Tag Archive for Javier Gonzales

Plea deal in death of 15-year old Javier Gonzalez, grieving families fight for safer streets, and housing for people not cars

Happy World Bicycle Day!

Now get out there and ride one.

And contact your elected leaders to demand safer streets when you get back.

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It looks like there will be justice for Javier Gonzalez, after all.

If you consider over six years justice for fleeing the scene after killing a teenage boy.

Thirty-seven-year old Riverside resident Rosendo Morales Caldera pled guilty to hit-and-run resulting in death, with a sentencing enhancement for fleeing the scene of a crime, after prosecutors agreed to drop a misdemeanor count of driving without a license.

Caldera was accused of killing Gonzalez last March as the 15-year old boy rode salmon with his friends on a Riverside street, slamming head-on into his bicycle before speeding away without stopping.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 13th. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of six years and eight months, significantly above the standard penalty of four years for a fatal hit-and-run in California.

And yet, it seems like it’s still not enough.

Caldera has a lengthy criminal record, with prior convictions for car theft, possessing a forged driver’s license, vandalism, and being felon in possession of a firearm; he was out on probation at the time of Gonzalez’ death.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels.

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Today’s must read is a hard-hitting, inspiring and heartbreaking piece from the New Yorker, about families of fallen pedestrians and bike riders who banded together to fight for safer streets — leading to the country’s first Vision Zero in New York, and traffic safety wins at city hall and the state capital.

And balanced out by just as many losses.

The group they founded, Families for Safe Streets, has grown to include chapter across the US, including here in Southern California. Each of whom has lost a family member to traffic violence.

But this is what they’re up against.

By century’s end, cars had grown progressively larger, better insulated from the feedback of the surrounding environment, and safer for the people inside them. Those on the outside were less lucky. The U.S. automotive lobby resisted regulations enacted in Europe that made cars and trucks less lethal, and, by 2018, the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths per kilometre in the United States was more than four times higher than in the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark. Among the most vulnerable are older adults, who in 2020 made up twenty per cent of killed pedestrians, and people who live in low-income neighborhoods where there has been little investment in safe road design.

Between 2010 and 2019, as the number of U.S. drivers or passengers who died in collisions held fairly steady, deaths of those on bikes rose thirty-six per cent, and deaths of those on foot nearly doubled.

It’s a long piece. But more that worth the time you’ll invest in reading it.

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A columnist for The New York Times says California has to flip the paradigm of having too much housing for cars, and not enough for people.

Farhad Manjoo calls for the passage of AB 2097, which would prohibit minimum parking requirements near public transit, or at least SB 1067, which gives developers more leeway to get around parking minimums.

Meanwhile, UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup calls for enforcing the state’s parking cash-out law to reduce emissions and fight climate change.

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For early risers, the LACBC will host a Twitter Space to discuss women, children and bicycling starting at 6:00 this morning.

Yes, 6 am.

So chances are, you may have already missed it.

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

No bias here. Call it friendly fire, as a self-professed non-leg-shaving cyclist says everyone hates bike riders, so we should ride cringingly at the edge of the road to keep from annoying drivers more than they already are. Even in the English countryside where he says hedges block drivers’ views, making it far safer to take the lane, regardless of who you piss off.

Horrible news from the UK, where a woman riding a bicycle was left with a life-changing injury when a man sicced one of his large dogs on her, forcing it to bite her upper leg and clamp down for several minutes until she managed to break free, after accusing her of nearly running into his kid on a bike path. Let’s hope he goes away for a long time. And those dogs — and his kid — get a new home with someone who isn’t so cruel.

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Local

A writer for City Watch pushes back on the recently approved plans for a bus rapid transit line on Colorado Blvd through Eagle Rock, calling the reallocation of traffic lanes undemocratic because it doesn’t give all the road space to people in cars. Even though it seems far more democratic to reserve space for pedestrians, bike riders and yes, transit users, too.

The LACBC is working with Los Angeles Walks on a pilot program to encourage business owners in Wilmington and San Pedro to use ebikes.

 

State 

Calbike offers an update on active transportation bills in the state legislature, with a number still alive, including bills to legalize jaywalking, treat stop signs as yields, and require cities to include bike and pedestrian facilities in their circulation plans.

An op-ed from an Escondido urban planning student says California cities are unwalkable, unbikeable and dangerous, but they don’t have to be.

Très scandaleux! A San Diego TV station claims to have caught the 30th Street bike counter double counting some bike riders, not counting others, and even counting an armored truck illegally parked in the lane, which some local business owners claim proves the new bike lane is underused.

Berkeley residents are fighting for a carfree future on Telegraph Ave north of the UC Berkeley campus; as usual, business owners along the street are fighting back, unable to imagine any customers walking or biking to get there. If customers won’t walk or bike a few blocks to do business with you, there’s something seriously wrong with the way you do business.

 

National

NACTO says the US Department of Transportation is still taking comments on proposed safety regulations to make massive trucks and SUVs safer for bike riders and pedestrians; you have through Wednesday to voice your concerns. Or you can follow their template.

Portland is now installing lengthy lines of bike racks along sidewalks in an effort to keep homeless people from sleeping there.

Housing inspectors in Minneapolis are saying goodbye to their SUVs and using Rad Power ebikes to conduct their inspections instead; the city purchased five of the ebikes for a total of $12,000, and have already put 1,200 miles on them. Which is a hell of a lot less than they would have paid for five motor vehicles.

Syracuse NY is expected to approve a $700,000 settlement for a man who was critically injured when a speeding cop slammed into his bicycle; witnesses said the police car was traveling without lights or siren.

That’s more like it. New York City officials call for automated bike lane cams to crack down on scofflaw drivers who can’t resist turning them into parking lots.

One casualty of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was New York’s ultrafast bicycle delivery startup Buyk, which was forced to declare bankruptcy and layoff all of its American employees when US sanctions cut off access to its Russian co-founders and parent company, as well as financing from Russian banks.

Very Local highlights the top five “bicycling adventures” in the Big Easy. Although I suspect most New Orleans bike riders would prefer if riding there wasn’t quite so adventurous. 

Life is cheap in Florida, where a Vero Beach driver walked with a lousy $148 fine for swerving into a bike lane and killing a 63-year old man riding a bike, despite his long record of traffic violations and refusal to take a blood test.

 

International

Financial Times calls bicycles the cheap, green, low-tech solution for the world’s poorer megacities. Then again, they’re a pretty good solution for the rich ones, too. You can also read it here if you can’t get past their paywall.

Mounties in New Brunswick have written just 121 tickets in the five years since the province passed the equivalent of a three-foot passing law, known locally as Ellen’s Law, for a rising pro cyclist who was killed by a passing driver.

A Philippine transport group marks World Bicycle Day by calling on the government to ensure people on bicycles arrive alive.

A new study from a Sydney, Australia hospital shows injuries to delivery bicyclists are dramatically underreported, with delivery riders 13 times more likely than other bicyclists to be injured between the hours of 8 pm and midnight.

Melbourne, Australia will halt the installation of new bike lanes in the central business district, apparently unprepared for an entirely predictable bikelash from businesses and delivery drivers.

 

Competitive Cycling

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 89-year old Texas man is determined to complete this weekend’s 200-mile Gravel Unbound race, after missing the time cut at the 120-mile checkpoint last year.

European carmaker Škoda’s We Love Cycling website ranks the three greatest domestiques of all time.

 

Finally…

Start your new career as an NYC bike lane inspector. Fix your own bike, already.

And face it, you just can’t duck karma, instant or otherwise.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the link.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Hit-and-run driver busted in death of 15-year old Riverside boy, and Metro active transportation virtual meeting next week

Maybe there will be justice for Javier Gonzales after all.

Police in Riverside arrested 37-year old Rosendo Morales Caldera for the hit-and-run death of the 15-year old bike rider, who was killed on the first of this month.

Gonzales was riding salmon with a group of friends when he was run down by by the driver of a large black pickup, who kept going without slowing or stopping.

Caldera is currently being held behind bars in lieu of bail.

Police impounded his black Chevy truck as evidence, which should happen in every alleged hit-and-run.

But too often doesn’t.

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Here’s your chance to tell Metro what you need to be safer in your commute and community.

And maybe mention it’s time to stop wasting money on highway projects in the middle of a climate emergency.

https://twitter.com/MaverickMPA/status/1507238721891889153

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SoCal’s killer highway continues to claim new victims.

I’m told the victim works at the Getty Villa, which leaves no viable option to commute by bike other than PCH, which continues to operate as a cut-through highway when it should be Malibu’s Main Street.

Thanks to Todd Munson for the heads-up. 

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Slow roll Adams Blvd on Sunday to check out LADOT’s safety improvements on the formerly dangerous corridor.

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LACBC invites you to attend their first-ever Bike Salon on Thursday, which will actually be held in person, rather than virtually.

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OC bike advocate Mike Wilkinson is parting ways with his lovingly used tandem.

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Apparently, even a five-year old can beat rush hour traffic on his way to school Britain. Even without decent bikeways.

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

In a prime example of too little, if not too late, Las Vegas area cops clamped down on drivers who endanger bike riders, enforcing traffic laws and educating motorists on how to share the road — for a whole four hours. Now they just need to do something the other 8,756 hours in the year.

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

Police busted a man who robbed a Kansas gas station, then made his getaway by bicycle. Maybe he was really just an anti-car freedom fighter raising funds for the rebellion. It could happen. 

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Local

No bias here. The Hancock Park Homeowners Association hosted a candidate forum for the people running to replace Paul Koretz in CD5 — but notably excluded former Mid City West Neighborhood Council chair Scott Epstein, a longtime supporter of a bike-friendly street on 4th Street opposed by the wealthy neighborhood.

 

State 

A 58-year old Rancho Bernardo man is planning to ride 3,400 miles across the US to raise funds for diabetic research, inspired by his 25-year old daughter, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was just eight months old.

A 32-year old Fresno man was stabbed when he tried to defend himself from a group of men who demanded his bike; fortunately, he’s expected to make a full recovery.

Sad news from Eureka, where someone on a bicycle was killed when they were run down by the driver of a pickup.

 

National

PeopleForBikes celebrates the removal of Trump’s 25% tariffs on Chinese-made bicycles and parts.

USA Today says you need an ebike to cope with rising gas prices. Meanwhile, CleanTechnica provides a primer on the proper care and feeding of your ebike.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission issued a recall for Ninebot Children’s Bicycle Helmets for failing to meet minimum federal safety standards.

Black and brown Colorado bike riders say the state’s proposed Stop As Yield law, aka the stop sign part of the Idaho Stop Law, would keep them safer from both cars and cops, reducing the risk of Biking While Black or Brown stops that target people of color, as well as reducing potentially dangerous interactions with police. Maybe that argument that would finally get a California bill past Newsom’s veto pen.

Hurry up to Yellowstone, where you can enjoy 49 miles of blissfully carfree roads for the next three weeks, before the national park is opened to motor vehicles. Although you still need to keep an eye peeled for bears and bison, among other potentially unfriendly fauna.

Even in Iowa, people are biking to work instead of driving, while a writer for the University of Iowa student newspaper says now is the perfect time to start bicycling.

A Memphis man is turning old car and truck tires into decorative barriers to protect people on bicycles.

Boston bike advocates point out the benefits of bicycling while calling for safer conditions on the streets.

A Louisiana driver who killed a bike rider last month tested positive for narcotics following the crash, though there’s no mention of what he was allegedly on.

A Florida man was convicted — again — of killing a teenaged boy over a stolen bicycle when he was just 15 years old. The victim had purchased the boy’s stolen bicycle, not knowing it was hot, then offered to sell it back to him for just $10; he returned with a gun after riding the bike home because he felt disrespected. The original conviction had been overturned because police had questioned him after he requested a lawyer. We’ve said it before — no bike is worth taking or sacrificing a life. Period.

 

International

Bike Radar offers a buyers guide to bike trailers, while confessing that yes, they do change how you have to ride and the way your bike feels

Bizarre case from Wales, where a woman played doctor — literally — by treating the victim of an ebike crash, despite having no medical background. Yet she somehow walked with the equivalent of a lousy $790 fine.

Oops. Scofflaw drivers who parked in an English shared bus and bike lane will get their fines refunded, after the city discovered the authorization for the lane had expired and they hadn’t bothered to renew it.

Life is cheap in Jersey, where a 67-year old driver walked with the equivalent of a $6,500 fine for the right-cross crash — the equivalent of a left-cross in the US — that likely left a bike-riding woman with lifelong pain from a broken back, fractured rib and collapsed lung.

A new study from a UC Berkeley researcher looks at the remarkably rapid Parisian bike boom, as the city transformed itself during the Covid pandemic.

Add this one to your bike bucket list. British bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid rides the 75-mile car-free Vennbahn rail-trail through Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg, which remains a 30-foot wide swath of Belgium even as it passes through the other countries.

 

Competitive Cycling

Milan-San Remo winner Matej Mohorič says it wasn’t just the dropper post that delivered his victory, he also used oversized disc rotors and new, secret wheel bearings.

 

Finally…

Maybe God is out to get us, too. People are more likely to bike commute when slower drivers are less likely to kill them.

And that feeling when you try to break an iPhone by riding your bike off a phone booth.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

15-year old boy riding salmon killed in Riverside hit-and-run; 22nd SoCal bike death this year, 7th fatal hit-and-run

The carnage continues on Southern California streets, as yet another person riding a bicycle has been killed by a heartless hit-and-run driver.

This time, the victim was just 15-years old.

According to multiple sources, he was struck by a driver while riding in the 2200 block of Main Street in Riverside, near Poplar Avenue, around 9:30 pm Tuesday.

The victim, identified as Colton resident Javier Gonzales, died at the scene less than 25 minutes later, after suffering major injuries.

Security cam video acquired by KCBS2/KCAL9 shows Gonzales was riding against traffic with three other boys when he was struck by the driver of a speeding pickup, who kept going without slowing down.

His friends immediately dropped their bikes and chased after the driver, but weren’t able to catch him or get the license plate.

Police are looking for a black or dark-colored full size pickup. Anyone with information is urged to call Riverside Police Department Traffic Detective Jeff Derouin at 951/826-8722, or email Jderouin@riversideca.gov.

They note that this is the fifth fatal crash in the city in just six days. But the other drivers at least had the basic human decency to remain at the scene.

Ironically, the driver would have been unlikely to face charges in this case if he or she had simply stopped after the crash. Now they face up to four years behind bars for felony hit-and-run.

This is at least the 22nd bicycling fatality in Southern California already this year, and the fifth that I’m aware of in Riverside County.

Seven of those deaths have been hit-and-runs.

Update: Police have arrested a 37-year old man as the hit-and-run driver who killed Javier Gonzales. As of March 24th, Rosendo Morales Caldera was being held without bail. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Javier Gonzales and all his family and loved ones.

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