Tag Archive for Matthew O’Neill

Morning Links: 16-year old killer of randonneur Matthew O’Neil gets off with barely a slap on the wrist

Evidently, life is cheap in Santa Maria.

Or maybe just when you’re the son of a former Lt. Governor.

The 16-year old son of Abel Maldonado, who was diving the truck that killed popular randonneur Matthew O’Neill, gets off with a mild caress on the wrist in the form of restitution, community service and losing his license for a whole nine months.

Make that just 100 hours of community service.

O’Neill, on the other hand, received the death penalty for the crime of riding a bike. And the $75,000 in court ordered restitution isn’t going to bring him back, or fill the gaping holes in the hearts and lives of his family, friends and fiancé.

If this is justice, I don’t want to see the alternative.



KCET looks at the 110th anniversary of what may be LA’s most celebrated boulevard. And the one I chose as my all-time favorite ride in the City of Angeles.

Parenthood star Erika Christensen is engaged to be married to cyclist Cole Maness; they reportedly met at a bike event.

Streetsblog offers a busy week of livable streets events.



A new petition calls for a stop to plans for a bike and pedestrian toll on the Golden Gate bridge.

CSU Bakersfield invites students to try out the new campus bike rental program for free in January.

Do we really need to explain that the new three-foot passing law does not require cyclists to stay three feet from cars? Evidently, yes, we do.

Even Hollister, famously invaded by motorcycle riding Marlon Brando in the Wild One, is getting bike lanes.



Smart idea, as Sugoi makes highly reflective new bike jackets by weaving glass beads into the fabric.

Smart bikes are nothing new. Take this one from 1992, for instance.

The seemingly interminable debate over whether bike lanes gentrify neighborhoods goes on, as if no one ever rides bikes in lower income areas.

I somehow missed this last month, as bike lawyer Bob Mionske offers advice on how to deal with overly aggressive drivers. I’ve learned the hard way to simply pull aside and let jerks pass; taking a photo of an angry driver will also often help diffuse a confrontation.

Honolulu is getting its first protected bike lane; surprisingly, the city has the nation’s ninth highest rate of bike commuting.

Drivers ignore new buffered bike lanes in Louisville KY. So naturally, the local TV station blames scofflaw cyclists.

Men’s Journal says the lesson to be learned from Bono’s broken arm is that parks and other mixed-use urban spaces — like the Santa Monica/Venice bike path — are among the most dangerous places to ride.

Solange Knowles and new husband show a little bike love, riding matching white bikes to their New Orleans wedding. Although I can’t say it’s a good omen to start a marriage on a ghost bike.



Advice from the UK on how to ride faster up short, steep hills. Or just ride faster, period.

Cycling Weekly offers up five classic Brit bike videos from the British Pathé newsreel archives.

A British road safety week campaign falls flat amid accusations of victim blaming.

Lesson #1: Don’t try to steal a bike from an Irish cyclocross rider.

Delivering HIV medications by bicycle in Cape Town.

Actually, that new Aussie 3D printed titanium bike isn’t; only the lugs are.



Caught on video: A Toronto man smashes the window of a local bike shop with his head for no apparent reason, then simply walks away. When you’re riding a bike with a live python in your backpack, it’s only polite to tell the cop who stops you before he searches it.

And when you’re carrying a crack pipe, two drug needles and a pill box in your pocket, it’s probably not the best idea to block access to an ATM while riding a bike in your bra.

Especially if you’re a man.


Morning Links: Charges filed in death of randonnuer Matthew O’Neill; pro cyclist honored for abandoning race

Turns out a powerful family isn’t enough to prevent a killer driver from facing charges after all.

According to the Santa Barbara Independent, the 16-year old son of former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado, who has not been publicly named because he’s a juvenile, will face charges in the death of popular randonnuer Matthew O’Neill.

He’s being charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, as well as non-compliance with driving terms and restrictions for driving without a licensed driver over 25 in the vehicle, and driving a commercial vehicle without a license.

However, since he’s being charged as a juvenile, he can only be held until he’s 28, no matter what his sentence may be. Assuming he’s convicted, of course.

O’Neill was reportedly lit up like a Christmas tree and well positioned in the lane when he was hit by Maldonado’s truck and/or the horse trailer it was pulling.

A local TV station reports O’Neill was only 10 months from earning a second PhD in Disabilities and Risk Management when he was killed.



UnitedHealthcare pro rider Lucas Euser will be honored by the US Olympic Committee for abandoning the US pro road championship to care for fellow racer Taylor Phinney after he was seriously injured in a fall.

Euser and Phinney were leading the race at the time, and he could have possibly gone on to win if he had continued.

Now that’s class.





A WeHo website asks what is it about stop signs West Hollywood drivers don’t understand; actually, make just about anywhere in Southern California, where stop is merely a suggestion.

A San Pedro letter writer says she’s never seen a bicyclist on the new bike lanes in the area; maybe she should look a little harder.

A 47-year old Torrance cyclist is in critical condition after she’s hit by a left-turning car on Crenshaw Blvd.



San Diego’s BikeSD pushes an LA-style cyclist anti-harassment ordinance for our neighbor to the south.

The Desert Sun calls for greater protection for cyclists, including more bike paths and physical barriers separating riders from motor vehicles.

Santa Barbara cyclists get a new bike corral.

Redwood City police are looking for a suspect who punched a man to steal his bike.



The Bike League presents their latest list of bike friendly businesses, including several in California (pdf); the Santa Monica Bike Center is the only local Platinum recipient.

Bicycling suggests 16 great rides to see fall foliage — including near-treeless Las Vegas. And the magazine reviews bike cams starting at $230.

Buffered bike lanes may come back to Boise just months after they were unceremoniously ripped out.

A Wyoming writer says cyclists have to brave ignorance and impatience. And too often have to stop and change their shorts after an encounter with a driver.

A Michigan driver who killed a cyclist over the summer was killed in a hit-and-run while walking on Wednesday; police aren’t ruling out retribution for the earlier death.

Update: I originally included a story about a bike collision in New York; however, as Bran Nilsen pointed out in a comment, on closer reading, it was about a motorcycle collision. While those are no less tragic than bicycle collisions, that’s not what this site is about, so I have removed the link.



A new study says poor infrastructure and speeding traffic are the biggest reasons transportation cyclists break the rules. And in other news, ice is cold.

A German man is banned from Yellowstone for crashing a drone into a lake while filming a charity bike ride.

CNN says Taiwan’s Giant Bicycles makes the world’s most aero bikes by baking them like bread.



Business Insider offers 15 rules for riding a bike in New York; the first one is bring deodorant. And the Boston Globe says there’s nothing new about the conflict over our roads; riders have been fighting for space since the 1880s.

Don’t forget yesterday’s very late morning links in case you missed them. And come back later for news about our new sponsor, Saturday’s Huntington Park Gran Prix.


Morning Links: Sad Fiesta Island news, for and against the 3-foot law, and a new reflector could stop cars sooner

We have a lot to catch up on after yesterday’s unexcused absence,* so let’s get to it.


Bad news from San Diego. The wife of the cyclist critically injured by an allegedly drunk and/or high wrong way driver on Fiesta Island says he’s on a breathing machine and fighting for his life; if he survives, he’ll be paralyzed from the waist down.

Sounds like prayers or good wishes are in order, whichever you’re comfortable with.


The family of fallen randonneur Matthew O’Neill encourages drivers to observe the new three-foot passing law and change lanes to pass a cyclist.

Meanwhile, a website uses video from the Rock Store climb, aka The Snake, to suggest the three-foot law will make driving impossible, even though passing at an unsafe distance has always been illegal; the only thing this law changes is specifying just what a minimum safe distance is. And the rider in question is legally taking the lane on what is clearly a substandard lane.

Bottom line, as a side-by-side comparison of these two stories make clear, observing the three-foot law is a question of safety — that is, someone’s life — versus a minor inconvenience to impatient motorists.

I know which side I fall on.


This could be a big step forward in bike safety, as a new reflector tricks the Crash Avoidance System found in many new cars into seeing a cyclist or pedestrian as being closer or larger than they really are. The makers are looking for a strategic partner to help bring it to the right markets; this could be a great investment for someone with the right knowledge.

And yes, I want one. Now.

Thanks to new ROAD Magazine editor Chris Klibowitz for the heads-up.


Time to loosen up those wallets. The Kickstarter for BikinginLA sponsor AnyKicks has just over $18,000 to raise with two weeks to go.

Let’s push ’em over the top and show bike shops and manufacturers that advertising on here really works. And fund a deserving project while we’re at it.


Evidently, the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree, either. The father of the teenage driver who got off using the affluenza defense was arrested last month for impersonating a police officer.

If you’ll recall, his 16-year old spawn got away with killing four people in an under-aged drunken crash when the judge agreed his parents were too rich for him to be expected to take responsibility for his own actions.

Thanks to the Witch on a Bicycle for the link.


Elia Viviani wins the fourth stage of the USA Pro Challenge after retiring rider Jens Voigt fades after a 40 km solo breakaway; that other famous bike rider from my hometown keeps the leader’s jersey.

Is it just me, or is there less interest in the Pro Challenge this year? There seems to be a lot less press coverage this time around. Except for the drunk driver who somehow made it onto the closed course.

Italy’s economic woes lead to the merger of the Cannondale/Liquigas and Slipstream teams. And Vavel previews the first seven stages of the Vuelta, along with the seven that follow.



Boyle Heights residents worry the new Eastside extension of the Downtown CicLAvia route will lead to increased gentrification, while LA’s incredibly popular open streets event officially comes to the San Fernando Valley next March.

A ride marshal is ticketed — and may have been intentionally doored by police — for running a red light on the Clitoral Mass ride.

The LA Times looks at the new Timbuk2 store on Abbot Kinney in Venice.

Sweet Ride USA invites you to explore the intersection of bikes and sweets in Little Tokyo this Saturday. The Santa Monica Museum of Arts’ Tour Da Arts rolls on Sunday, as does the LACBC’s Sunday Funday ride through Carson.

A chef famed around the world for his cuisine and temper gets his new bike on at Cynergy.

The bike friendly Fiesta La Ballona takes place in Culver City this weekend.

LACBC local chapter Bike Walk Glendale sponsors Operation Firefly to give free bike lights to riders without them.



The state legislature passes a bill allowing local jurisdictions to tack an extra $5 onto vehicle registration fees to fund bicycle infrastructure. But what are the chances of actually getting 2/3 of drivers to tax themselves to fund bike projects?

Laguna Beach votes to explore ways to ease congestion and improve bike and pedestrian access on Laguna Canyon Road.

The Bike League profiles BikeSD’s own Sam Ollinger, who has quickly risen to become one of the leading bike advocates — not women’s bike advocate, thank you — in the US.

An Ohio man pleads no contest in the alleged DUI hit-and-run that took the life of a Chico State cyclist.

The EPA honors a 116-mile bike path from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake; when a new segment opens, it will be 75% complete.



CNN asks if Lance’s lies and bullying can be forgiven. The former, maybe; the latter, not so much.

Protected bike lanes are rapidly spreading throughout the US.

Our own Boyonabike looks at riding in bike friendly Portlandia.

Life is cheap in Utah, when not even killing a bike riding judge while driving distracted is enough to get authorities to take traffic crime seriously, as the driver gets off with a lousy $670 fine and six months probation.

Seventy-year old basketball great Rick Barry is slowly recovering from a bad solo bike crash in Colorado.

University of Chicago Hospitals illegally applies stickers to discourage legal bike parking.

A New York cyclist is fined $675 and loses her drivers license for running a red light on her bike and not having a bell — $5 more than some states fine drivers for killing someone.

The Washington Post asks if bike riders should be allowed to roll stop signs. The obvious answer is yes, but good luck convincing most motorists. And voters.



A writer for the Vancouver Sun says bike lanes will do more to protect cyclists than helmets.

Toronto authorities exonerate a local police department on accusations that they whitewashed a case involving the wife of an officer who killed a cyclist. Even though they failed to test the driver for drugs or alcohol and allowed her to drive home while the investigation at the scene was still ongoing.

Northern Ireland plans a two week bicycling festival.

Caught on video: An Edinburgh cyclist learns first hand the dangers of getting a wheel caught in tram tacks.



Caught on video: Sometimes it’s the other riders you have to watch out for. It doesn’t even take a whole car to send a cyclist to the hospital; sometimes, a stray part is enough.

And Gizmodo looks at seven bikes that, thankfully, didn’t change bicycling forever.


*My apologies for missing yesterday’s post, as well as a few others in recent weeks. I try to post every weekday; however, while my diabetes is officially under control, I’m still having major health problems that may or may not be related, and which leave me largely incapacitated for much of the day — and have kept me off my bike for the better part of two months. Most days, I’m able to rally long enough to get a new post online, but others — like yesterday — find me down for the count.

Hopefully, my doctors will finally figure out what’s going on, and this too shall pass.


Morning Links: Details come out in death of randonneur Matthew O’Neill; new Chinese bike doesn’t need you

Finally, more details on the death of SoCal randonneur Matthew O’Neill outside of Santa Maria earlier this month.

According to the Santa Barbara Independent, O’Neill was riding far to the right on a straight, if narrow, stretch of roadway and was “lit up like a Christmas tree” when he was hit by a truck driven by the unnamed 16-year old son of former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado.

A spokesman for the CHP says the investigation will take some time, and that all factors — including speed and distracted driving — are being considered. However, they do not believe drugs or alcohol use played a role.

There’s also some question whether the boy was legally allowed to drive the truck and horse trailer, as California law prohibits drivers under 18 from operating a vehicle with a passenger under the age of 20 unless accompanied by an adult over 25 years old. The only passenger in the truck was his 18-year old brother; he was also a passenger when his mother was involved in another fatal collision on the same stretch of roadway two years earlier.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like an inexperienced driver attempted to squeeze past the victim’s recumbent bike without changing lanes, and sideswiped him with the truck or trailer.

Whether that’s enough for the CHP to recommend charges against a member of a politically powerful family remains to be seen.


Good read from Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman on how bikes can help reclaim public space for marginalized communities.

There is no earthly reason that men of color should feel that the act of walking or riding a bicycle down the street is akin to extending an embossed invitation to police to stop, question, and frisk them, hand them bogus tickets (for not having bike lights in the day time, for example), or worse.

Amen, sister.


Matthew Gomez writes to report the city of Arcadia just installed new bike lanes on 1st between Colorado and St. Joseph. It’s only three blocks, but it’s a start.



LA cyclist Zachary Rynew looks at the anatomy of a bike wreck, which, like most, clearly didn’t need to happen; he reports the injured riders still aren’t back on their bikes.

A occasionally bike riding columnist for the Pasadena Star-News just doesn’t get the animosity some drivers and San Marino residents have for cyclists.

KCET looks at plans for an Emerald Necklace greenbelt around LA County.



Despite increasing ridership rates, bike versus pedestrian injuries have declined in New York and California.

More than 1,000 riders of every description — including the city’s bike riding mayor — turn out to ride in support of San Diego cyclist Juan Carlos Vinolo, paralyzed by an alleged drunken wrong way driver on Fiesta Island last week.

San Diego’s Bike the Bay rolls this weekend, giving cyclists a once-a-year opportunity to ride the iconic Coronado Bay Bridge.

Our neighbor to the south unveils a website for San Diego’s new Bicycle Advisory Committee.

San Bernardino authorities are looking for a hit-and-run driver who fled on foot after striking another car, then spinning into a cyclist, leaving the critically injured rider in a medically induced coma.

Not surprisingly, San Jose merchants object to the removal of parking spaces in order to install bike lanes. Just like virtually every other merchants in virtually every other city — even though it’s been repeatedly shown bike lanes are good for business.



Lance still believes he won seven Tours de France; then again, he was there.

Six things to like about Seattle’s new two-way separated bike lanes.

Marijuana-related traffic fatalities are up 100% in pot-friendly Colorado.

Somehow, a South Dakota driver didn’t break any laws in killing a bike rider — despite being cited for failure to use due caution and failure to yield. But other than that…

A new, narrow bike lane may have contributed to a fatal New Hampshire dooring.

New York won’t consider bike lanes or other infrastructure on Park Avenue, despite the recent deaths of three bicyclists.

Caught on video: New York police search for a hit-and-run driver who made a U-turn to intentionally run over a pedestrian.



Chilean students design a bike that doesn’t need a lock. Because it is one.

If legendary rock drummer Ginger Baker hadn’t been hit by a car while riding his bike when he was 16, he might have become a professional cyclist, instead; he credits long-distance riding with the stamina needed to play the drums.

Despite calling for them now, London cyclists fought separated bike lanes 80 years ago.

In yet another anti-bike terrorist attack, a young British girl is nearly decapitated when someone strings a bike brake cable across a popular pathway.

If cyclists are breaking the law, there’s a problem with the street.

Caught on video: A Dublin tour guide is a Facebook hero after tackling a bike thief.

French pro Thomas Voeckler suffers his fourth broken collarbone in a collision with a car.

The author of an anti-bike Aussie Facebook page now calls for détente between cyclists and motorists.



There’s got to be a story here, as a Burlingame cyclist gets into an argument with a man whose dog peed on his bike helmet; hopefully, he wasn’t wearing it at the time.

And forget driverless cars; a Chinese firm is developing an autonomous, self-riding bike. But then, what would be the point?


Morning Links: Popular LA cyclist seriously injured, update on the San Diego crash that injured 8 riders

Lots of news today, so grab some coffee, limber up your clicking finger and settle in for a good read.


Popular LA cyclist Jo Celso is hospitalized in San Diego after suffering serious injuries while riding at the San Diego Velodrome Tuesday night. Donations to defray medical expenses can be made through PayPal.


The driver in the San Diego crash that sent eight cyclists to the hospital was allegedly under the influence of alcohol and drugs, possibly including meth; she has a history of petty crime dating back to 2006.

One of the victims reportedly couldn’t feel his legs following the crash, while the Times says one of the injured — most likely the same rider — suffered a major vertebral fracture; sounds like prayers or good wishes are in order.

And BikeSD calls for charges against the driver.


A Santa Maria TV station confirms the rumors that the passenger in the truck that killed Chula Vista randonneur Matthew O’Neill was the 18-year old son of former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado. Nicolas Maldonado was also a passenger in another fatal collision involving his mother two years ago.

According to the same rumors, the 16-year old driver who killed O’Neill is also a member of the Maldonado family.

Meanwhile, Stacy Kline offers a moving remembrance of her friend and riding companion.


More on our fellow cyclist Robin Williams, his big heart and his love of bikes.

First up, noted bike rider Conan O’Brien relates how Williams tried to cheer him up following O’Brien’s dismissal from the Tonight Show by giving him an outrageously silly bicycle.

Then there’s the story told by Bay Area comic Johnny Steele, who said Williams bought him a custom-made bike and became his regular riding partner after Steele told him he didn’t ride because he couldn’t afford it. And all because Williams liked his joke about 65-year old men on $6,500 bicycles.

Meanwhile, a bike shop owning friend of the comedian says Williams told him cycling saved his life after kicking cocaine.

And the Wall Street Journal relates how he once met famed Italian bike builder Dario Pegoretti, and how Williams said he loved riding because it’s a close as you can get to flying.

I think we can all relate to that one. I’ve said the same thing myself more than once.



The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is hosting a fundraising Firefly Ball the day before Halloween, honoring Andy Leeka of Good Samaritan Hospital, Long Beach’s Suja Lowenthal, and legendary BAC founder and bike advocate Alex Baum; tickets start at $250.

Meanwhile, the LACBC is holding a workshop on fundraising for bicycle advocates next Thursday.

Attend a live recording of the Bike Talk podcast at the Levi’s pop-up store this Friday with hosts Nick Richert, Melissa Balmer and Maria Sipin.

The Daily News takes a look at LADOT’s new Bicycle Friendly Business program.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers advice for walking or biking back to school.



California lists 147 projects that could get funding under the state’s new Active Transportation Program, including several in Southern California.

Calbike offers their monthly update.

New bike lanes are approved near Corona del Mar High School.

A 23-year old Big Bear rider competes in his first year as a professional cyclist.



Even the feds want you to take a bike tour.

Once again, a foreign tourist riding across the US is killed by a drunk driver, this time an Australian woman who was killed in Indiana just 500 miles from her destination.

Caught on video: Angry motorists confront a Vermont cyclist, saying they should have run him over. And to make matters worse, it was the rider got ticketed — for riding in the traffic lane.

Once again, the NYPD cracks down on the victims of traffic violence, rather than the cause.



Toronto cyclists win a fight for protected bike lanes.

London cop hops on a stolen bike to chase down a wanted bike thief.

Poetic justice, as a drunken Brit bike thief breaks his ankle when the bike he’s trying to make off with falls on him.



Kids, don’t do this at home. A Kansas driver pulls into a parking lot to confront a bike rider, who promptly pulls out a gun and shoots him in the face; the rider was taken into custody nearby.


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