Tag Archive for James Rapley

Too much bad news for Christmas Eve, and a long list of pre-holiday reading

Let’s start with the bad news.

And there’s just too much of it for Christmas Eve this year.

First up, the Daily News identifies the Sheriff’s Deputy who killed cyclist Milt Olin on December 8th as a 16-year veteran from the Malibu/Lost Hills station, despite a lack of confirmation from the department. The collision is still under investigation; two weeks later, investigators still haven’t spoken to all the witnesses. Thanks to Deb Fort for the link.

There’s still no ID on the cyclist killed by a Metrolink train on December 6th. The victim is described as a Hispanic man over 21 years old, about 5’2” and 144 pounds, with brown eyes and a black Mohawk, and a red stud earring in one ear. Anyone with information is urged to call coroner’s investigator Daniel Machian at 323-343-0754 or the coroner investigations division at 323-343-0714.

Australian publication The Age fills in the blanks on the death of countryman James Rapley, who was just passing through LA when he was killed by an alleged underage — and possibly texting — drunk driver while riding a rental bike up Temescal Canyon.

And a comment on the Brentwood Patch website says the cyclist doored on Barrington Ave in Brentwood two weeks ago today has died. I’ve reached out to members of the LAPD for confirmation, but no response yet.

………

The news isn’t much better in the pro ranks, as 21-year old Swiss rider Felix Baur was killed in a collision while training in Spain last Wednesday. Meanwhile, 26-year old Euris Vidal — who was scheduled to join the Incycle-Predator Components team next year — was shot and killed while trying to stop a robbery in the Dominican Republic on Sunday.

………

Four missing mountain bikers are found safe after spending an unplanned night in the Angeles National Forest. A new short film follows the life of an abandoned bike in East LA. One of California’s best schools was founded in honor of a 13-year old girl killed by a distracted driver while her family was riding in Wyoming. Cast your vote in the LA Streetsblog Streetsie awards. Julia Roberts rides a Dutch bike through the ‘Bu. British bike scribe Carlton Reid offers an in-depth look at the elevated California Cycleway which stretched from LA to Pasadena in the early 1900s. Mark your calendar for next month’s Arroyo Seco tweed ride. In a heartwarming story, hundreds of cyclists join a Santa Clarita rider in completing the ride that almost took his life a year ago. Bikes and bike advocates rank high in this Long Beach year-in-review.

Cyclelicious offers a year-in-review retrospective. The San Diego Bicycle Coalition lists their 2013 accomplishments, including the city’s first ciclovia. You still have time to join in the Harbor View Holiday Lights Ride in Corona del Mar at 5 pm this evening. Oxnard bike cop suffers minor injuries in a hit-and-run; thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up. The National Parks Service has thrown the brakes on endurance bike and running events in Death Valley, something we’d reported here a few weeks ago. Salmon cyclist killed in Lodi. Merced man tries to run down a bike rider in a jealous rage over a woman. Prison inmates refurbish bikes for kids. UC Berkeley manager dies from a heart attack after swerving to avoid a skateboarder while riding his bike. Think of it as a Street View for bikes for SF and NY riders. Chico shuts down a bike path in response to crime.

Elly Blue’s dog offers advice on bicycling with your human. US urban cycling is here to stay; let’s hope so. Americans are less likely to bike but more likely to be killed doing it according to a new study. Ten lessons learned from biking across the country. Colorado filmmaker offers tips on winter riding. A Houston website asks if the city’s drivers hate cyclists after a second rider is killed by a hit-and-run driver; in that case, they must really hate us here. Merry Christmas indeed, as a WI man pushes a boy off his bike to steal it. Chicago cyclists are about to get their first curb-separated bike lanes. Michigan non-profit gives bikes to 2500 kids. Ohio rider gets her stolen bike back for Christmas. UPS delivers by bike in Providence RI. DC Streetsbog wants your vote on the year’s biggest transportation stories, including the plan to tear down a Long Beach freeway. After Fayetteville NC’s Bicycle Man passes away, his wife continues his mission of giving 500 bikes to deserving children. The Florida cyclist dumped behind a dumpster by a heartless hit-and-run driver clings to life, but his prognosis is uncertain.

Who exactly are the real scofflaws in the UK? British paperboys and girls get new helmets and hi-viz to keep them safe after one of their peers is killed; not getting hit by cars would probably help more. A Brit letter writer says they built it, and no one came, so just give up already. Young Belgian pro attempts suicide after testing positive for clenbuterol after racing in China. The collision that left a Singapore cyclist in critical condition is caught on video; thanks to Danny Gamboa for the tip. Even Bangkok is becoming a better place to bike. Yes, Australia’s helmet law reduced cycling rates, but maybe not so much. Aussie bike tourist gets shot in the eye with a paintball gun on the first day of a planned New Zealand tour.

Finally, no bikes involved. Just a Texas driver who drank cologne to mask the scent of alcohol on his breath after he was stopped by police following a hit-and-run; nice try, anyway. And a woman pedals her hi-tech tricycle in a race to the South Pole; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the link.

Please accept my best wishes for a very merry Christmas, and the happiest of holiday seasons for all.

Update: Fatal bike collision on Temescal Canyon in Pacific Palisades

The aftermath of today's fatal collision; photo by Clifford Phillips

The aftermath of today’s fatal collision; photo by Clifford Phillips

I’m still waiting on official confirmation, but the news doesn’t look good.

A tweet from West LA Traffic Division Captain Brian Adams reports that the LAPD is working a fatal traffic collision at Temescal Canyon Road and PCH in Pacific Palisades.

At the same time, I received an email from a reader who had just passed the intersection and saw a mountain bike with the rear wheel crushed, and a car stopped nearby with its windshield bashed in; the rider was nowhere to be seen.

Of course, that does not necessarily mean the rider was killed. But it sounds like prayers or good thoughts are in order.

More details as they come in.

Update: According to KCBS-2, the collision occurred around 9:15 Sunday morning when a vehicle drifted into the bike lane on Temescal Canyon and hit the rider from behind. The victim was declared dead at a local hospital, later identified as St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica; another report says he was taken to UCLA Medical Center in Westwood.

And yes, the driver remained at the scene. 

A comment from Lois below indicates the collision occurred about a quarter mile above PCH on the eastbound, uphill lane. 

Having ridden through there many times myself, that is one of the few bike lanes where I don’t feel comfortable, as many motorists drive far above the speed limit and drift from their lanes on the many curves, both up and downhill.

This is the 84th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 36th in Los Angeles County. It is also the 16th cycling death in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year — over three times the number of bicycling fatalities last year.

Update 2: Pacific Palisades Patch reports the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was approximately 25 to 27 years old, and was hit hard enough to throw his body up to 20 feet through the air.  

One commenter on the site said she was told by an officer at the scene that the driver had been drinking — at 9:15 am — while the writer of the Patch piece says the driver himself suggested he was texting when the collision occurred.

John Rapley; photo from The Age

James Rapley; photo from The Age

Update 3: Police officials have identified the victim at 29-year old Australian tourist James Rapley from Victoria; the driver was 19-year old Mohammed Kadri of Santa Monica.

There’s something horribly wrong when someone can’t visit this country without returning home in a coffin.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for James Rapley and his family.

Update 4: Australian publication The Age confirms a comment from a friend of the victim that Rapley was just passing through Los Angeles when he was killed.

The paper quotes his father as saying Rapley, a software developer for Groupon in Chicago, had rented a bike during an extended layover on a flight back home to Melbourne for the holidays. An experienced rider, he may have enjoyed the challenge of tackling the steep climb, even on a rental bike.

His father also confirms the report that police said the underage driver had been drinking at that early hour.

“He was the sort of kid everyone hopes to have as a son,” John Rapley said.

“I just really want to get the message out that drink driving can affect you anywhere and it’s so stupid.”

No word yet on any charges the driver may face. Let’s hope the authorities take this one seriously — especially if reports that he was texting as well turn out to be true.

I can’t overstate the tragedy that someone just passing through our city is murdered by someone too young to legally drink, let alone be on the road in that condition. 

Update 4: The Santa Monica Mirror reports Kadri was arrested on an unspecified felony charge at 10:50 am, and released on $50,000 bail Sunday night — which seems low under the circumstances.

He is scheduled to appear in Downtown Municipal Court on January 16th; we should be able to learn what charges he’ll face then. Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

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