Tag Archive for Louis “Birdman” Deliz

A bike broken Villaraigosa on YouTube, Blood In protests in Beverly Hills

It’s been 10 days since L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa set out on his first bike ride since taking office over 5 years ago.

And promptly fell off when a cab driver cut him off pulling away from a curb, landing on his helmeted head and shattering his elbow.

Yet it still continues to make news, here in Los Angeles and around the country.

After writing last week that bikes belong on the streets, the mayor posted a You Tube video, prominently featuring his arm in a sling and a badly swollen right hand, in which he thanks the public, caregivers and first responders for their help and support.

He also talks about the challenges of riding the streets of L.A. — which is exactly the concept local cyclists have long wanted him to grasp — although some accuse him of pandering to the bike lobby.

I had a little bit of a scare there, but I can tell you, I know first hand just how difficult it is to maneuver through our streets to navigate through a city that is built for the automobile, but in many ways, would be the best place for cyclists to be in.

He also says he’s glad that LAPD Chief Beck has made bicycle safety a priority. And most surprising of all, says city officials are going to work with the bicycle safety community to put together a Bike Summit.

Count me in.

Meanwhile, the story continues to spread, as Grist agrees that the mayor missed a chance to “deflate the myth that collisions between military-sized vehicles and cyclists are no big deal.” The New York Times also picks up the story, but kind of misses the point, saying Villaraigosa learned firsthand that “cars and bikes don’t mix.”

And the SF Gate questions the mayor’s apparent emphasis on more bike lanes over better enforcement.

It’s time to stop defending bad driving based on stereotypes of cyclists and start slapping drivers who endanger bikers and pedestrians with criminal charges. And sure, a few more bike lanes would be great.

Meanwhile, back at home, Ken Alpern calls on Villaraigosa and other city officials to preserve planned bikeways on Sepulveda Blvd and along the Expo Light Rail Line.

On the other hand, our mayor isn’t the only one who’s run into problems on a bike lately. Vancouver’s mayor — aka Red Light Reynolds — is nearly hit by a bus after blowing through a traffic signal.


Tuesday evening, cyclists will gather in Beverly Hills to protest the lenient sentence given to Celine Mahdavi for the hit-and-run collision that critically injured cyclist Louis “Birdman” Deliz on December 1st of last year.

After pleading no contest, Mahdavi was sentenced to just 90 days of community service and three years probation, and ordered to pay full restitution. According to a press release for the event,

Cyclists are calling it the last straw.  Bikeside LA President Alex Thompson said “this sentence is symbolic of the lack of respect cyclists get throughout the justice system.”

Many expressed frustration that Fox made no effort to restrict Mahdavi’s driving privileges, leaving decisions about the status of Mahdavi’s license at the discretion of the DMV.

A press conference will be held at the Beverly Hills Courthouse at 6:15 Tuesday evening; another will take place on Friday, which may coincide with the L.A. Critical Mass.

Event details:

Tuesday, July 27th, 6:15 pm
Beverly Hills Courthouse
9355 Burton Way
Blood In Press Conference
interviews to follow press conference
open mic available to attendees after press conference

Friday, July 30th, 8:15 pm
Beverly Hills Courthouse
9355 Burton Way
Press Conference
interviews to follow press conference
open mic available to attendees after press conference


More on Sunday’s Walk and Ride for a Safer Fourth Street, including support from Council Member Tom LaBonge for the city’s first bike boulevard. Streetsblog will hold a re-launch party and fundraiser on Wednesday, August 25th. You can help support ciclovia in Santa Monica on Tuesday evening, as the city plans for a 10/10/10 launch date along Main Street; Gary says let’s keep the ball rolling. Cynergy Cycles hosts a free seminar on Training for Hill Climbing on Wednesday evening. Riding from Claremont to Baldy Notch. OC’s Ladera Ranch Grand Prix is scheduled for August 15. There’s an exhibition on biking at the California State Fair through the weekend. How to review bicycle accommodations in roadway designs. The Santa Rosa paper offers advice to drivers and cyclists that mostly gets it wrong — including a “friendly toot on the horn” when cyclists don’t “move over in a timely manner.” In a clear case of blaming the victim, Anchorage considers amending its laws to make cyclists automatically at fault if they get hit crossing a roadway. Katy Perry and Russel Brand ride bikes in New York. An overview of Lance Armstrong and the Floyd Landis investigation. Warning you’re “on the left” sometimes brings out a suicidal urge in the people you’re passing — like the woman who responded to me on Monday by turning directly into my path. Maryland authorities decide to build a 4.7 mile bike detour around a bat refuge; I’m sure many cyclists appreciate that. Advice on how not to have your bike stolen, from someone who once did — steal one, that is. A British tabloid exposes a reporter — and president of the leading bike advocacy organization — as a serial red light runner; or did they? A BBC documentary looks at the death of cyclist Tom Simpson on Mount Ventoux during the 1967 Tour de France; maybe they’ll show it on this side of the Atlantic someday. An Ontario cyclist is charged with texting while riding after crashing into the back of a parked car. Here’s your chance to invest in a Wi-Fi equipped bike lock that can call you if someone tampers with it.

Finally, a writer takes all the work out of reporting just about any bike-involved collision with the perfect fill-in-the-blanks template for any media outlet.

Local bike cases slowly wind their way through the courts

Cyclist, attorney and court case correspondent Dj Wheels emailed today to catch us up on the current status of the all-too-many mostly bike-related cases winding their way through the local court system.

First up is the case of Patricia Izquieta, charged with the hit-and-run death of Don Murphy in Newport Beach last December.

Patricia A. Izquieta (Case #09HF2198) – Victim – Don Murphy

The Pretrial conference for April 16 was heard, but apparently the Preliminary Hearing which was scheduled for April 26 was cancelled and rescheduled. There is now a Pretrial conference scheduled for May 14 and the Preliminary Hearing for June 17.

She is charged with:

1) one felony count of hit and run with permanent and serious injury – CVC 20001(a)(b)(2)

2) a special allegation of inflicting great bodily harm, which is attached to the hit and run – Penal Code 12022.7(a)

3) one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence – Penal Code 192(c)(2)

4) one misdemeanor count of driving without a valid driver’s license – CVC 12500(a)

Next up is Marco Antonio Valencia, the hit-and-run driver who was reportedly high on alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana when he killed Joseph Novotny and injured three others.

Marco Antonio Valencia (Case # PA065011) – Victim – Joe Novotny & 3 other injured cyclists

There were pretrial conferences heard on March 23 and April 8 at the San Fernando Courthouse. Another pretrial conference was scheduled for May 18.

1) one felony count of murder with malice aforethought (2nd degree) – PC 187(a)

2) one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence – PC 191.5(a)

3) one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury – CVC 23153(a)

4) one felony count of driving with a BAC over .08 causing bodily injury – CVC 23153(b)

5) four felony counts of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

6) one felony count of driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a prior DUI – 14601.2

Robert Sam Sanchez is charged with the hit-and-run death of Rod Armas and seriously injuring his son Chris in Malibu during the L.A. Wheelmen’s Grand Tour last year.

Robert Sam Sanchez (Case # SA071910) – Victim – Rod Armas & Chris Armas injured

The Preliminary Setting conferences scheduled for March 11 and April 19 were both heard at the Malibu Courthouse. Another Preliminary Setting conference was scheduled for Friday May 7 at 1:30pm. What’s interesting is that the docket says, “VICTIMS WILL BE PRESENT TO MAKE STATEMENTS.” I called the DA’s office in Malibu to find out what this meant. Deputy McIlvain explained to me that May 7 is a Preliminary Setting Conference, and a disposition (plea bargain and sentencing) may be possible on that day. However, she is not allowed to disclose the terms of the offer for the plea at this point. If it is accepted, the case may reach a resolution that day, otherwise they’ll move forward with the Preliminary Setting conference to schedule a date for a Preliminary Hearing. I’m going to make my best effort to be there next Friday.

Charges are still the same as previously reported:

1) one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence – PC 191.5(a)

2) one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury – CVC 23153(a)

3) one felony count of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

Celine Mahdavi is charged with the West Hollywood hit-and-run (notice a common theme here?) that seriously injured professional cyclist Louis “Birdman” Deliz.

Celine Mahdavi (Case #SA073459) – Victim – Louis Deliz

Preliminary Setting conferences were heard on March 22 and April 23 at the Beverly Hills Courthouse. A date of June 11 was scheduled for the Preliminary Hearing.


1) one felony count of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

2) one infraction count of a minor driving with a BAC over .01 – CVC 23136(a)

William Keith Square was arrested in the hit-and-run death of a still-unnamed cyclist in Carson earlier this month; at last report, authorities had not been able to locate the victim’s last address or next of kin.

William Keith Square (Case #TA11183201) – Victim – not named

On April 17, Square killed a cyclist in Carson with his car and left the scene. Luckily a witness wrote down his license plate # and Sheriffs arrested him at his home in Long Beach. The Inmate locater page says the arraignment is scheduled for May 5 at Compton Municipal Court. It also says that Mr. Square was arrested on April 18, assigned to permanent housing on April 24 at 4am, and then released from custody at 7:47 am. This is strange because usually it will also state the bail amount, but it doesn’t in this case. Bail for something like this should be something like $100,000, of which a bail bonds company usually asks for 10% to post bond for you.

Charges: (I haven’t seen the docket yet, but I’m assuming the charges are going to be these.)

1)one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence PC 191.5(a)

2) one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury – CVC 23153(a)

3) one felony count of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

Former state legislator Walter Karabian faces charges for assaulting an unnamed parking lot attendant with his car during a USC football game last fall.

Walter Karabian (Case #0EA00275) – unnamed parking lot attendant near USC campus

The Pretrial conferences for March 24 and April 23 were heard. At the last hearing, Karabian’s defense attorney, Joseph Gutierrez, was granted a motion for sanctions against Classic Parking for failure to provide subpoenaed documents. Classic Parking is to pay the defendant $500. Another Pretrial conference is scheduled for May 13 at the East L.A. courthouse.

Finally, no charges yet in the death of Bahati Foundation cyclist Jorge Alvarado, who came to this country to fulfill his lifelong dream of riding professionally, only to be killed when 18-year old Patrick Roraff allegedly lost control of his car while street racing.

Patrick Roraff (Case #?) – Victim – Jorge Alvarado

This 18 yr old man killed Jorge Alvarado of the Bahati pro cycling team on April 8 while street racing on Greenspot Road out in San Bernardino. According to the SB County Court online case info page, charges have still not been filed against Roraff.

Hopefully, the local authorities know that the cycling communities of two countries are watching this case closely; the comments in Spanish from the people who knew him are truly heartbreaking.

Special thanks to Dj Wheels for his amazing work in keeping us on top of these cases; if anyone needs a good young lawyer who knows bicycling, let me know.


In better news, the jury in the case of the New York Critical Mass-bashing cop returned a verdict of guilty for filing a false criminal complaint, but acquitted him of misdemeanor assault.


A former Republican candidate for Lt. Governor in Wisconsin offers a first-person account of an intentional attack by a truck driver; unclear is whether he was attacked for his politics or because he was on a bike.


LACBC encourages you to say thanks to your yes-voting council member. USC’s Neon Tommy takes a look at Bikeside, which endorses Winograd for Congress. Stephen Box celebrates a successful campaign to get safe bike parking at the new police headquarters; on the other hand, UCLA’s bike lockers could use some work. Carless Valley Girl debates whether to ride bespectacled; always cover your eyes with something says the man who’s seen bees bounce off his lenses, among other things. You might want to stay off the road while the mayor’s girlfriend is on it.Cyclelicious talks to the producer of the upcoming Major Taylor biopic. A Long Beach intersection gets a road diet, creating more space for diners, walkers and bike racks. Ciclovia comes to San Diego starting tomorrow.

The mindset of the female bike commuter, who rides faster and looks better than the boys do. Biking in Chattanooga — no relation — directs your attention to an exceptional biking artist. The Maryland Senate passes five bike-friendly bills, including a three-foot passing law. The cross-country travelling, penta-biking Pedouins are approaching Portland. A Fort Myers FL ministry donates bikes to the homeless. A kosher Crown Heights bike loan shop turns to sales. NPR offers songs for the urban cyclist.

More doping rumors for pro cyclist Alejandro Valverde. After yet another London cyclist is killed, Mayor Boris calls for more stringent testing of drivers. What to do when you’re riding in Scotland and your wheel falls off. A new British motorists’ guide urges cyclists to claim the lane, while a leading bike group says cyclists could hold the key to the upcoming election. A bike racing Canadian novelist comes to the defense of Lycra with rants tips for cyclists. A day after Lexus announced their high-concept bike, Volkswagen unveils a folding electric prototype.

Finally, Bike Portland discovers, as many of us do sooner or later, that middle fingers do not lead to productive dialogue; I like the advice someone else gave him, “The peace sign only takes one more finger.”

I think I’ll have that tattooed on the back of my hand so I see it when I ride.

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