Tag Archive for justice for cyclists

Scarpa trial Monday for killing Costa Mesa fire captain, wrist slap for killer SD AG, and Malibu postpones PCH meeting

The allegedly stoned driver who killed a popular Costa Mesa fire captain will finally face justice next week.

The Daily Pilot reports that 27-year old Stephen Taylor Scarpa will go on trial for murder on Monday for fatally running down 44-year-old Rancho Santa Margarita resident Mike Kreza as he was training for a triathlon in 2018.

According to the paper,

Kreza was off duty and riding his bike in Mission Viejo on Nov. 3 when a van driven by Scarpa drove off the roadway at Alicia Parkway and traveled 8 feet across the curb line, a sidewalk and an embankment, striking Kreza.

Police found Scarpa sitting on a curb following the crash, apparently intoxicated. He admitted to investigators he had shot up a combination of methamphetamine and fentanyl while at a party, along with taking an anxiety medication.

Kreza died two days later, leaving behind his wife and three young children.

The murder charge suggests this wasn’t Scarpa’s first DUI arrest, and that he had probably signed a Watson advisement indicating he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while intoxicated, following a previous conviction.

The paper reports Scarpa has remained in county jail for 1,032 days since his arrest — nearly three years — by the time he goes on trial Monday.

Chance are, he’ll end up serving a lot more than that.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

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If you want to get away with killing someone, use a car.

Or better yet, get elected attorney general.

South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg was sentenced Thursday for a fatal hit-and-run crash. And walked without a single day behind bars.

The judge gave Ravnsborg a gentle caress on the wrist, allowing him to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts for a total of $1,000 in fines.

Which is apparently what a human life goes for in South Dakota these days.

Even an order to do some sort of public service to mark the anniversary of the victim’s death was put on hold, when Ravnsborg’s attorney argued it wasn’t allowed under the statute.

Authorities allowed Ravnsborg to claim he kept driving because he thought he hit a deer, rather than a man walking along the roadway. Even though the victim did a face plant in the AG’s windshield, leaving his glasses in the car where investigators found them the next day.

You’d think most people would have recognized a human face staring back at them through the windshield. Or at the very least, stopped to see what they hit.

But apparently, that kind of logic isn’t required for elected office in the state.

By continuing home, Ravnsborg may also have escaped a DUI count by delaying a blood alcohol test until 15 hours after the crash, by which time any alcohol consumed at the political fundraiser he attended would have been safely out of his system.

And it was.

Ravnsborg capped it off his extremely minimal sentence with a very self-serving statement.

The state’s governor and at least some legislators are calling for Ravnsborg to be impeached, since he refuses to step down.

We can hope, anyway.

Thanks to Pat Benson for the heads-up.

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To be continued.

Malibu pulled the plug on last night’s planned discussion on widening the shoulder on a two-mile segment of PCH, rescheduling the meeting for next month.

Supporters describe the proposed project as improving safety for people on bicycles. But others fear it would just move us into the door zone, instead.

I’m told that the wider shoulders will allow plenty of room for both bikes and parked cars, without posing a risk to the people on two wheels.

But let’s get serious.

That would require at least seven to eight feet to the right of the roadway and the left of parked cars. Anything less would be in the door zone.

So if there’s that much space already built into this plan, why don’t they just install bike lanes, instead?

Or better yet, a parking protected bike lane.

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CD14 Councilmember Kevin de León wants to know what you want to see on Huntington Drive.

You know what to tell him.

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Good news for anyone who walks. Or crosses the street.

https://twitter.com/LosAngelesWalks/status/1430988640298012672

On the other hand, the legislature killed AB 1401, which was murdered died in committee; the bill would have allowed cities to reduce parking minimums for new buildings near transit stations.

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This is what you call expert level trolling.

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A brilliant solution for locking your bike.

Unless the thief has a chain tool.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for forwarding the tweet.

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

Two British men have been charged with murder, and a third with assisting them, for intentionally running down a man as he and a woman were riding bicycles; the men allegedly abandoned and burned the car they used in an attempt to coverup the crime.

An Australian man faces charges for deliberately ramming three people on bicycles in three separate incidents just minutes apart as they were riding in a bike lane earlier this month; fortunately, none of the victims was seriously injured.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton politely takes LADOT and the LA Bureau of Engineering to task for a number of missed opportunities to install bike lanes, or protect the ones they did install.

Climate Resolve considers Eagle Rock’s resident-driven Beautiful Boulevard plan to remake Colorado Blvd into a green, safe and vibrant street, calling it an opportunity for climate action.

The Los Angeles Times suggests 13 parking hacks they say every driver should know. Although the best hack is to just take transit. Or ride a bike.

LA firefighters have made it to the halfway point in St. Louis on their cross-country ride to the former site of the World Trade Center to honor the victims of the 9/11 attack.

 

State

A tandem-riding San Diego couple are fed up with the trash lining the city’s Kearny Villa Road, saying nothing has been done despite repeated complaints to the city. On the other hand, when Phil Gaimon got tired of seeing all the trash and litter on Mulholland in the Hollywood Hills, he organized his own volunteer clean-up operation.

A Monterey County writer makes an impassioned defense of an unfinished “bike path to nowhere,” insisting it will be worth it once it’s completed and connects to other bikeways.

A Chico man got his bicycle back six months after it was stolen when police noticed it in a homeless camp, because he had recorded the bike’s serial number and reported it to the police. Although an even better option is to register your bike now so you have all the information before anything happens to it.

 

National

Cycling Tip’s Caley Fretz wants to know where his stolen bike was for the past three years, after it suddenly showed up locked to a Boulder, Colorado fence, mostly intact, not far from where he lived when it was taken.

Boise, Idaho will host a “wonderfully weird” pedal-powered party to celebrate the removal of the dreaded bike tire-puncturing Goathead plants.

How to explore Kansas City by bicycle on your next BBQ pilgrimage.

Continuing with this week’s theme of restoring our faith in humanity, a firefighter foundation in Wausau, Wisconsin bought a new bike for a teenage boy after the bicycle he used to deliver newspapers and care for lawns was trashed in a collision.

Someone is targeting Chicago bikeshare riders by stealing their bikes at implied gunpoint after they unlock them.

A Cleveland website says the only risks you face on Michigan’s carfree Mackinac Island are horse poop, bike traffic and distracted pedestrians.

Speaking of Cleveland, a 58-year old man had to relearn how to walk after shattering his leg in a motorcycle crash, and celebrated his recovery by riding a bicycle 3814 miles through 14 states.

New York is moving forward with plans for congestion pricing, after reaching an agreement with the Biden administration to conduct an environmental review of charging drivers a toll to enter central Manhattan; it would be the first such fee in the US. Meanwhile, Los Angeles officials are doing what they do best, conducting a study of Metro’s congestion pricing proposal. Which usually results in studying it to death.

 

International

Bicycling can be a pain in the back, literally. So read this Cycling Weekly story about the causes of lower back pain, and how to prevent it.

Toronto bicyclists demand immediate improvements after an 18-year old man was killed by the driver of a dump truck, after he was forced to ride through a construction zone when a bike lane ended and dumped him into busy traffic; a bike advocate had warned something like that was likely to happen just two days before it actually did.

Treehugger responds to the same Toronto death by arguing that it’s time for the construction industry to prioritize the safety of people who walk or bike.

Los Angeles becomes the poster child for bad scooter behavior, as a Dublin letter writer uses it as a bad example of what he hopes the Irish city won’t become.

Paris continues to make huge strides towards safety and livability, by reducing speed limits on most streets to just 18 mph.

A former Afghan government minister is happy just to have a job, working as a bicycle delivery rider after moving to Germany in hope of a better future.

Cycling News reports on efforts to get women cyclists out of Afghanistan over fears they will be targeted by the Taliban for breaking traditional taboos.

Dozens of bicyclists took to the streets of Yemen’s capital to call for peace in the war torn country.

One hundred people faced road rage charges in Japan last year, with 24 tagged for brake checks and 20 sudden lane changes; four of the cases were blamed on bike riders.

 

Competitive Cycling

Surprisingly, two-time defending Vuelta champ Primož Roglič lost more time in Thursday’s stage 12, now standing almost two minutes behind oddly named leader Odd Christian Eiking of Norway.

LA-based Continental cycling team L39ION of Los Angeles lived up to their usual winning ways in the team’s first-ever stage race, taking both the men’s and women’s races in the opening stage of the Fayetteville, Arkansas Joe Martin Stage Race.

VeloNews dives head first into the debate over whether there should be separate categories for elite women gravel racers.

 

Finally…

Think of it as a fondo where you reduce your time by eating donuts. That feeling when your winning breakaway is suddenly halted by a car fire.

And it turns out Dutch kids aren’t born on bikes, after all.

https://twitter.com/NLinSF/status/1430600351028191235

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

Justice grinds slowly in SoCal bike cases, reward in previously unknown hit-and-run, and DUI driver injures man on bike path

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from our anonymous legal correspondent.

She’s back today with a long list of cases that are slowly working their way through the court system.

Along with a few killer drivers scheduled to get out from behind bars too damn soon.

………

Mariah Kandise Banks, charged in the hit-and-run death of Frederick “Woon” Frazier, has yet another prelim reset date coming up on July 13th. This case is just so long and drawn out, and meanwhile, Banks continues to drive and has not ceased her harassment of Woon’s family, in violation of Judge Hobbs’ repeated reminders,

On April 10th, I attended a group march from Woon’s mama’s house to the site of his slaughter, where a new ghost bike was installed. It is really horrible to have to see his mama right there at the scene where a stranger held her son as he died.

In speaking to our group, she told us all she was thankful that so many people showed up and are still fighting to make things safer.

The DA’s office has not been very communicative. I feel that the DA’s office is in violation Marsy’s Law. My understanding is that the clerk has even outright hung up on Miz Beverly. I spoke with Edin (Chief Lunes) at the event, and suggested that perhaps a calm, independent liaison would be helpful in exchanging information. Naturally he volunteered. I spoke to Miz Beverly about this and I think it is a relief to her that she doesn’t have to pick up that phone herself to harangue the prosecutor, who’s really dropping the ball.

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On the subject of long, drawn-out cases, Justin Scott German has his next appearance date on August 18th for the alleged drunken hit-and-run death of 41-year-old Binh Ngo in Huntington Beach.

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Scuzzy Andrea Dorothy Chan Reyes, who told the mechanics who cleaned the blood off her dented car that she’d hit a dog, and subsequently fled to another continent, is eligible for parole in October. Yes, October 2021.

(Chan Reyes was sentenced to seven years just three months ago for the 2017 hit-and-run death of Agustin Rodriguez, after dragging Rodriguez the length of two football fields under her car as she sped away — then fleeing to Hong Kong and Australia in an ultimately vain attempt to avoid prosecution. Evidently, seven years doesn’t last as long as it used to.)

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I remain furious that Brandon James Lindsley only got 7 goddamn years for the hit-and-run death of Carla Becerra while illegally riding a motorcycle on the San Gabriel River Trail, but at least he’s not eligible for parole until… February 2023.

Becerra’s ghost bike is still there next to the river trail, so I added some flowers for her birthday a couple weeks ago.

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Unrelated to bikes, repeat drunk driver Maritza Joana Lara, who killed a dad on Father’s Day and critically injured four other people, then fled the scene on foot before her arrest in Mexico, will be eligible for parole in 2033.

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Stephen Taylor Scarpa, who left Costa Mesa Fire Captain Mike Kreza’s three little girls fatherless, is still set for a jury trial in August. Scarpa is charged with murder for allegedly driving while stoned when he killed Kreza as the popular firefighter was training for a triathlon while riding in Mission Viejo.

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Richard David Lavalle, charged with murder in the death of a 12-year-old autistic boy as he rode bikes with his dad in a Costa Mesa crosswalk, wants to fire his public defender. If this doesn’t happen, his prelim will likely proceed as scheduled September 21st.

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Robert Calvin Mata, who killed John Crouch at PCH & 1st in downtown Huntington Beach late last month, remains under investigation for DUI (drugs, not alcohol).

A commenter on your blog said that the crosswalk on the south side of that intersection had been removed, but I remember being surprised that one wasn’t intstalled after the new development went in, given the great increase in pedestrian activity it’s brought to that location.

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Ronald Earl Kenebrew, Jr., who was already locked up awaiting a court date on charges of robbery & indecent exposure, was arraigned yesterday on charges of murder, carjacking, and hit & run in the death of Branden Finley as he rode to the Ride For Black Lives in Downtown Los Angeles last year. The court website hasn’t been updated, so I dunno the outcome of his hearing.

LA Superior Court opens back up this week, and I’ll be there to do some digging into a backlog of cases.

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School teacher Molly Jane Hoene had a preliminary hearing scheduled for June 21st, and no further hearings scheduled as yet, but her bail still stands, so I don’t think the charges were dropped. Hoene was arrested for the 2019 hit-and-run death of a homeless bike rider in Silver Lake that was caught on security cam.

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Moises Iscaya, who fled the scene after killing South LA father Jorge Guerra on July 8th as he rode bikes home with his two kids last fall, is likely to be declared mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Investigators found Iscaya three months later, already in custody on multiple unrelated charges, including murder.

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Jared Walter Anderson, who allegedly squished the life out of scooter rider Evan Dyer Faram at Sunset & Vine in 2019, faces the judge again on July 15th.

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On a separate not, last month, on Friday, May 14th, I was waiting for the bus at Fig & Pico about 11am, and a ride rolled by… and rolled and rolled and rolled… I thought the river of bikes was never going to end. I honestly started wondering whether they had just looped a few blocks and were going around in a circle. A young man yelled an invitation, so I jumped in and followed a guy riding backwards for at least a half mile. To this day I still don’t know what this ride was!!!!! All ages. Guys, gals. Fixie trash. Insta-girls. Geezers on trikes. BMX kids. Dogs in backpacks, dogs in baskets. Spandex, cargo shorts, hot pants, and a skirt or two… everybody and all their neighbors. Just an amazing encounter. Los Angeles, 2021. Wow.

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The LAPD announced a $50,000 reward for the hit-and-run driver who killed Leo Dimeglio as he was riding his bicycle on eastbound Jefferson Blvd around 11:41 p.m on June 10th.

Unfortunately, this is the first we’ve heard of the fatal crash. It shouldn’t take nearly three weeks for the police to inform the public that an innocent person has been killed. Let alone ask for our help in apprehending a heartless, cowardly, killer driver.

I’ll have a more detailed story later today.

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Once again, a driver has gotten onto a supposedly carfree bike trail — this time with tragic results.

An alleged drunk driver somehow got onto Sacramento’s popular American River Parkway and slammed into the Sacramento Wheelmen group ride, leaving one rider in critical condition with severe injuries.

Let’s hope the victim makes a fast and full recovery, and that they secure the trail to keep it from ever happening again.

And that the driver is never again allowed behind the wheel.

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

A Boston man is under arrest for slashing a food delivery rider on the arm with an “industrial-style pocket knife” in an apparent random attack. The victim was treated at the scene but refused further medical attention.

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

San Francisco police are offering a $25,000 reward for the 2016 fatal shooting of a man in the Tenderloin District; a security cam captured an image of the suspect riding on the handlebars of another man’s bike; the bike rider has been cleared, but the shooter is still at large.

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Local

For the first time since the 1980s, Los Angeles doesn’t has the worst traffic in the US. The Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim region was number two last year, behind the New York-Newark area. Which, oddly, is exactly what it feels like to ride a bike here.

Progressive news site Knock LA looks at the fight to form a union representing Metro Bike workers, who don’t actually work for Metro.

The new state budget includes $4.3 million in funding for a proposed walking path along the San Gabriel River.

 

State

Streetsblog offers an update on key issues that passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee yesterday, including a bill allowing bike riders to treat stop signs as yields, a bill legalizing jaywalking, and a third allowing cameras on buses to capture bus lane violations. So we can have cameras on buses, but no speed cams in school zones. Got it.

San Diego safety advocates are calling for drivers to pay attention after the recent rash of bike deaths in the county.

A San Luis Obispo paper say the transportation bill currently taking shape in the US House — as opposed to the recently announced bipartisan bill — contains $20 million for transportation projects in SLO and Santa Barbara counties, including a bike path connecting Morro Bay and Cayucos.

San Francisco Streetsblog calls out a deadly combination of reckless driving and unsafe street design for the needless death of a man riding his bike home from work in Hayworth last week.

 

National

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske examines the safety and legalities of modern roundabouts.

The Christian Science Monitor questions whether America even knows how to do infrastructure anymore.

They get it. The county surrounding Boise, Idaho is suddenly a national leader in protecting bike riders, committing to install protected bike lanes whenever they resurface any of the most dangerous multilane roadways in the region. Maybe the newly bike-friendly Caltrans can follow their lead. Let alone the ostensibly progressive LADOT.

Visions of cowboys on scooters, as e-scooters hit the streets of Cheyenne, Wyoming just in time for the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota is expanding its 35-mile network of bike trails to serve the area’s one million annual users.

A Minnesota bike rider calls on drivers to look out for people on bicycles after he was nearly run down while riding in a crosswalk with his girlfriend while crossing with the walk signal.

The carnage continues in New York, where a 71-year old man was killed when he was stuck by a postal truck in an apparent right hook.

A New York county approves its own three-foot passing law after concluding bike riders need more protection than the state’s “safe distance” passing rule.

That’s more like it. A University of Pennsylvania cop goes viral for her friendly interaction with an Instagram star, as she and her partner join him in passing out sandwiches after initially responding to a call of bike riders blocking the sidewalk.

The DC bike community is in mourning after 61-year-old Jay Moglia died of a massive heart attack while leading a group ride last Saturday; the former bike messenger, racer and cycling trainer was a renowned figure in the Washington area.

 

International

Treehugger rates the year’s best ebike conversion kits.

Pink Bike takes a spin on Earthbound’s high pivot bamboo-frame enduro bike. And likes it.

A British Columbia man questions whether the motorcyclist who ran down his bicycle-riding mother caught a break because authorities thought he was a “nice” and “decent” man.

A Clinton, Ontario website looks back to the “Victorian age of muscular Christianity,” when a group of itinerant American clergymen rode into town on their Penny Farthings under the banner of the newly formed American Wheelmen.

He gets it, too. A Montreal writer questions whether an accident waiting to happen that puts children, bike riders and pedestrians at risk is still an accident.

A British transport minister says no, there is no chance bike riders will be required to wear license numbers, regardless of the demands of “Mr. Loophole,” a lawyer who specializes in getting wealthy drivers off the hook.

Okay, so they weren’t on a bicycle. It’s still worth mentioning two Indian men sharing a motorcycle who escaped a charging leopard by feeding him cake. Although something tells me the big cat will be waiting to blow to the candles when they come back.

A new Australian study hopes to determine whether “excessive” recreational riding leads to heart problems in non-elite bicyclists.

 

Competitive Cycling

Spoiler alert: Skip this section if you still have yesterday’s stage of the Tour de France in your viewing queue. Still here? The news that aging Mark Cavendish won his first stage of the Tour de France in six years is just to big to hide behind a spoiler-free link; the win leaves the sprinter just three victories behind The Cannibal’s record of 34 Tour stage wins.

The entire peloton stepped off their bikes for a silent protest at the start of yesterday’s stage to call attention to the dangerous conditions that have led to a rash of crashes in this year’s Tour, arguing that someone could be killed next time.

The woman who caused a massive crash with her sign in the first stage of the Tour has disappeared after fleeing France to parts unknown.

Now you, too, can wear the same kit as LA’s own L39ION of Los Angeles cycling team.

 

Finally…

A driver cuts out the middleman and runs down bikes before they even leave the shop. Nothing will test your relationship like riding 3,700 miles on a tandem.

And that’s one way to do a multimodal commute.

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

Update: Guilty plea in case of fallen OC cyclist Joseph Robinson

A source calling from the courthouse in Orange County has just reported that the driver who killed 21-year old Jax Bicycle Center employee Joseph Robinson has pleaded guilty to hit-and-run and drug charges, and will face significant jail time.

Sommer Niclole Gonzales, just 18 at the time of the collision, was sentenced to spend the next 11 years of her life behind bars after she admitted responsibility and waived her right to appeal.

Robinson was taking the long way to work on a sunny February morning last year when he was run down from behind while riding in the bike lane on Santiago Canyon Road.

He was hit with enough force to knock him and his bike completely off the roadway; his body was only discovered because an off-duty fire captain spotted a car with a shattered windshield speeding in the opposite direction, then saw a single shoe lying on the side of the roadway.

Gonzales was arrested in a parking lot a short time later as a friend helped her transfer her belongings into another car, in an apparent attempt to cover up her responsibility for the crime. She was found in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia at the time of her arrest.

No word on why her friend wasn’t charged for assisting in the attempted coverup.

The victim’s family was reportedly in tears following the sentencing.

According to the source, the judge’s final words to her were “What a tragedy. Just because you wanted to do meth.”

Update: I corrected the above quote from the judge, which was off slightly due to a bad phone connection.

Gonzales will get credit for 888 days served, reducing her sentence by nearly two-and-a-half years; she’ll also serve three years parole upon her release.

Update 2: According to a press release from the Orange County DA’s office, Gonzales was found guilty of:

  • Felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated
  • Felony hit and run with death
  • Misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance
  • Misdemeanor use and under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance paraphernalia
  • Along with a sentencing enhancement allegation for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter

Robinson’s family offered emotional impact statements, including this video from his mother showing him riding in happier days.

Then there’s this moving quote from his sister.

“My heart literally hurts when I think about my brother, I can’t think about him without crying. My drive to work takes me right past the accident site where his ghost bike is still hanging. Every morning and night as I pass that spot, I tell Joey aloud that I love him and cry.”

If you’ve ever wondered what harm driving under the influence can cause, that pretty much sums it up.

Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling for the press release.

Update 3: My News LA adds more details, including quotes from Robinson’s family members and his girlfriend. 

The story also quotes Gonzales’ attorney explaining that she had first tried marijuana at age 12, and quickly moved on to meth, which she had been her drug of choice ever since.

According to the attorney, she knew she had hit something, and stopped to see what it was, but continued on when she didn’t see Robinson or his bike. 

All hands on deck: Ride and vigil tonight for justice in Milt Olin case; is the DA’s office involved in a cover-up?

Let’s be honest.

When a prosecutor really wants to file charges in a traffic case, they’ll tear the vehicle code apart until they find something that sticks.

So when the DA’s office examines a case and concludes there’s nothing there, it’s more often an indication that they don’t want to prosecute, for whatever reason.

Like when it’s a cop who ran down a cyclist, for instance.

When the LA County DA’s office announced last week they weren’t filing charges against the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin, they concluded (pdf) that he had not violated the state prohibition against texting while driving because police officers in the course of their duty are exempted from the law. Never mind that he’d also been texting — illegally — with his wife as recently as one minute prior to the wreck.

And yet, I’ve repeatedly been told by officers from a number of different police agencies that it’s not just the act of texting behind the wheel that’s against the law, but simply being distracted while driving. For whatever reason.

From putting on makeup or eating, to simply changing the stations on the radio. And yes, some people still listen to the radio when they drive.

Anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road is distracted driving. Or as cited by the LA Times, “wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

By that standard, Deputy Wood was clearly distracted when he ran down Olin’s bike from behind.

In fact, by his own admission, he never even saw Olin or knew he was driving in the bike lane when he hit him at somewhere around 48 mph, which was his last recorded speed prior to the impact.

He could just as well have been charged with making an illegal lane change. Or driving in a bike lane.

Or even the catch-all violation when police can’t come up with anything else to charge a driver — or too often, a bike rider — with, violating CVC 22350, the state’s basic speed law.

After all, no speed is safe when you have no idea where you’re driving or what’s in the road directly in front of you.

And any or all of which could be used to support the sheriff’s investigator’s recommended charge of vehicular manslaughter.

So the question becomes one of why they’re not willing to file charges. Any charges.

It could, as many have speculated, be a case of looking out for their own; the District Attorney relies on police officers to build their cases, and may be reluctant to prosecute an officer as a result.

Or it could simply be that the death of a cyclist — even one as prominent as entertainment lawyer and former Napster executive Milt Olin — just isn’t worth their time.

Or it could be a cover-up.

By prosecuting Wood, the deputy could be forced to testify in his defense that, even though using the onboard computer while driving is officially against sheriff’s department policy, the unofficial policy encourages officers to do just the opposite.

Which would make higher-ups in the department complicit in Olin’s death. And could have led them to pressure the DA not to file.

Maybe there’s a more innocent explanation for the failure to charge the driver with something.

Anything.

But the official explanation doesn’t hold water.

And the fact that they’ve left themselves open to this kind of speculation shows just how wrong that decision was.

………

If this case pisses you off as much as it does me, you’ll have your chance to demand justice for Milt Olin, and all of us, tonight.

The LACBC, Yield to Life and Ghost Bikes LA are hosting a ride and vigil for Milt Olin to call on the DA to revisit the case and press charges.

This is an all-hands-on-deck demand for justice.

If there’s any way you can be there for all or part of it, you owe it to yourself to attend. Because the more people who participate, and the more varied the riders who attend, the better our message will penetrate the insulated offices of the District Attorney.

I’m going to do my best to attend the vigil, at least. If you don’t see me there, it means my health has knocked me on my ass once again.

From the LACBC website:

When: Wednesday, September 3

Schedule:

  • 4:00 p.m. Meet at crash site (around 22532 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA 91302)
  • 4:15 p.m. Moment of silence
  • 4:30 p.m. Start ride
  • 6:30 p.m. Leave from the L.A. Zoo parking lot (5333 Zoo Dr, Griffith Park, CA 90027). Other riders can meet up here.
  • 7:30-8:00 p.m. Arrive at District Attorney’s office (210 W Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012)
  • 8:00 p.m. Candlelight vigil

The public is invited to join us at the beginning, ride with us, join us for the vigil, or meet us at any point along the way (exact route to be determined).

Route: https://goo.gl/maps/Y4xFh

The route follows major streets through the San Fernando Valley and Griffith Park to Downtown Los Angeles. Riders will be expected to stay alert and follow all traffic laws. The ride is scheduled to arrive in Downtown just after sunset, therefore lights are required by law.

The route is 30 miles. Riders should come prepared with water and snacks to stay fueled.

Shorter options:

  • Start at the L.A. Zoo parking lot (5333 Zoo Dr, Griffith Park, CA 90027) for an approximately 10-mile ride into Downtown. Please arrive no later than 6:15 and be ready to ride by 6:30 p.m.
  • Start in Calabasas, ride 17 miles to the Universal City Red Line station (located at Lankershim Blvd and Campo de Cahuenga), and take the Red Line to Civic Center, where the D.A.’s office is located (210 W Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012). Riders who lag behind the main group will be asked to take this option.
  • Join us for the vigil. People are welcome to skip the ride and meet us at the D.A.’s office. The ride is expected to arrive between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m.
  • Meet us along the way. We will do our best to live-tweet our location with the hashtag #rideformilt. Follow us @lacbc.

Getting to the ride:

  • The start is on a suburban section of Mulholland Highway with little to no on-street parking (approximate address: 22532 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA 91302). We recommend taking the Metro Orange Line or Orange Line Bike Path to De Soto or Canoga and riding from there. Free park-and-rides are available along the Orange Line.
  • Check out the Facebook event and feel free to post feeder rides there.

Getting from the ride:

  • The best option is always riding (with lights!) or taking transit.
  • If you parked at a Metro Orange Line park-and-ride, take the Red Line from Civic Center to North Hollywood. Then either transfer to the Orange Line (limit 3 bikes per bus) or ride along the Orange Line Bike Path to your car.

Questions? Post them in the Facebook event or call the office at 213-629-2142 and we’ll do our best to respond before the ride.

 

A year in jail for killer Moorpark driver, cyclist hit by Maserati on Rock Store climb, and your Morning Links

Somehow, this one fell through the cracks last month.

Susan Levy, a cousin of fallen Moorpark cyclist Bernie Cooper’s widow, reported that the driver who killed him pled guilty to felony hit-and-run and two related misdemeanor counts.

Twenty-two year old Ridgecrest resident Nicholas Santiago was sentenced to one year in jail and five years probation.

Santiago hit Cooper’s bike as he was riding on Tierra Rejada Road with enough force that Cooper’s body was thrown into a nearby tree. Santiago fled the scene, but apparently had a change of heart and returned half an hour later to accept responsibility.

Thanks to Levy for keeping us in the loop. And my apologies for the delay in reporting this.

……….

Reports are a cyclist was airlifted to a hospital after being struck by a Maserati on the Rock Store Climb — aka the Snake — on Mulholland yesterday morning. No word on the condition of the rider.

Paul Herold, the famed photographer who documents the activity on that contested stretch of roadway — and offered advice here on how to stay safe there — somehow managed to capture the male victim in midair following the initial impact. Personally, I think it’s in poor taste to post a photo of someone in the process of being injured, so use your own judgment on whether to click the link.

However, it should also be noted that Herold was seen comforting the victim until help arrived.

And of course, the comments devolve into whether cyclists should be allowed on the crowded roadway, especially on weekends. A better question is why speeding motorists are allowed to test their limited skills there.

Thanks to David Huntsman for the links.

……….

Interesting idea. Denver has an Amber Alert-type system to warn the public to be on the watch for hit-and-run vehicles, called a Medina Alert. Oregon is considering a similar system, which was named after a 21-year old man killed in a hit-and-run.

Maybe we should push our City Council members and state legislators to get a similar system in place here. Especially one that notifies every body shop to be on the lookout for a car matching the description of the suspect vehicle — with serious penalties for failing to report it the police.

Of course, the problem with any citywide program is that drivers could sidestep the law by taking their vehicles across the city limit, where compliance would be voluntary rather than mandatory.

On the other hand, the city can usually move much faster than the lumbering state legislature to get something like that in place.

Thanks to our anonymous OC/South Bay source for the tip.

……….

Local

Friday’s Critical Mass will honor hit-and-run victims with a candlelight vigil.

A LAPD officer and a bike rider both suffered injuries in a South LA fight after the rider refused to accept a vehicle code citation. Or maybe they’re predicting the future, since the article — dated today — says the fight occurred, or maybe will occur, at 9:35 tonight. Though I assume they meant last night.

Outside Magazine looks at the recent uncanceled Marathon Crash ride, while the LA Weekly offers a comparison of the Ballona Creek bike path and the Elysian Valley section of the LA River bike path.

Errands by bike are easier when you add the Red Line to your route.

USC’s Neon Tommy looks at the benefits and challenges of riding in LA, and offers a vision for the future.

Cynergy Cycles offers a free seminar on making extreme cycling events easier with science on Wednesday.

If you still give a damn about the Lance Armstong saga, the Times reviews two new books on the subject.

Long Beach’s Charlie Gandy offers a detailed look at the city’s streetdecks.

 

State

More proof that bike riders aren’t always the good guys as a Riverside County cyclist stabs a driver in the neck and steals his vehicle.

A 23-year old driver turns himself in for killing a cyclist in a Half Moon Bay hit-and-run. Maybe he had enough time to sober up before coming forward.

Fruit of the poisonous tree? A Napa man is arrested for meth possession after being stopped for texting while riding his bike. Except texting on a bike isn’t illegal in California, which could call the stop and everything that followed into question if he has a good lawyer.

A Yuba City program teaches people with disabilities to ride a conventional two-wheeled bike independently; I’d love to see a program like that here. And everywhere.

A local cyclist with nearly 50-years riding experience writes the book on Northern California’s best riding routes.

 

National

A Tucson women develops an LED/reflective harness to improve bike and pedestrian safety.

Tulsa gets its first mile-long bike lanes following a road diet; do I really have to say some residents aren’t happy?

An Ohio rider is killed by a 78-year old driver while on a 200-mile group ride.

New York’s highly successful and suddenly embattled bike share program faces a possible cash shortfall, as the mayor refuses a bailout and Alta is accused of shoddy maintenance.  But if it survives, you can (illegally) add an e-motor to your rental ride for just $1,350.

CNN looks at New York’s Worksman Industrial Cycles, the oldest large-scale bike manufacturer that actually makes its bikes in the US, in operation since 1898.

 

International

Huh? A Hamilton Canada letter writer says don’t build bike lanes to make bicycling safer because it’s too dangerous for motorists when cyclists ride in the winter. Oh, and fix those damn potholes first.

Tragic news from across the Atlantic as a British father of three is killed by an 18-year old drunk driver while on a 24-hour, 248-mile solo charity ride. He’d hoped to raise £1000 for the mental health charity; after his death, over £40,000 in donations have poured in. A 19-year old man has also been arrested.

The UK’s Independent looks at the rise of the female cyclist, while two teenage girls have been arrested for attempting to decapitate one.

My favorite Scottish bike blogger writes about getting caught in a stinging rain and offers advice for surviving such. And appropriately closes with this line: “Anyone commenting to the effect that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing, will be hunted down and drowned.”

Copenhagenize conducts a little bike archeology, and comes up with 10 former bike features worth reviving.

A Philippines congressman calls for bike lanes on the country’s major thoroughfares.

A Bangkok airport offers bike riders a new 14-mile off-road bikeway.

 

Finally…

In a man bites dog twist, a Florida man was arrested for leaving the scene after drunkenly colliding with a SUV.  On a bike. And in a case of man bites cop, a  Sacramento rider is under arrest for biting the officer who tried to stop him for a traffic violation, and assaulting another.

Makes that South LA case look pretty tame.

Update: Busted for going too slow? Or Biking While Brown in Gardena?

Update: Here’s video of the  incident. I wonder how many motorists are frisked or searched for weapons for a simple traffic violation?

Something tells me a white, middle-aged man like me would have have been treated far differently under similar circumstances.

………

We’ll hope it was just a mistake.

On Wednesday night, a group of bike riders were on their way for a meeting with the Gardena City Manager when an apparently over-enthusiastic police officer pulled the entire group over. And ticketed them for a violation that didn’t apply under the circumstances.

From the Los Riders Facebook page

From the Los Riders Facebook page

Representatives of the United Riders, made up of members of Los Riders and East Side Riders, were on their way to city hall with relatives of hit-and-run victim Benjamin Torres in their continuing fight for justice in the still unsolved case. As well as  to discuss the issue of ghost bikes following the removal the memorial for Torres.

In the absence of a bike lane or other bicycling infrastructure, they were riding in the right lane, outside the door zone — as they are legally entitled to do — when they were pulled over by a squad car on the 15400 block of South Western Avenue.

According to the Los Riders Facebook page, they were told to sit on the curb while the officer waited for her Sargent to arrive with another four patrol cars in tow.

All for a handful of bicyclists riding slowly  on their casual cruiser bikes.

Maybe too slow for the officer in question, who, after consulting with her superior, ended up citing the group for impeding traffic under CVC 22400.

Yet according to the LAPD, the standard for impedance requires a minimum of five vehicles stuck behind the slower moving vehicle and unable to pass, which was not likely in this case. And it doesn’t apply on roads with two or more lanes in each direction — like Western, for instance — where a driver could simply change lanes to go around the slower vehicle.

Or bike.

Or group of bikes.

In other words, despite the presence of at least six patrol officers, including a police Sargent, they couldn’t come up with a valid violation to cite the riders with.

And it’s pretty well guaranteed that those six patrol cars impeded traffic far more, and far longer, than a group of slow moving bike riders would have.

Meanwhile, the riders eventually got to city hall for their meeting. And ran into Gardena police chief Ed Medrano, who promised to talk with the officers in question.

No word on whether the tickets will be rescinded, however.

Which brings up the question of whether the riders were really stopped by an officer who didn’t understand the law because they were riding too slow.

Or because they were profiled based on their appearance and attire.

That’s not a question I can answer.

But its one I wish I didn’t have to ask.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa and Lynn Ingram for the heads-up.

Impeding Traffi Ticket

Update: The five vehicle standard in found under CVC 21656, which also notes it only apply on two-lane roads; thanks to billsd for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman offers a detailed look at what happened. 

Update 2: According to my records, Gardena has had at least three bicycling fatalities since 2010, including two in the last nine months — a horrible record for a town of under 60,000 people. And all of those were hit-and-runs.

They have far bigger problems than a few bicyclists riding in the traffic lane.

A call for justice for Damien Kevit; Redwood City police blame 14-year old cyclist for her own death

The fight for justice continues in the case of Damian Kevitt.

As you may be aware, the cyclist lost a leg — as well as suffering a number of other horrific injuries — when he was dragged onto the 5 Freeway by a hit-and-run driver last month.

Tonight I received the following email attempting to mobilize the community to find the heartless bastard who did it.

And I use that term advisedly.

……..

COMMUNITY MOBILIZING TO FIND HIT & RUN ASSAILANT

WHAT:  Members of the media are invited to attend a public outreach event in the continuing search for the driver who hit cyclist Damian Kevitt last month.

Volunteers and community organizers will be distributing fliers to inform the public of the hit-and-run collision and the $25,000 reward being offered for information leading to the arrest of the assailant(s).

Damian was struck on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 11:30AM, the timing and distribution area correlate to the time and location of the hit-and-run one month ago.  There is a strong possibility the assailant was playing soccer at or near the field prior to the accident.

WHEN:
Sunday March 24, 2013
10:30AM Check-In
Public outreach from 10:45AM-12:00PM
 
WHERE:
John Ferraro Athletic Fields – Griffith Park
Meet at the Giant Soccer Ball adjacent to the soccer field parking lot
4701 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 91207

BACKGROUND: On Sunday February 17, 2013, Damian Kevitt was struck by a light colored minivan, possibly a gray Toyota Sienna which might have had a “for sale” sign posted in the rear window, on Zoo Drive near the Ferraro Soccer Complex and Dog Park.  The driver was possibly wearing a soccer jersey.

A $25,000 reward is being offered by the City of Los Angeles and the CHP to find the hit-and-run driver.  Anyone with information is asked to call CHP’s Altadena station at (626) 296-8100 or (323) 259-2010

Damian Kevitt was struck on on Feb. 17 around 11:35 a.m. when a minivan made a hard left, that struck and dragged him 600 feet down the Interstate 5 on-ramp until he fell from the vehicle.  The violent collision broke 20 bones and crushed his right leg.  Doctors had to amputate his right leg below the knee.  His left foot is missing tissue and skin and may also need to be amputated the road rash was so severe, it was down to the bone on Kevitt’s left elbow, and his buttocks will need skin grafts.

………

In a heartbreaking case, police blame a 14-year old Redwood City bike rider for her own death in a right-hook collision.

The official conclusion is that she undertook a truck that was signaling for a right turn, and got squeezed out when the road narrowed at a bulb-out. However, it’s far more likely that the truck overtook her, then cut her off by turning in front of her.

Unfortunately, the victim isn’t around to tell her own side of the story.

But a local rider does a pretty good job of telling it for her; link courtesy of LadyFluer.

But regardless of how it happened or who was at fault, there’s something terribly wrong with expecting a 14-year old to ride and react like an experienced cyclist just to stay alive on her way to school.

………

The family of fallen hit-and-run victim Benjamin Torres still hope for justice, six months after he was killed while riding to work. Boyonabike looks at Thursday’s LACBC-sponsored discussion on making bike-friendly places. An LMU student tells what it’s like to crash the LA Marathon with thousands of other riders. Will Campbell enjoys the irony of biking to the DMV. Pasadena City College installs a self-serve bike repair station; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. Streetsblog is throwing itself a 5th birthday party and Streetsie Award dinner on Saturday, April 27th.  C.I.C.L.E. hosts a Street Art Ride for the Pasadena Earth and Arts Festival on Saturday, April 20th. Ride with the mayor of increasingly bike-friendly Glendale on Saturday, April 6th. Santa Monica bike riders deliver Meals on Two Wheels. A Valencia woman faces up to four years for seriously injuring a bike rider in a hit-and-run. Long delayed Calabasas bike-centric farm-to-table restaurant Pedalers Fork is scheduled to open April 15th; let’s see, that’s only a 52 mile roundtrip ride from my place…

A look at San Diego bike paths. Residents are divided on a proposal to right-size a roadway in Riverside; that’s the new, more PC term for a road diet. Riverside’s mayor invites the public to join him on a bike ride today. A Hemet bike rider is airlifted to a trauma center following a collision. More — and more secure — bike racks coming soon to Bakersfield. In a bizarre case, a Fresno cyclist stabs two men after claiming another driver hit his bike when he stopped to help a stranded motorist. If you’re going to break the law by riding on the sidewalk in a city that bans it, leave the meth at home. A bike rider is hit and killed by a pickup in Clear Lake. Don’t plan on renting a bike in Yosemite anytime soon; not even for a guided fundraising ride to dismantle the park’s Hetch Hetchy reservoir, which never should have been built in the first place.

People for Bikes invites you to turn your bike into art. Those woodpecker-inspired cardboard bike helmets should be on the market this summer, while a new prototype headlight projects your current speed onto the roadway in front of you. Tell Bicycling about your favorite ride, and you could win a new bike valued at up to $4,999; my favorite ride is usually the one I’m on. Car commuters, even those who work out, put on more weigh than active commuters. How to ride to work and still wear a suit. Idaho bike club bands together to buy their own Watch for Bikes signs. How to build protected bike lanes even confident cyclists will use. A Minnesota city ends its experiment with advisory bike lanes, deciding a permanent bike lane is preferable. A New York bike rider breaks the rules of subway etiquette. New York bicyclists demand the NYPD get off its collective ass and hold killer drivers accountable; okay, some of that anger might actually be mine. Atlanta cyclists struggle to co-exist with motorists. Two Miami-area mayors ride to work for National Bike to Work Day, which doesn’t actually take place until May. Cycling Weekly gets the skinny on biking scion Taylor Phinney.

The long and ever-growing list of very high-end bikes from exclusive auto manufacturers. The difference between UK and US police is the Brits apologize after they hit you. British cyclists understandably take offense at being called Lycra-clad lemmings. A British pro soccer player credits his helmet with saving his life when a driver swerves into his bike. Road rage strikes even in the middle of a bike race, as a team car not-so-gently nudges a motorcycle out of the way. The Cannibal, AKA legendary cycling great Eddy Merckx, should be back on his bike in a couple weeks after getting a pacemaker. Spanish bicyclists seek asylum at European embassies to protest anti-bike legislation. Here’s your chance to help buy bikes for orphans in Kenya. The first African pro team to compete in a spring classic surprisingly wins the first time out. Tanzanian cyclists ride to support victims of sickle cell disease. New Zealand rider Jack Bauer — no, not the fictional terrorist fighter — suffers a nasty concussion in a racing crash. Safety issues discourage Aussie women from riding. Taiwan needs to lower its speed limits to become a bicycling island. A Thai bike rider’s body is scattered like roadkill in a horrific multiple hit-and-run; seriously, unless you have a strong stomach, you may not want to read that one.

Finally, an amputee makes his own prosthetic finger out of spare bicycle parts. Patrick at Red Kite Prayer continues to remind us that there are things far more important than riding a bike, as heretical as that may seem sometimes. Latest word is the surgery went well, but prayers and good thoughts, whatever you’re comfortable with, are still needed.

And ending on a more upbeat note, UK band British Sea Power becomes the latest group to offer a bike-centric music video. I say it has a nice beat and it’s easy to ride to.

Update: Courtesy of Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, here’s a story I missed last night, as a very pregnant Seattle woman gets out of a car, pulls a stun gun out of her bra and shoots a bike messenger in the face twice. The male driver of the car also got out and swung a second stun gun at the messenger, both apparently in retaliation for the messenger kicking the car’s wheel well in a crosswalk dispute.

Singh sentenced to 15 – life for drunken killer multi-hit-and-run; NY writer calls bike lanes cancerous

For once, the sentence for a killer driver fits the crime.

The Ventura County Star reports that Satnam Singh has been sentenced to 15 years to life for the drunken hit-and-run death of 20-year old cyclist Nick Haverland last year.

Yes, I said life.

In addition, he must serve two years for DUI before he can begin serving his sentence for the second degree murder conviction, effectively making it a minimum 17-year sentence.

Singh had a blood alcohol level nearly five times the legal limit when he went on a serial hit-and-run spree at speeds up to 90 mph, culminating in the collision that took Haverland’s life as he rode to take a college final.

Something Singh claims not to remember, as a result of an “accidental” dose of depression medication.

Then again, given the amount of alcohol in his system, it’s surprising he remembers his own name, let alone his homicidal hit-and-run Hummer joyride.

Yet remarkably, despite his actions, the judge received over 100 letters attesting to his fine character.

For those unconvinced, the first collision might — might — have been unintentional. The two that followed, including the one that took Haverland’s life, flowed directly from his drunken attempt to avoid responsibility.

A real prince, that guy.

And I’d like to know just how does someone get that drunk by accident. Let alone gets behind the wheel when he’s too damn wasted to walk, let alone drive.

I’d like to think this sentence will send a clear message to everyone to stay the hell away from the driver’s seat after drinking. Let alone drinking yourself to oblivion.

Not to mention stopping after your first collision, rather than continuing to run after the third.

But I fear too many drivers will look sadly at Singh, convinced they’d never do anything like that.

Then celebrate the season with one more for the road.

………

Gotham cyclists are up in arms over an assault on both bikes and rationality by New York Post columnist Steve Cuozzo, who compares bike lanes to cancer and bike riders to sociopaths.

New York Curbed artfully deconstructs Cuozzo’s highly biased arguments, while Gothamist takes it apart paragraph by scurrilous paragraph. New York Streetsblog fears he’s lost his marbles. The Brooklyn Spoke says, despite his negative assertions, bike delivery people do count and have as much right to safe streets as anyone else.

And it all brings up a great column from the New York Times Magazine, which offers a point-by-point guide to writing a biased anti-bike hate piece of your very own.

………

The 7th Annual All City Toy Ride takes place this Friday; couldn’t recommend a better reason to ride. Just be careful, because some cops didn’t seem to have a lot of Christmas spirit last year.

………

More women than men now have driver’s licenses, which is good news according to the Times, since women drive less and have fewer fatalities per miles driven.  Southside cyclists take L.A. city planners on a bike tour of Watts. Phase one of the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk opens. LADOT Bike Blog is thankful for Alex Baum’s bicycle advocacy; aren’t we all? Last weekend’s Santa Monica Family Bike Fest is declared a success. Malibu proposes an esplanade with walkways and bikeways connecting the Malibu Pier with Surfrider Beach; wait, a bikeway in Malibu? Seriously? Hermosa Beach revisits the Aviation Blvd bike lanes they turned down earlier this year (scroll down). A look at Long Beach’s Bikeway Route 10. UC Irvine police bust a pair of suspected bike thieves. The Laguna Beach paper calls for more bikeways and a complete streets approach. Plans stall for an Agoura overpass including bike lanes, sidewalks and five lanes of traffic. Bakersfield city planners are looking for cyclists input on improving bike lanes. Natomas CA sprouts signs declaring the city bike friendly; thanks to Amy Senk for the heads-up.

In their new book City Cycling, John Pucher and Ralph Buehler argue that “cycling should be made feasible, convenient, and safe for everyone.” The Feds finally get serious about counting cyclists and pedestrians; unfortunately, that doesn’t mean much until individual states and cities do, as well. It’s okay to be the only non-traffic engineer in the room. Tour Hawaii’s Big Island by bike. Reno bike advocates are successfully reshaping the city. A more than comprehensive list of women’s bike blogs. Bicycling grannies ride in small town Wyoming. Spandex bikewear for the closet super hero. A writer for the Chicago Tribune defends his column calling out scofflaw cyclists and ridicules anyone with the audacity to disagree. A Michigan man is finishing the cross-country bike ride his father was on when he was killed. Your next bike could glow in the dark. A Virginia auto repair shop says it doesn’t make sense to require it to install bike racks, even if the city is trying to be bike-friendly.

London’s transportation department calls on the mayor to develop the world’s largest cycle network. Six steps to survive cycling in London. Cyclists in a BBC documentary on the conflict between drivers and cyclists were paid — and choreographed — to ride as recklessly as possible. An open letter to motorists from UK cyclists. Drinking and riding is a bad idea with a long history. Town Mouse goes temporary bike shopping. The all-time highlights of the Giro d’Italia.

Finally, maybe there is such a thing as too cold to ride. And who knew a simple bike ride was part of global plot to force bike lanes on unsuspecting Americans?

Maybe Cuozzo’s onto something, after all.

………

A special thanks to Margaret for making a contribution to help defray the costs of operating of this blog; I can’t begin to tell you how much it’s appreciated. If anyone else wants to help support my work here on BikinginLA, I’ve set up at PayPal account to accept contributions like hers. You can transfer funds through your PayPal account or major credit card by directing them to bikinginla at hotmail dot com.

And yes, I’m totally blown away that she even thought to do that.

Many thanks, Margaret.

Justice denied in Orange County, Lippman ghost bike removed, and Christine Dahab misses her court date

Long Beach filmmaker Danny Gamboa forwards word that justice has been delayed — if not denied — in the case of Duane Parkison, the San Bernardino detective killed in a hit-from-behind collision while riding in Irvine last year.

A Facebook page demanding justice for Parkison notes that the OC DA’s office has indicated they won’t be filing charges, and implies the driver may be receiving some sort of favorable treatment.

Today I got a call from Mike Lubinski at the OC DA’s office. He is possibly releasing a statement to the press and public as to why they did not file charges and asked if I would like it sent to me. I told him I asked for an official reason two months ago and was told by Tom Glazier that the woman did everything she could to avoid the accident. I told him for this reason I do not trust the DA anyway and do not care to read the statement. I mentioned the “lunch” numerous times and asked if the statement brings up the lunch and he said it does not and did not comment further. So, if anyone wants to read the statement they can request it, and when we put up the website with the police report everyone will be able to draw their own conclusions. As for the “lunch”, stay tuned, we are working on getting answers for that.

It goes on to explain the lunch reference, and notes that the Irvine police have recommended charges.

In my opinion, there have been strange twists in the investigation of this. The Irvine Police Dept. found her at fault for two vehicle violations and recommended a charge of Misdemeanor Vehicular Manslaughter but the OC DA will not file charges. In her transcribed statement to the Irvine PD the driver says she had “lunch with the Deputy Sheriff of San Bernardino County”… “something Hoops?” and she goes on to say “he took my husband and I to lunch and was very kind”. Duane was on vacation and this did not occur in the jurisdiction of San Bernardino County so why would anyone have “lunch” with the driver? The family would like to see this “lunch” investigated. For more information, please come to the “Justice for Duane Parkison” facebook page.

It does raise questions as to why the DA is apparently ignoring the recommendations of the Irvine police in this case.

Call me crazy, but I thought it was up to a judge and jury to decide whether she actually did everything she could to avoid the collision.

………

An anonymous reader sends word that the ghost bike installed for fallen cyclist Roger Lippman has already been removed — evidently by the heartless folks at Caltrans, who don’t seem to want any reminders of how dangerous their roadways really are.

Roger Lippman’s ghost bike is gone.  It was there yesterday, but gone this morning.  The fake purple flowers I had woven into the post it was chained to were left lying on the sand.

I specifically chose purple after a quote from the book The Color Purple.  According to the character Celie, the Lord knows purple is pretty and that’s exactly why he puts so little of it in the world. He’s “just wanting to share a good thing.  I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it.” Well, imagine how pissed He is whenever some idiot fails to notice His master work, which He created in his own image, just because a goddam text or “one for the road” is so much more important.  I kind of imagine that the Joel Alexander Murphys of the world will be bitchslapped straight out through the back wall of the universe if they hop on the “up” elevator by mistake.

………

Dj Wheels offers a couple of legal updates.

First up is the news that a bench warrant has been put on hold for Christine Dahab after she failed to appear for a scheduled court date. Dahab is the driver charged with felony DUI and DWI after plowing into a group of late night riders in Culver City last year, injuring 13 riders; an LAPD officer investigating the case suggested that the collision was the riders fault for evidently staging a drunken orgy in the street.

Wheels speculates that her failure to appear may be related to Dahab’s pregnancy; if she doesn’t appear by August 16th, a warrant for her arrest will be issued.

Meanwhile, road raging Angeles Crest driver Earl Cox is going to trial as we speak.

………

LAPD reminds everyone to be on the lookout for the driver who killed Paul Albert Helfen in an early morning Nordhoff Street hit-and-run on June 22nd. And notes there’s a $50,000 reward for information.

If you don’t want to get involved, send the information to me. I’d love to get this SOB off the streets.

And I could use the money.

………

Great Streetsblog profile of the cycling group Cast a Shadow, riding next week to raise funds for clean water in Africa.

………

LACBC’s former award-winning City of Lights program is transforming into a new organization to be called Multicultural Communities for Mobility. KPCC offers a great report on last weekend’s Wolfpack Hustle midnight singlespeed drag race;, while a rider captures a helmet cam view. Santa Monica bike advocates and staffers question funding for the city’s ambitious bike action plan. After losing his father to the disease, an Israeli man rides from Malibu to NYC to fight cancer. A Long Beach cyclist pedals his bike across the country in 46 days, and chronicles his story in an e-book.

Corona cyclists won’t see sharrows on the coast highway until fall. A Newport Beach rider writes about where it all went wrong in the first part of a first-person story. Bike SD reports that a San Diego cyclist is on life support following a June hit-and-run. San Diego is joining the rest of the civilized world in scrapping its bike licensing program. An Ocean Beach writer says if you’re going to ride, follow the rules. A tax on sugar could have unintended consequences for cyclists who use sports drinks, bars and gels. A Santa Cruz writer says parents should set an example for their kids by wearing a helmet. Lodi cyclists will soon get new artistic bike racks. The 18-month old Fresno girl critically injured in the drunken crosswalk collision that killed her 7-year old sister and injured their father has come out of a medically-induced coma; the driver had a .11 BAC. A Modesto teacher is killed in a left cross while riding in Santa Cruz at around 40 mph, after the driver says he never saw him; thanks to Brian Skaggs and Don Blount for the heads-up. Campbell CA cyclists are reeling from two bicycling fatalities in just 30 hours. Bad roads will continue to contribute to collisions for cyclists, and everyone else on them, according to a Bay Area report. A Bay to L.A. bike tour will take place this month to support Prop 37, requiring the labeling of genetically modified organisms.

Crashing and the five stages of grief. A Seattle cyclist steals his bike back a year after it was stolen, no thanks to the police. Minnesota attempts to ease cycling with a new mobile app. A 90-year old WI driver faces charges after running down a cyclist while mistakenly driving on a separated bike path. A New York cyclist builds his own protected bike lane to keep cops from double parking in it. Nine New York cyclists share their favorite rides in the city. The New York Post rabidly says pull the plug as NYC’s bike share hits a minor speed bump. Once again, a NY cyclist is critically injured, but it’s nobody’s fault. Charlotte’s new bike share system will be a legacy of the Democratic National Convention. A Michigan cyclist on a cross-country tour is killed by semi-truck in Georgia. A Florida rider is found guilty of illegally leaving a bike lane — with about 30 other riders — despite the testimony of the rider they were passing, because the judge believed the blind man officer who didn’t see the rider they were passing.

Montreal police are investigating whether a driver intentionally ran down a cyclist after yelling at him to use the bike path. A UK driver is convicted of killing a bike riding father of three while showing off for a woman; it was his second hit-and-run in six years. Motherhood and Olympic cycling medals do mix after all. American cycling scion Taylor Phinney firmly establishes himself as the fourth best cyclist in the Games, after finishing just off the podium in both the road race and the time trial. Gold medalist and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins backs mandatory helmet laws  — or maybe not — after a cyclist is run over by a bus, even though a helmet would not have helped in the slightest in this case. The London Times offers an even-handed look at the debate. The London Telegraph says the time for talking has stopped and it’s time to actually do something about bike safety. Scottish traffic cameras cut accident and injury rates. Funding bike advocacy could help the bike industry sell 30 million more bikes. An Aussie cyclist crashes because his coffee was too hot. Brisbane police are on the lookout for a spitting cyclist.

Finally, once again, Bikeyface nails it. And are you a velocapitalist?

Angelina Everett gets 90 days in Ed Magos hit-and-run case

Yesterday was a big day for cyclists. And showed just how far we still have to go.

Ten months after 37-year old fashion designer Angelina Everett left Ed Magos lying in the street begging for help after colliding with his bike on a Downtown Street, she was sentenced to 90 days in jail, along with community service and nearly $20,000 in restitution. According to the L.A. Times, she will be allowed to serve her sentence on weekends in the Glendale City Jail, in part because she has a young daughter.

This is case in which the authorities initially declined to press charges because the driver turned herself in an hour-and-a-half after driving away, until pressure from the cycling community led them to take another look at the case.

While cyclists celebrate that justice has finally been done — not just in this case, but in any hit-and-run resulting in injuries this side of death — it should be sobering, as well.

First because this case, like any hit-and-run, is doubly tragic.

Everett is every bit as as much a victim of her own actions as Magos is. Had she simply remained at the scene, there never would have been a case. Who was a fault would have been determined in civil court, rather than in a criminal case. And she would be able to spend her weekends with her daughter, rather than languishing behind bars.

The other reason this case should cause all cyclists to take a step back is this chilling excerpt from the Times:

In court Wednesday, prosecutor Michael Schwartz played 911 tapes from the incident.

In one, Everett called in to report that she had “collided” with a bicycle, and told the 911 operator that she kept driving after the accident because of heavy traffic. When she returned to the site of the crash, she went on, Magos was gone. She asked the 911 operator, “Am I going to jail?”

“No, ma’am,” responded the operator, who went on to tell Everett that people didn’t go to jail for hit-and-runs involving cyclists.

As the article notes, the LAPD has come a long way under Chief Beck’s leadership. And the department now has an effective point person in Sgt. David Krumer, giving us someone we can turn to when problems like this arise.

But this is just one case, in one city. And as the 911 operator’s comment makes clear, legal protection for cyclists is still the exception, rather than the rule.

And even in supposedly bike-friendly communities like Long Beach, authorities continue to make up their own rules, regardless of what the law actually says.

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