride 2017 this Sunday

Mark your calendar for the LA Mural Ride in Northeast LA on June 3rd.

 

State

Three hundred chefs rode three hundred miles in three days to raise funds for No Kids Hungry.

An Orange County church has built 100 bicycles for needy families.

Coronado will reduce fines for bike riders in hopes of encouraging police to write more tickets; officers sometime are reluctant to ticket bicyclists if they think the high fines aren’t justified by the offense.

An apparent road-raging driver pleads not guilty to murdering a Barstow bike rider after exchanging words with him.

Watsonville holds its first open streets event, hopefully pointing the way to a more bike friendly future.

Sacramento held an open streets event Sunday on what would normally be one of the city’s busiest streets.

 

National

People For Bikes says that connecting bikeway networks is going to be harder now that cities have built the easy “low-hanging fruit,” but worth it. Or you could do it the Los Angeles way and give up, calling the difficult ones merely “aspirational.

A business website considers how Trek became a $1 billion global business.

Once again, the cops just don’t get it, blaming the victim of a right hook for trying undertake a right-turning driver during a Tennessee Ironman race.

The Department of DIY strikes again, as Boston bike advocates take safety messaging into their own hands, with an assist from former LA resident Bikeyface — and Matt Damon. Needless to say, the city took the signs down within hours.

A Syracuse NY cycling and speed skating coach has been arrested for allegedly having sexual contact with girl under 15 years old. There’s a special place in hell for people like that. And hopefully, a place behind bars for a very long time.

A DC cycling instructor offers advice on how to navigate city streets with confidence.

The war on bikes continues, as two cyclists participating in an Alabama Gran Fondo were shot at with a pellet gun, injuring one. Meanwhile, the mythical war on cars remains just that.

Once again, kind-hearted cops replace a bicycle for kid after his was stolen, this time in Georgia.

A drunk Florida driver was busted for barreling 62 mph down the road while weaving in and out of a bike path.

 

International

Mexico City becomes the latest city to elect a bike mayor. Meanwhile, Los Angeles doesn’t even have an official bike neighborhood councilmember.

Winnipeg is importing the Netherlands bike culture along with 140 single speed Dutch bikes.

Bike advocates question whether Montreal is doing enough to remain one of North America’s most bike-friendly cities.

A Conservative candidate for Parliament says she wouldn’t feel safe riding in Birmingham, England either.

Riding a bikeshare bike home from the local pub after downing a few pints in Bristol, England could get you a fine up to £2,500 — the equivalent of over $3,200.

City Lab looks at bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid’s efforts to revive Britain’s forgotten bikeway network.

Not surprisingly, a new French study shows drivers who bike are more likely to spot a bicyclist on the roadway — and less likely to run into one.

Both the cycling and motor racing worlds were in mourning today, as word broke that former MotoGP champ Nicky Hayden passed away five days after he was hit by a driver as he rode his bike in Italy. There’s something seriously wrong when a man can race a motorcycle at over 200 mph, but isn’t safe riding a bicycle.

A Philippine graduate student finds deeper meaning in learning to ride a bike for the first time.

 

Finally…

Honestly, who among us hasn’t ridden through the Tuscan countryside with a full security detail?Even Mafiosos ride bikes, though they don’t always make it home, either.

And a Brazilian cyclist gives a whole new meaning to rescuing a kittie.

 

Insights and updates on Orange County bike cases — laughter or tears?

Over the past year or so, I’ve featured a number of updates on various Orange County and South Bay legal cases from an anonymous source.

Like the updates I get from Dj Wheels, I’ve come to trust and rely on the insights from this source to keep us up to date on cases from behind the Orange Curtain, which can be hard to follow from up here in L.A. — especially since these cases seldom make the news unless something major happens.

Today she sent me an email offering background information on a couple of cases that are slowly moving through the system. And I thought it was good enough that I wanted to share it with you.

This article from the Sunday Orange County Register shows why the OCDA’s office wants to nail Michael Dennis Roach (and his ilk) so bad.  (Roach is the drunken racer on PCH who hit another drunken racer, spinning both cars onto a segregated beach path.)  Things do not look good for Roach.  His co-defendent Glenn Michael Moore, on the other hand, has a much shorter rap sheet and a terrifyingly good lawyer.

Our drunk-driving laws are nauseating liberal.  MADD had to fight for years to get that excessively high .08 limit, and it’s so easy to circumvent in court.  In other, more civilized countries with a better grasp of public safety and/or neurochemistry, the limit is much lower, and the penalties are more appropriate.  Every year in America alone, more people are killed by drunk drivers than by firearms, knives, blunt objects, & strangulation combined, and drivers under the “legal” limit (but at .04 or above) account for 25% of these deaths.  Our laws fail to address the severity of the repercussions of dangerous operation of motor vehicles.

Danae Miller (um, for example) had a preliminary hearing on December 1st and naturally the judge decided that there is indeed enough evidence to send her to trial.  Miller’s due to be arraigned in a few hours;  I won’t be there because both Anita Sue “Stop Signs Don’t Apply to Me” Cherry and Adam Carl “Just a Witness” Garrett have appearances at a different couthouse.  However, an incredibly wonderful MADD victim services specialist assisting the Britel family will forward me the plea and any details.

Miller’s preliminary hearing was tedious, thorough and heart-rending. The D.A. called four individuals to testify; the defense called none.  The hearing included some of the evidence that will be shown if Miller doesn’t just plead guilty like Hines, including the video from the dashboard-mounted camera of the first responding officer’s approach to the scene, which showed Britel’s shattered carbon fiber bike lying in the gutter, front light still blinking.

Although it was dusk, the view of the roadway was completely unobstructed, the streetlights were on, and the bike had plenty of reflective material on the rims and below the seat.  Britel was wearing a yellow dayglo jacket with reflective material.  A blind man could have seen him.  Miller could not.

Evidence also included the dozen or so texts & calls made in the minutes preceding the collision, as well as Miller’s ratty ancient-tech flip phone, which she’d handed over to the first responding officer at his request after stating that she never texts while driving.  Two prior citations to which she pleaded guilty refute this remark.  Disappointingly, a Verizon custodian of records testified that there’s no record of the content of the texts sent or received.

Miller also initally lied to the police on scene about her intake of alcohol.  With bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, she first claimed she’d had nothing to drink prior to driving.  She then changed her story, saying she’d had “one glass” of wine about an hour prior to leaving work.  However, her BAC was measured at .105 and .106 from two separate vials of her blood collected approximately an hour and forty-five minutes after the collision.  (This amount was rounded down to .10.)

In questioning the D.A.’s theory of culpability, the judge requested a brief review of testimony in order to determine whether, as Miller’s lawyer attempted to suggest, the incident was a simple SWSS.  But Miller had never told investigators,  “I saw the cyclist ahead.”  She admitted to the arresting officer that the first indication she had that she’d hit something was the shards of her shattered windshield hitting her arm.  (At least she wasn’t too drunk to wonder what all the sparkly stuff was.)

After the hearing, I asked D.A. Hayashida whether Britel had a bike computer and whether the data had been accessed.  To my surprise, she admitted she didn’t know (!!!) but would look into it.  I’d squinted at the pics & video of Britel’s mangled bike, but could only see a dark blur to the left of the areo bars.  It just strikes me as unlikely that a serious, competetive cyclist wouldn’t have the bells and whistles that could pinpoint the location, sudden deceleration & trajectory of his bike… and possibly even indicate the exact time, to the second, when his heart stopped beating.

Incidently, Hayashida is also assigned to prosecute Adam Carl Garrett, so I expect to see her  again today.  AND (refer back to the Orange County Register article) she’s the one who nailed Dennis Malavasi.

Mad props to good stranger Heather Lohrman (hope that’s spelled right), who stopped at the crime scene, attempted to find Britel’s pulse, and ran up to Miller’s car to get the license plate number in case the perp decided to flee.  Another good stranger was present as well but his name was not released.

Just a quick and irrelevant note about Anita Sue Cherry:  Last month, only two days before her most recent scheduled hearing, her first lawyer (whose list of traffic citations is longer than Cherry’s) was cited for failure to stop at a stop sign.  And next Monday, her most recently retained lawyer (her first lawyer’s legal partner) has his arraignment for the DUI w/property damage he got in September.

I swear to God I’m not making this up.

Laugh, or cry?

Drunken Long Beach fire captain suffers a severe slap on the wrist

Is a single year in county lockup sufficient penalty for nearly killing a cyclist with a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit?

An Orange County judge seems to think so.

Yesterday, Santa Ana Superior Court judge Erick Larsh sentenced Long Beach fire captain John David Hines to four years and four months in state prison — then suspended the sentence in lieu of one year in the Orange County jail and five years probation.

Reports could not be confirmed that Hines responded by grabbing his wrist and yelling “Ow!”

And yes, that’s slightly bridled sarcasm, as I find myself censoring what I’d really like to say.

It was almost three months ago that Hines pleaded guilty to three felony counts — driving under the influence, driving with a blood alcohol level in excess of .08, and hit-and-run, as well as sentencing enhancements for having a BAC over .20 and causing great bodily injury.

Those charges stemmed from a bloody, drunken and reportedly urine-soaked April Fools Day episode that left cyclist Jeffrey Gordon struggling for his life.

And no, it wasn’t the least bit funny.

The scion of a leading Long Beach firefighting family, Hines spent the morning drinking at the Schooner or Later bar in Long Beach before climbing behind the wheel of his truck and attempting to drive home, despite a BAC measured at .24 over two hours later.

The legal limit in California is .08.

The bar should bear at least some responsibility for allowing Hines to get that drunk at their hands. Let alone letting him drive after serving him so much alcohol knowing full well how drunk he had to be at that point.

I hope Gordon has a great lawyer; if not, I’ll be happy to recommend a few. If there’s any justice, he’ll own the bar before this is done.

And hopefully, the first thing he’ll do is change that damn name.

As he reportedly wove his way across the roadway on Westminster Blvd, Hines lost control of his truck, drifting into the bike lane to hit Gordon’s bike from behind at an estimated 60 mph. The rider was thrown 70 feet through the air before landing in a crumpled, bloody heap.

His injuries were severe enough to require two weeks hospitalization, as well as limited mobility, and speech and memory loss that continues to this day. Then again, given the speed and severity of the impact, it’s a miracle Gordon survived at all.

Meanwhile, Hines continued to make his merry way to his Huntington Beach home, either unaware or unconcerned that he had nearly killed another human being. He was followed by two witnesses who reported his location to the police.

According to the Belmont Shore – Naples Patch, Billy Chisholm was a passenger in one of those pursuing vehicles.

“I was sick to my stomach the whole time,” Chisholm recalled. “He just hit him and left him to die like he was a skunk in the road. He had to have known he hit him because his truck was all busted up. That was a human being he left there to die. It’s not right.”

When police arrived, they found Hines in an obvious state of drunkenness, with a strong urine odor coming from his clothes. His parked pickup showed major damage to the front-end and hood — including blood spatter from the victim.

As so many scoundrels do these days, he immediately entered rehab after his release from jail, spending over five months in an alcohol rehabilitation facility.

Like Schrodinger’s Cat, whether that was a badly needed attempt to gain control over his apparent alcoholism or a blatant attempt at gaining leniency from the court depends on your perspective.

He also served a 90-day diagnostic evaluation — make that 86 days — in state prison to determine whether he is suitable to serve a sentence in the state penitentiary.

Maybe I’m just not up on current sentencing practices. But I doubt many gangbangers or bank robbers enjoy such sensitivity from the judge after pleading guilty.

Then again, not many felons come from such prominent fire fighting families.

And last but not least, Hines was ordered to pay $102,000 in restitution — most of which has already been eaten up in medical costs.

According to the Los Alamitos Patch, Gordon prepared a written victim impact statement to be considered at sentencing.

“I am a very active person who enjoys being outdoors with my family. I also have a very mentally and physically demanding job that I love. All of that was taken from me in just seconds.

“As a result of the impact, I was seriously injured, receiving an 18-centimeter head laceration, cranial bleeding, three broken vertebrae, a bruised kidney and multiple cuts, scrapes, and contusions over a large area of my body. Medical expenses are piling up from the long hospital stay and treatment from so many specialists… so far reaching nearly $65,000. The doctors are not yet sure when or if I will recover enough to return to full duty at work or to the quality of life that I had before.

“I have found myself becoming more and more upset by the possibility that the negligence of another person may have lasting effects on me, but the person who is responsible may suffer little or no consequences for his actions.”

An anonymous source who was in the courtroom for part of the sentencing hearing offers this assessment of Hines professional position, who has been severely criticized by many — including me — for causing exactly the sort of injuries he was trained to treat.

I wish to point out that although Hines undoubtedly responded as part of a pre-hospital care team to the type of vehicular crime he committed, he was not the one who would have been providing hands-on care to patients.  As a captain, he directed others on the response team.  In fact, Hines is not a paramedic; he holds only an EMT certificate (pending review), and this is probably the bare minimum medical education requirement for a person of his position within his agency.  At EMT level, he cannot even administer painkillers.  With his certification, he would not likely be the one in the back of an ambulance with a puking head trauma victim like the one he created last April, because injuries of that magnitude require paramedic-level response.  He could monitor vitals and provide oxygen in such situations, and that’s about it.

My opinion is that his interest in public safety is less about his interest, if any, in humanity than in the salary & inherent reputation of a firefighter, and the protection that such a reputation affords him as an alcoholic.  But this is just an opinion.

Meanwhile, the OC Weekly offers a scathing report on the lenient sentence.

As they suggest, current jail overcrowding problems make it highly unlikely Hines will serve the full year, joining local public enemy #1 Lindsey Lohan in the revolving door of SoCal jurisprudence.

And I’m sure her wrist is just as sore.

On the other hand, Hines acted as self-appointed judge and jury in sentencing the victim to a possible life sentence of disability.

As disgusted as I am by the apparent leniency, I honestly don’t know if a long prison sentence is the right answer in this particular case.

Alcoholism is an illness, and punishment in prison will do little or nothing to reform a dangerous drunk and return him to a productive member of society.

But I do know that until judges start taking cases like this seriously — and impose sentences that will serve as a warning and deterrence to other drivers — we’ll continue to experience the ongoing carnage on our streets.

And not everyone will be as lucky as Gordon.

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