Tag Archive for Mike Kreza

Guilty verdict in Scarpa DUI murder trial, bicycle parts in short supply due to bike boom, and a look back at LA bike history

That didn’t take long.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, 27-year old Mission Viejo resident Stephen Taylor Scarpa was convicted of murder for running down Costa Mesa fire captain Mike Kreza in 2018, as Kreza rode his bike on Alicia Parkway while training for a triathlon.

Or rather, on the sidewalk next to the parkway, which still didn’t keep him safe from Scarpa as he drove with a veritable cornucopia of drugs in his system after three days of partying.

According to the Orange County Register, Scarpa got at least some of his drugs from the same pill-prescribing Dr. Feelgood who allegedly supplied the gunman responsible for killing 13 people in the Borderline Bar massacre.

Which puts at least 14 deaths at the good doctor’s bloody feet.

The DA confirmed that Scarpa had participated in a drunk driving prevention program, which justified the murder charge.

Scarpa faces 15 years to life behind bars when he’s sentenced on December 10th, after jurors spent just four hours deliberating before reaching a verdict.

Which is just enough time to select a foreman, go over the judge’s instructions, and take a vote.

This is what our anonymous courtroom correspondent had to say.

Closing arguments for the Scarpa case were heard this morning. Alas, I am graveyard tonight, so I only got the morning events.

I haven’t written up the closing arguments because I’m a zombie, but they involved the Defense displaying an optical illusion, and the People reiterating every bit of evidence presented. Both sides defined legal terms and invoked the importance of impartiality and justice.

I don’t expect a lengthy deliberation.

I report with cringe that I previously misidentified the Deputy DA as Michael Feldman. I dunno how, it’s Dan Feldman in all my notes.

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Further testimony provided last week by OCSD investigators revealed a number of pill vials found at Scarpa’s home and in the minivan searched after the collision. Each prescription was in Scarpa’s name. The gabapentin prescription was ostensibly to control seizures after Scarpa had sustained a TBI. (Consider: a man prone to seizures due to physical brain trauma, and under the influence of gaba, who believes he is ever okay to drive.)

The Defense asked the traffic investigator on the witness stand to confirm that a motorist traveling on Alicia Parkway at or near the posted speed limit would need only a fraction of a second to veer off course and traverse the lateral distance covered by Mr. Scarpa’s Windstar, and that this could occur if the driver merely fell asleep. He went on to bring up Scarpa’s previous collision, in which he had “blacked out” and smashed a parked car or two, and for which he was never charged.

The Defense attempted to have the traffic investigator admit that Scarpa had no priors. The People’s objection was sustained. The Defense then asked vaguely about Scarpa’s driving record, and after another objection, the parties briefly retreated to chambers. Upon returning, the Defense had the investigator confirm Scarpa’s lack of prior DUI arrests. For his part, Mr. Scarpa looked hopeful that “never havin’ been caught before” reflected well on him.

The People asked about the violation of CVC 21107 (an “unsafe turning movement”), to which the Defense objected. The DA changed tack, asking instead whether the cause of the collision was the Defendant’s use of drugs prior to driving. The Defense objected, citing a demand for speculation on the deputy’s part, and the Judge sustained. The seething DA’s frustration was evident, and finally both the People and the Defense again headed to chambers with His Honor. Upon returning, the People reworded the question, and the witness answered in the affirmative: yes, intoxication was absolutely a possible direct cause.

The People immediately confirmed with the traffic investigator that Scarpa had been at fault in his prior collision, and although he had not been criminally charged, the DMV chose to revoke his privilege to drive. In fact, the DMV paperwork had been discovered in a search of Scarpa’s home, along with vials of assorted prescription pills.

The maximum lawful speed at the site of the collision is 50mph. Cyclists are protected from errant two-ton machines by a 2 millimeter high wall of thermoplastic, or, if they feel this is not enough, also by an 8-inch high concrete curb. Mr. Kreza had been riding on the sidewalk prior to his untimely landing in the number three lane of Alicia Parkway. He had not been wearing a helmet, and his dad cap was found among the embankment’s shrubs.

People’s Exhibit #33 was the toxicological exam performed on blood drawn from Mr. Scarpa four hours after the collision. The OC Crime Lab pathologist, whose thesis had been on the subject of gabapentin, expounded as questioned on the use and abuse of each drug found in Scarpa’s system, and on the effects and side effects of each. The People specifically asked whether gabapentin was useful to prevent blackouts. In fact, it is not.

The People brought Mr. Scarpa’s former colleague to the stand, an HR employee of Beachside Recovery, an addiction treatment facility where Scarpa had been employed as a Behavioral Health Technician. As part of her duties in human resources at the facility, she was responsible for “onboarding” Mr. Scarpa, including training and situating him as a new hire. To this end, she made it clear that the workplace had a zero tolerance policy for drug use and required random drug testing. People’s Exhibit was Beachside Recovery’s job description document, which stresses the importance of sobriety in carrying out the duties required of BHT’s (including driving), and which Scarpa signed. After several months of employment, Scarpa resigned suddenly, stating that he had relapsed.

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In 2011, Scarpa’s high school held an “Every 15 Minutes” event. As part of the event, a “memorial” video is created. A video montage shows DUI crash “victims” in happier times. A young lady sprints down the track straight towards the camera. As the image freezes, her name and date of death caption her smiling face. Another pretty girl dances with her friends. Her eyes lock on the camera. Her gentle smile twinkles, frozen in time as her name and death date appear on screen. A healthy young man swims powerfully toward the camera. He splashes up poolside, elbows resting on the concrete, beaming broadly. As his name pops up, jurors’ eyes whip over towards the defendant.

The video captures the aftermath of a simulated DUI collision, set up at the campus. Participating are local law enforcement and fire agencies. Scenes show the Jaws of Life in action. Shocked, gawking students. A moulaged young Stephen Scarpa. A “dead” victim immediately tarped over. Empty beer cans in the car. The teenage suspect breathalyzed and handcuffed. The ride in the back of a police cruiser. The tearful call from the jail phone. The tiny holding cell. The ambulance transport of an unresponsive young patient. Blood. Futile chest compressions. The sobbing mom in the ER.

The video is poignant and there was sniffling in the courtroom.

Throughout the school day, an actor dressed as the Grim Reaper comes into classrooms to collect the dead. The crash victim’s obituary is read aloud. (People’s Exhibit #37 is the obit written by Stephen’s mom.) That student is removed from school for the rest of the day, and a black shroud is placed over his or her desk.

The “dead” don’t return home that night. They’re taken for an overnight field trip to a local hotel, where speakers inform them of the statistics, dangers, and consequences of impaired driving. The kids retreat to their rooms, where they write a “Dear Mom/Dad, Today I Died” letter to their parents. Back at home, the parents are also writing to their “dead” child. The next day, the students gather for an assembly. The dead and their parents share the stage with a casket, and read their letters in front of the entire student body.

The video wasn’t shown in its entirety in the courtroom. As played at the school assembly, it concludes with the conviction of the teenage perpetrator. In questioning Esperanza High’s activities director on the witness stand, the Defense inexplicably pointed out that this fictional defendant had received (don’t be shocked) eight months for her felony DUI and felony manslaughter charges. The People, who had chosen to play the video in its truncated form, then inexplicably objected. His Honor overruled, and the Defense went on to ask the witness to confirm that the fictional killer had not been charged with murder.

After both sides rested their cases, the Defense requested a dismissal. His Honor did not hesitate to reject this motion.

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Today’s common theme — the effect pandemic bike boom is having on the global supply chain.

Despite an ongoing worldwide shortage of bike parts, at least some ebike prices are starting to come down. Others are boosting prices while improving quality, like this Chinese ebike foldie.

Meanwhile, Cycling Tips offers advice on how to keep your bike running, despite the parts shortage.

And Britain’s biggest bike retailer says the shortages in the global supply chain are dragging on its bicycling business.

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Evidently, dooring is nothing new.

And neither is decorating your bike for a parade.

Never mind that one of those guys with the flower-draped bikes could be your great — or maybe great, great — grandfather.

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This is who we share the road with, as police look for yet another, particularly heartless, coward.

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

New York’s Department of Transportation chief won’t commit to whether people can legally lock their bikes to street signs, even after the police confiscated a number of bicycles they claimed were locked to signs illegally. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the city’s mayor declared an end to car culture;  we’ve already seen how that worked out in Los Angeles.

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

Leading GOP California recall candidate and conservative talk show host Larry Elder was hustled into an SUV after a failed egging from a bike-riding, gorilla-masked woman, who needs to work on her aim.

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Local

The Long Beach Marathon says it’s quickly selling out; the race is preceded by a 20-mile bike ride along the marathon course.

Billions actress Malin Akerman is one of us, as she went for a ride through the streets of LA on a massive fat tire ebike with her son on the back.

 

State

Cypress police will conduct a bicycle and pedestrian safety operation this Saturday — but during the day, not at night, regardless of what the headline says. Ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits, so you’re not the one who gets ticketed. And remember the law allowing bike riders to roll stops may have passed the legislature, but it’s still not legal until the governor signs it. 

Traffic deaths went up in San Francisco despite the pandemic-light traffic, just as they did in Los Angeles.

General Motors credits bike-riding employees with working to ensure the company’s autonomous cars are programed to be aware of people on bicycles as they test them on the streets of San Francisco. If they’ve cracked the code for recognizing bike riders, let’s hope they share it with the other self-driving car makers who’ve struggled with exactly that.

 

National

Pink Bike once again takes a very tongue-in-cheek look at things that could have happened in the bike world last month, but probably didn’t. Unless they did.

A Colorado website offers four routes to experience the state’s spectacular fall colors, whether you’re on a roadie, ebike, gravel bike or mountain bike. Speaking of which, an Aspen writer calls for opening up the area’s singletrack trails to ebikes “before we’re all too old” to ride them.

The former owners of the now-defunct American bike brand Ross Bicycles pled guilty to hoarding PPE in Oklahoma last year, agreeing to pay a $1 million fine for buying over $1.2 million surgical masks from China, then reselling them to the state at a 900% markup; meanwhile, the Ross family reclaimed their original trademark for the bike brand after the federal trademark office ruled it had been abandoned.

A cruiser bikemaker came to the rescue of stranded students in Rochester NY, donating around 150 bicycles, helmets and locks to students and parents at three schools affected by a shortage of school bus drivers.

Brooklyn bike riders — and their dogs — get an early jump on the official opening of new bike lanes on the iconic Brooklyn, with one pronouncing it “stinky,” while his dog gave it three and a half paws. Out of four, presumably.

New Yorkers scrambled for alternate forms of transportation after the remnants of Hurricane Ida flooded subway system, setting a new record for usage on the city’s Citi Bike bikeshare system.

A Pennsylvania nonprofit dedicated to promoting mountain biking in Afghanistan will likely hold its signature annual event in the state’s Lehigh Valley, instead of in Afghanistan in the shadow of the towering Buddhist statues destroyed by the Taliban in their earlier incarnation.

 

International

Time Out ranks the world’s best cities, with San Francisco coming in on top, followed by Amsterdam and Manchester, England; Los Angeles checked in at a surprising #11, as they celebrated the city’s outdoor lifestyle while politely ignoring all the people forced to live there.

Road.cc looks at the best high-end, lightweight road bikes for weight weenies with money.

A letter writer from the Virgin Islands expresses his disgust at the islands’ dangerous drivers. He’s preaching to the choir.

Calgary attempts to slow drivers along a bike route by painting colorful animals onto the street, while improving the area for bike riders and pedestrians.

A former London reporter says it’s time to take a stand following the death of his friend and neighbor, a pediatrician who was killed riding her bike on a notoriously dangerous junction that is still waiting for a safety makeover promised to be finished two years ago; over 7,000 people have signed a petition demanding popup plastic barriers until permanent changes can be made.

A writer for T3 says the new relatively low-cost ebike from English scooter maker Pure Electric could be the ebike bargain of the yearAlthough it seems like Burbank-based Pure Cycles could have a decent copyright infringement case on their hands. 

You still have time to get to Limerick, Ireland in time for next week’s Bike Week.

Ride your bike eye-to-eye with ducks through a Belgian lake.

Berlin announces plans for a more than 1,800-mile bicycle network, with a three-tiered network like Los Angeles was supposed to build, and a commitment to build it out as quickly as possible. Unlike Los Angeles, where bike plans are merely “aspirational,” and the city gives itself 25 years to build them. Or not.

To the surprise of no one, the Taliban announced plans to ban women’s sports — which is why 25 members of the Afghan girls’ cycling team crossed over to Tajikistan on Monday. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the link.

Add this one to your bike bucket list — exploring Jerusalem on a rental ebike.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cyclist looks back at the memorable moments from this year’s Grand Tours.

 

Finally…

What it feels like to be a Peloton widow. That feeling when you appreciate a driver mistakenly insisting you have to stop at the stop sign, because he said it in a kind voice.

And evidently, vehicular cycling is nothing to monkey around with.

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

Day one of Scarpa murder trial, tell LA to stop street racing and loud engines, and CHP responsible for East LA hit-and-run

Our anonymous Orange County correspondent is back to cover this week’s trial of Stephen Taylor Scarpa for murder.

Scarpa allegedly ran down popular Costa Mesa fire captain and father Mike Kreza in a drug-fueled crash three years ago, as Kreza was riding a bicycle in Mission Viejo to train for a triathlon.

Here’s what she had to say about the lead-up to the long-delayed trial.

Stephen Taylor Scarpa‘s jury trial starts on Monday. So far, Judge Patrick Donahue has decided to allow the video of Scarpa’s participation in his high school’s “Every 15 Minutes” event, as well as testimony from fellow personnel of the rehab centers he worked at. The People’s exhibits will probably also include the DMV’s letter of license revocation and a diagram (but no photographs) of the victim’s many injuries.

Since Scarpa has a long-standing association with drugs, his medical records might be presented as well. The judge finds that this is not in violation of HIPAA. Despite the lack of a previous arrest for DUI, there is sooo much other evidence, strong evidence, that Scarpa knew the dangers of impaired driving, the DA might not even bother to present these records. Scarpa had jaw-dropping levels of assorted drugs in his system, and his blood was not drawn until 4 hours after the collision.

His Honor has forbidden Kreza’s fellow firefighters to attend the trial in full uniform, and friends & family will not be allowed to wear clothing or badges with the deceased’s likeness. I am sorely tempted to get a T-shirt printed up with “It’s about time” in bold letters, because according to the arresting officer, these were Scarpa’s words as the handcuffs were slapped on.

And this is how she reported on the first day of public testimony in the trial.

Oh, man, I’m not hopeful.

The Scarpa trial began Monday morning. Deputy DA Michael Feldman began opening statements by thanking the victim’s friends and family for coming. As stipulated by the judge, no uniformed firefighters were present inside the courtroom. But they were out in the hallway to provide support for the widow and other family members. There was no mention that Mr. Kreza himself had been a firefighter.

In a PowerPoint presentation bannered by the misspelled name of the defendant, Mr. Feldman tersely listed the basic facts that support the People’s charge, among them Scarpa’s participation in his high school’s “Every 15 Minutes” program, his rehab stints, and his employment as a behavioral health technician. “He’s gonna be the one to tell you first hand,” insisted Mr. Feldman, pointing at the defendant, that he was aware of the dangers and consequences of impaired driving. To this end, the People played audio files of the interrogation, in which Mr. Scarpa tells the investigating deputy, “I do it, but I don’t condone it,” a tacit and unambiguous confession. Mr. Scarpa clutched tissues as the DA played his confession that he’d driven impaired with his own young daughter in the car.

Feldman then went on to use the word “accident” several times during his opening statement. AUUUUURGH. That is the entire premise of the defense. It’s almost like he’s trying to hand Mr. Scarpa an acquittal with a big red shiny bow.

Mr. Lowenstein, for the Defense, insisted that the collision had been an “accident,” and that Mr. Scarpa’s actions did not meet the legal definition of implied malice. He stated that the prescription drugs found in Scarpa’s system do not, as opposed to Feldman’s assertion, have warning stickers telling users not to drive. The defense asked whether Scarpa acted with “conscious disregard” (without underscoring the impossibility because Scarpa was, in fact, unconscious at the time of impact).

The Defense told the jury that Scarpa, though drugged up after a party, drove approximately 25 miles without incident, and there was no evidence that he was speeding. He went on to loftily praise Scarpa’s parking (“snug against the curb”!) after the collision, and reiterated several times that he did not attempt to flee afterwards. The collision was merely “a split second in time, a miscalculation, a perfect storm of events.”  Scarpa’s temporary inattention, “a fraction of a second,” and impaired state led to “a perfect storm of events.” (Lowenstein also mentioned something about a perfect storm of events.)

Both Feldman and Lowenstein brought up the words Mr. Scarpa uttered upon his official arrest: “It’s about time.” The People assert that this indicated Mr. Scarpa’s acceptance of a long-anticipated outcome. The Defense suggested that Mr. Scarpa had been expecting an arrest only for the duration of his lengthy interrogation.

First to testify was widow Shana Kreza, who identified a photo of her late husband, and briefly described the family’s Saturday morning, getting ready for their daughter’s soccer game. Mr. Kreza had left on his bicycle, but never arrived at the soccer field.

Next on the witness stand was the first responding officer, who described taking initial command of the scene, Mr. Kreza’s broken body, the agitation of the suspect, and the actions of the Good Samaritans.

The next two witnesses had been in the car behind Scarpa. Ragan Hill and her nephew, Cage Morgan, were putting up garage sale signs in the neighborhood. Hill saw Scarpa’s minivan leave the roadway. As it took out shrubs and saplings on the embankment to the right of the sidewalk (where Kreza was riding his bicycle, despite the adjacent bike lane), she saw a body fly off the top of the minivan.

Morgan described his aunt yell, “Oh my god, look at that car!” He diverted his attention from his phone to see Scarpa’s minivan returning to the roadway, with a trailing cloud of debris. He watched as a man fell off the minivan’s roof onto the road. Hill hit the brakes, stopping about 5-10 feet from Kreza’s prone, bloody body. Morgan called 911, and both exited the vehicle to assist.

Scarpa had parked by the curb and exited his minivan as well, but didn’t approach his victim or the witnesses. Instead, he sat on the curb, fidgeting. “My first thought,” testified Hill, “was that he was impaired.”

Both Hill and Morgan described the same aspects of the scene: Scarpa’s agitation, Kreza’s bone sticking out of his lower leg. Morgan was afraid to initiate CPR, fearing it would exacerbate Kreza’s injuries. Because Morgan was unsure the collision was accidental and did not know whether Scarpa was dangerous, he didn’t approach the suspect, but gestured questioningly from a distance, with palms up. He kept an eye on Scarpa, who appeared disoriented, because “I was afraid he would flee the scene.”

Deputy Christian Servin was called to the scene to perform a field sobriety test. He first approached the twitchy suspect and asked what was going on. He was apprehensive about asking Scarpa to perform some of the physical field sobriety testing tasks because his lack of balance and coordination might subject him to falls. Deputy Servin’s search found six 800mg gabapentin pills on Scarpa’s person, and Scarpa confirmed he had no prescription. Though Servin had difficulty with communication because Scarpa was “in and out” of it, he was able to determine that Scarpa had not slept for two days, had smoked .25g of meth 36 hours prior, had fresh tracks from injecting a fentanyl/meth mixture, had taken Suboxone at a party that morning, and had taken lorazepam. Scarpa stated that he had no medical conditions, and (and) that he was under a doctor’s care. (This doctor, perhaps?) Scarpa also stated he knew he should not have been driving, because he was “upset,” and he believed that he had crashed into a tree and several people.

At this point, court recessed for lunch, and I had to split ’cause I have graveyard shifts, but I’m all free for Day 2.

Meanwhile, the Daily Pilot says the case will hinge on intent, and whether Scarpa intentionally committed the act that resulted in Kreza’s death.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

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Our anonymous correspondent also added this note.

EMT students are required to attend one rotation in a hospital emergency department. I did this.

The morning started off slow, and the nurses had zero interest in talking with me, so I poked my head into an exam room and announced to the patient that I was there to check her vitals. She consented and while I took her pulse, I asked what brought her to the ER. She stated that she had passed out while making a left turn (in a major intersection, btw) and had crashed into a fire hydrant. I sympathized with her awful morning, and then asked what she’d had for breakfast. Nothing. I suggested that it was always a good idea to fuel up to start your day. Then I asked whether she was on any medications. She had taken a prescription narcotic analgesic before she took her kids to school. “And you drove?” She confirmed this. I informed her that it was dangerous to drive under the influence, and her pill bottle even had a warning sticker added to the prescription label. She insisted there was no such warning, so we pulled the bottle out of her purse to look at it.

I read the warning out loud: “Do not operate heavy machinery.”

She protested, with frustration at my stupidity, “I wasn’t operating heavy machinery. I was just driving my car.”

(Ed. note: Because evidently multi-ton cars aren’t, well, you know…)

There are warnings of “Don’t drive until you know how this drug affects you,” even though said drug impairs your cognitive abilities such that you cannot ascertain how the drug impairs you. In the absence of quantification and/or memory, your brain just lies to you: “Everything’s fine.”

Why appropriate phrasing hasn’t been legislated, I don’t know.

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Streets For All is urging you to take action to support a couple of motions on the agenda for this afternoon’s meeting of the LA City Council Public Safety Committee.

Make your voice heard on two key issues this week.

There are two key issues being considered this week at City of Los Angeles Public Safety Committee.

1 – The first (Council File 21-0870) is a motion at the Public Safety Committee to consider re-designing streets to prevent illegal street racing. As much as we fight for lower speed limits, the best way to slow cars down is by redesigning streets all together.

2 – The second (Council File 20-1267) is a motion to reduce illegal exhaust noise in the City of Los Angeles. Modified mufflers disturb the peace and evenincrease our stress hormones and risk of heart disease. While we don’t want more armed officers doing traffic stops, we can solve this by clamping down on the shops that make these illegal modifications.

Here’s how you can help in 2 easy steps:

1) Make public comment using the council file system

If you are unable to make live public comment, the next best thing is writing a message in the council file management system. We have made this easy with a pre-filled template and links.

MAKE PUBLIC COMMENT IN ADVANCE

2) Make public comment live at the committee meetings

The Public Safety Committee is on Wednesday, September 1, at 330pm. Here is the agenda. Call into this meeting to comment on the re-designing streets to curb racing and the illegal exhaust noise issue.

CALL IN INSTRUCTIONS + TALKING POINTS

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Speaking of Streets For All, the political nonprofit is calling on you to fill a vacancy in your local Neighborhood Council if you live in any of the following areas.

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In a Twitter thread, the LACBC calls for accountability from the CHP for the hit-and-run that injured a 14-year old boy in East LA over two months ago.

Despite catching the crash on video, and multiple news reports, they’ve apparently done nothing to hold the officer responsible, or compensate the bike-riding boy for his injuries.

Click on the tweets for the full thread.

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This is who we share the road with.

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

Utah’s Zion National Park is looking for public input on new bike and ebike regulations that would allow bikes in groups of no more than six spread at least a quarter-mile apart, require riders to pull off to the side of the road for buses, and have a bell on your bike to warn people and wildlife. Because everyone knows cougars, skunks and bighorn sheep will politely move aside to let you pass if they hear the dulcet tones of a bike bell announce your presence.

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

San Diego authorities are looking for a bike-riding arsonist who set a series of small fires in the city’s North Park neighborhood earlier this month.

Probably not the best idea to leave a “sanctimonious, passive-aggressive” note on a Portland driver’s car calling out the expired plates, and suggesting they get rid of it and start riding a bicycle.

Police in Lincoln, Nebraska busted a man who stabbed another man in the back in a dispute over an alleged stolen bicycle, then tried to break into an apartment using lock pick tools.

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Local

Bloomberg considers UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup’s call to stop subsidizing drivers at the expense of everyone else, arguing that free parking is killing our cities.

Monrovia’s new “Biking for Bucks” program promises to reimburse people who live or work in the city up to $350 for the purchase of bikes and ebikes, whether for adults or children, as well as bicycle accessories, purchased between July 1st and September 30th of this year. So start shopping, already.

Active SGV teamed with Alhambra and SCAG to install a new popup bike lane, high viz crosswalks and curb extensions on Popular Boulevard in the city to gather public feedback. But hurry of you want to check ’em out, because they’ll be gone this time next week.

 

State

LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds teams with San Francisco Transportation Director Jeffrey Tumlin to pen an op-ed for CalMatters in support of AB 43, arguing that speeding drivers should not set speed limits.

 

National

It looks like Outside and VeloNews are joining Bicycling in hiding their stories behind a draconian paywall, on the mistaken assumption that preventing people from reading them will make more people want to. However, unlike Bicycling, the Outside and VeloNews stories don’t appear to be available on Yahoo.

Schwinn’s new I Am A Cyclist ad campaign focuses on marginalized members of the bicycling community to show what kind of people really ride bicycles.

Consumer Reports explains the steps they take to rate bike helmets, while InsideHook looks at the best commuter bike helmets for people who hate to wear one that won’t make you look like a total dork.

Best Buy is jumping head first into the ebike business by selling ebikes, e-scooters, mopeds and electric dirt bikes on their website, as well as in some stores.

A writer for Shape raves that her new Rad Power bike actually makes her comment enjoyable. And no, Best Buy doesn’t sell it.

Police in Colorado are looking for a hit-and-run driver who abandoned his SUV, then fled on foot before stealing a bicycle from a nearby school to make his getaway.

This is who we share the road with, part two. South Dakota’s killer Attorney General was hit with yet another speeding ticket — his seventh in seven years — just days before he was scheduled to go on trial for the hit-and-run death of a pedestrian while on his way home from a fundraiser last year. Yet he’s still allowed to stay on the roads to kill someone else, never mind that the $177.50 fine for a simple speeding ticket is nearly a fifth of what he was fined for actually killing someone.

A new Illinois law will require the state to pick up 100% of the costs for bicycle and walking infrastructure on state roadways; the state had previously required the local community to pay 20%.

A four-year old Michigan girl is able to ride a bicycle for the first time, after a fundraiser brings in enough to buy her an adaptive bike, and cover the cost to buy a bike for someone else, too.

Like drivers everywhere, motorists in Dayton, Ohio seem to have trouble figuring out how the city’s new parking protected bike lanes are supposed to work, parking in the bike lane next to the curb while leaving the parking lane empty.

 

International

Wired says Covid-19 means it’s finally time for the 15-minute city, where living, shopping and work are all within walking distance in the same neighborhood. Unless you live in Los Angeles, that is, where city leaders seem to be firmly committed to keeping everything within an hour and a half drive. Except at rush hour, of course.

Bosch says their new upgrades to ebike batteries and motors promise to make your new ebike ride smarter and farther.

Probably not the best idea to try to steal a bike from inside a British police station.

Life is cheap in Australia, where a driver was sentenced to seven years for the meth-fueled hit-and-run that seriously injured five bike riders last year — but with time served, he’ll be eligible for parole in less than a year.

 

Competitive Cycling

Twenty-year old American cyclist Quinn Simmons refuses to limit his options, dividing his plans for next year between the WorldTour and American gravel races.

Red Bull talks with two-time European mountain bike champ Lars Forster about how he went from riding with his dad to riding with, and beating, the world’s best.

 

Finally…

When your status in the local bicycling community hinges on finding the right bike basket. Get your very own bicycle umbrella for your next rainy ride.

And you’ll have to wait another year for a zombie bike ride in Key West.

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

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.

………

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.

………

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

You know what to tell him.

………

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.

………

This is what you call expert level trolling.

………

A brilliant solution for locking your bike.

Unless the thief has a chain tool.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for forwarding the tweet.

………

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.

………

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

………

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.

______

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.

 _____

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.)

_____

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.

_____

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.

_____

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.

_____

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.

_____

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.

_____

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.

_____

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.

_____

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.

_____

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.

_____

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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

Morning Links: Murder charge for killer of Costa Mesa fire captain, Mehta hit-and-run hearing, and racing with a feeding tube

Let’s catch up with a few court cases.

Starting with the allegedly stoned killer of Costa Mesa Fire Captain Mike Kreza, courtesy of our anonymous courtroom correspondent.

Stephen Taylor Scarpa’s arraignment, scheduled for last Friday, was delayed again.

There are so many facets of this case that don’t look good for him: his status as an addict; his admission during interrogation that he should not have been driving; the amount and sheer number of drugs in his system; the presence in his vehicle of drugs obtained from an alleged overprescriber; his crash after “passing out” behind the wheel earlier in the year… etc.

He’s going down.

What perplexes me is the murder charge, because I can’t find any evidence of a prior DUI conviction — within LA or Orange County, at any rate. He could have priors elsewhere.

The Watson law is specific in its requirements: party has to be informed upon a DUI conviction of the possibility of a murder charge if said party kills someone while DUI.

So, this would mean, wouldn’t it, that Scarpa’s been convicted in some court at some point within the past 10 years?

A Watson advisement notwithstanding, PSA’s, American alcohol ads, and the DMV paperwork you sign before the state issues you a license all tell you that DUI is dangerous. But is that bombardment of facts enough to define malice, which is a required component of murder?

There’s one other thing that might convince a jury that Scarpa was aware of the dangers of DUI, enough so to convict of murder and not just manslaughter.

In 2011, as a student at Esperanza High, he participated in an Every Fifteen Minutes event, which is pretty comprehensive. In addition to pulling “dead” students out of classrooms every 15 minutes, a simulated collision is set up on campus, with the driver “arrested,” and moulaged “injured” & “dead” students extricated from the wreckage. These actors don’t go home that night; they’re sequestered overnight at a hotel, where they write a “Today I died” letter to their parents. (The parents also write to their dead kids.) The next day, these letters are read aloud at a school assembly.

Scarpa was one of the dead who was extricated from a mangled vehicle, who told his parents he died, who read this letter to his entire school.

I hope, every night before he falls asleep, he thinks of all the letters Mike Kreza never gets to write.

………

Next up is yesterday’s hearing for the romance authorMedium contributor and Mercedes convertible driver convicted of a hit-and-run that left a Costa Mesa bike rider with a broken ankle.

Pratiti Renee Mehta is back from her vacation in Chowchilla Women’s Facility. She’s in custody in County, awaiting a court appearance this morning. I will be there, because I am a horrible person and will enjoy seeing her violent, unrepentant ass in saggy jail-issued fashion and shackles. The sentencing was in July, and I missed it. How it wasn’t  on my calendar, I dunno. (Busy week with the PAC on the 18th and the Caltrans D7 BAC on the 19th, but I wouldn’t have skipped the sentencing for anything.)

Due to a “clerical inadvertency,” Mehta had been sent up to state prison prior to a required sentencing assessment.

According to court records, on July 17th, the Defense’s request to reduce the felony hit-and-run count to a misdemeanor was denied, and then the judge sentenced Ms. Mehta to 3 years in state prison.

Two other things surprise me about the sentence: (1) The judge actually threw the book at her, wow. (2) The People didn’t request anything close.

That’s right, the People actually requested leniency: 90 days in County and an additional 200 hours of community service. For a woman who broke a guy’s bones, left him in the street, and then put in deliberate effort to lie to the cops about it. I remain furious that the ADW charge didn’t stick.

………

Great piece about an 18-year old competitor in Saturday’s Hillclimb World Championships, who almost literally climbed out of her deathbed to become one of the top young American riders.

Hannah Jordan suffers from an unknown metabolic disorder that prevents her body from storing glucose; when she started on an intravenous formula from a Santa Barbara company, she began to thrive — and kick ass on her bicycle.

She’ll compete in Phil Gaimon’s hillclimb competition on Gibraltar Road with the feeding tube attached, then may train for international competition at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs CO.

And yes, her tube has been approved for competition.

………

Four Boston kids were extremely lucky to avoid serious injury when someone drove directly into them as they stood with their bikes between two parked cars, then sped off with at least one of the bikes still stuck beneath the car; a man says the driver may have been his daughter.

………

CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew nearly gets impaled by someone’s pool cleaner.

………

LA’s People for Mobility Justice needs your support for this year’s fundraiser.

https://twitter.com/ElRandomHero/status/1184226060696604672

………

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

An English bicyclist warned other riders to stop if a car pulls up next to them traveling at the same speed, after he was pushed off his bike by a passenger in a passing car.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a 70-year old driver got two and a half years behind bars for using his car as a weapon to intentionally run down a bike rider and flee the scene — then came back to take pictures of his victim lying broken and bleeding in the street.

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

English police are looking for a hit-and-run bike rider who injured a woman getting out of a car when they collided as he was riding illegally on the sidewalk.

There’s a special place in hell for a Japanese man who rode his bike up from behind a bike-riding 17-year old girl and groped her breast as he rode past, telling police he just couldn’t control his lust for her. Which should be read as a confession from a total asshole.

Police in New York are investigating an apparent hate crime, after a man on a bicycle allegedly slapped a pedestrian in the face and called him “a dirty Jew.”

………

Local

South Central bike riders marked the seventh anniversary of the still-unsolved hit-and-run death of Benjamin Torres as he was riding his bike to work in Gardena. I hope whoever did it can live with the guilt of murdering another human being; I know I couldn’t.

Traditionally bike-unfriendly USC now has yellow-jacketed officers to encourage bike riders, skateboarders and scooter users to hop off before crossing the school’s Hahn Plaza, where they’re all banned.

Someone with a sense of humor offered a tongue-in-cheek response to traffic safety deniers Keep Pasadena Moving’s highly biased survey about streets and transportation in the Rose City. Thanks to Topher Mathers for forwarding today’s best laugh.

 

State

Republicans are complaining about funding from California’s recent gas tax increase going exactly where voters were told it would, with some funds going to transit and active transportation projects instead of being used strictly for road repairs.

Streetsblog says Gavin Newsom’s veto of the state’s Complete Streets bill stinks, and that Caltrans’ reasoning for fighting it is “hogwash.” Someone suggested that we should now call getting hit by driver on a Caltrans-controlled street “getting Newsomed,” just like we called a close pass “getting Jerry Browned” after he repeatedly vetoed the three-foot passing law.

Virgilio Lemus Garcia, the 60-year old victim in Sunday’s Santa Ana hit-and-run, remains in grave condition; police are looking for a dark blue mid-’90s, four-door Honda Civic with probable front end damage and a possible shattered windshield.

Caltrans unveiled plans for a bike lane paralleling I-5 through Encinitas; needless to say, some people — including one bike activist — weren’t pleased.

Apparently never having heard of induced demand, Caltrans will close San Diego’s Friars Road this weekend in preparation for adding a fourth lane in each direction, along with sidewalks and bike lanes. Hopefully, they’ll also consider how the hell pedestrians are supposed to cross that massive monstrosity.

Faux-Danish city Solvang has adopted a new bike plan; needless to say, some residents aren’t happy about it.

For once, bikes get an equal footing with cars. Even if it’s only a benefit show for a Los Gatos art museum. Thanks to Robert Leone for the link.

Sad news from San Jose, where a man died nearly three months after he and another man were hit while riding their bikes by a woman pulling out of a parking lot; the other man died at the scene. Seriously, how fast do you have to be driving to kill two people — let alone while exiting a parking lot?

It was the driver who lost his this time, after a San Jose motorist clipped a bike rider and crashed into a pole; the man on the bike was uninjured.

A San Francisco bike shop put a robot in charge of inventory so salespeople can spend more time with customers.

San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Authority votes unanimously to ban cars from the city’s iconic Market Street. Proving that it can be done on this coast, too. Are you listening, Mayor Garcetti?

 

National

Apparently, it’s okay to be nuts for nuts. But don’t eat too many because they can cause kidney stones, as I learned the hard way.

A new survey from Lime says scooter users don’t want to ride on the sidewalks, but do it anyway because they don’t feel safe on the street. Which is exactly the same reason many bike riders do. And the answer isn’t threatening or ticketing them, it’s building more and better bike lanes.

Seriously? LifeHacker belatedly discovers CO2 cartridges and figures they’re some sort of tire-filling hack.

This is exactly what we need in Los Angeles. A Tucson bike mechanic has developed an interactive map of low-stress residential streets connected with signalized intersections. It’s easy to find relatively low-stress streets in LA; the hard part is putting together a route with traffic signals to get you across LA’s many multi-lane traffic sewers.

Denver is losing its combination cafe, bar and bike shop at the end of the month.

A Colorado woman is riding four days, 158 miles and 8,000 feet of climbing over a high mountain pass, with a man suffering from cerebral palsy in tow.

There’s a rift in Iowa’s long-running RAGBRAI ride, as the entire staff resigned to start a new, seven-day ride across the state, in anger over how the newspaper sponsoring RAGBRAI handled racist tweets by the beer sign guy who raised $3 million for a children’s hospital.

Kansas City’s mayor wants to rip out a new protected bike lane less than a month after it was installed, saying it’s made things very difficult for businesses and residents. Apparently, it must have been installed on a whim, without any studies, since he wants to remove it the same way; any change to a roadway requires time for people to adjust to it before you know how its going to work out.

That’s more like it. A Wisconsin man faces up to 15 years behind bars and another 10 years of extended supervision after accepting a plea in the DUI hit-and-run death of a bike rider.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 89-year old White Plains NY man is back on his bike and preparing for his 20th annual 30-mile charity ride, just two years after heart surgery.

Queens bike riders complain about a terrifying, treacherous but critical route across the borough, after a man becomes just the latest bicyclist to be killed in New York; Streetsblog says if the city can’t protect a veteran rider like the man killed on Sunday, it can’t protect anyone.

A New York public advocate calls for a single unified plan to address bike lanes, homeless shelters and affordable housing, rather than uncoordinated plans for each.

Blackish star Tracee Ellis Ross is one of us, as she takes a bikeshare ride on Gotham streets in a dress and high heels.

A Philadelphia bicycle delivery worker says he stabbed a racist, road-raging driver in self-defense, after the other man threatened to “beat the black off” him, tackled him and lifted him up in the air; he faces a charge of voluntary manslaughter, a big reductio from the original charge of first-degree murder.

It’s no surprise that bicyclists are riding on Orlando, Florida walkways when there’s no safe place to ride on the streets. And no surprise the city is the nation’s most dangerous place for bike riders and pedestrians.

 

International

Wired calls the new Van Moof the ultimate ebike. Although it seems like what they really liked was the extra power from the boost button.

The London terrorist who intentionally drove at multiple bike riders, police officers and a pedestrian outside the British Parliament has been jailed for life.

An English thief got four years and three months for seriously injuring a bike rider on his way to church, while fleeing police after bungling a burglary.

The wife of an American diplomat — or maybe a spy — who claimed diplomatic immunity to flee the UK after the hit-and-run death of a young motorcyclist admits she was driving on the wrong side of the road, and wants to meet the man’s parents in New York to take responsibility for his death. But not, apparently, return to Britain to face charges.

A new British study shows a cheap, widely available drug could save hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide if given in the first few hours after a head injury; the medication, called tranexamic acid, costs the equivalent of less than $8 in the UK. Which means it will probably sell for a couple thousand dollars a dose in the US.

A woman in the UK says she overcame her crippling anxiety by learning to ride brakeless in a velodrome.

My favorite Scottish bike blogger goes riding in the City of Lights.

A pair of Afghan men rode their bikes 225 miles to call for peace in the war-torn country.

Two Indian brothers rode a tandem nearly 400 miles from Kolkata to Darjeeling, despite one having a leg crippled by polio since childhood.

 

Competitive Cycling

Legendary cyclist Eddy Merckx was in a Belgian ICU with a serious head injury he suffered in a fall while riding with friends on Sunday; the 74-year old, five-time Tour de France winner and noted bikemaker is considered by many to be the greatest rider of all time.

CyclingTips examines the cancellation of a WorldTour bike race through the gleaming towers of Hong Kong due to the protests in the troubled city. Is that enough to get this site blocked by Chinese censors, or do I have to try harder?

Bicycling says gravel is the new American road racing, while Cyclist says ‘cross may be the way to get more women into racing.

Next year’s Tour de France will feature all five of the country’s mountain ranges, as well as the shortest longest stage in Tour history.

Chris Froome could follow Greg LeMond in bouncing back from a life-threatening injury to win another Tour, especially if this year’s winner, Egan Bernal, agrees to support him in the race.

A 22-year old Australian driver has pled guilty to killing 23-year old pro cyclist Jason Lowndes while he was on training ride, after prosecutors dropped a distracted driving charge, accepting that she may have been using her phone moments prior to the crash, but not when she hit him.

 

Finally…

Fifty miles short of the goal, but still a wheelie long record. You may need your next e-scooter more than it needs you.

And it’s not a record jump if you don’t stick the landing.

………

Thanks to John Hall for his generous donation to support this site, and help keep SoCal’s best bike news and advocacy coming your way (nearly) every day. 

I know I’ve said this before, but if everyone who visits this site today gave just $10, it would be enough to fund my work for a full year.

And maybe even get a new Corgi.

 

Morning Links: LA Vision Zero is hiding not dead, and prelims for accused killers of Mike Kreza and Frederick “Woon” Frazier

One quick correction.

It turns out that LA’s Vision Zero website isn’t gone, it’s just been subsumed into LADOT’s larger Livable Streets website.

Although, since they didn’t bother to forward the previous links, it’s virtually impossible to find unless you know where to look.

Which may or may not be intentional.

And whether that reflects a lessening commitment to saving lives on the part of the city, or just an attempt to bring all the city’s streets programs together under a single roof, is still to be determined.

Thanks to PatrickGSR94 for the correction

………

It’s been awhile since we’ve posted an update from our anonymous Orange County correspondent, who reports today from the prelim for the driver accused of killing Costa Mesa Fire Captain Mike Kreza.

Stephen Taylor Scarpa had his prelim last Thursday. The courtroom was packed, mostly with family and friends of the victim. The widow held it together surprisingly well.

Scarpa had so many drugs in his system, my notes are 2 pages long. But he might have just “fallen asleep” at the wheel, ’cause that’s happened to him before.

The defense attempted to present Scarpa as a sympathetic figure, saying Scarpa’s actions “killed” himself as well as Fire Captain Kreza. Yes, the defense actually suggested that Scarpa is a murder victim. Audible gasps in the courtroom.

He’ll be arraigned next Tuesday. I hope to make it, because if he’s wise, he’ll go nolo contendere and take whatever plea deal has fallen in his lap.

Meanwhile, Kreza’s sister decided to honor her brother with a tattoo of angel wings enveloping his initials.

And the state legislature voted to name a section of State Route 55 after him.

………

Our OC correspondent also reports from yesterday’s hearing for Mariah Kandise Banks, accused in the hit-and-run that took the life of popular South LA bicyclist Frederick “Woon’ Frazier, as well as the coverup that followed.

Mariah Kandise Banks was scheduled to have her preliminary hearing Thursday morning.

She was late.

This did not escape Judge Lynne M. Hobbs’ attention. Once Banks was present and before her, Her Honor attempted to impart the importance of punctuality. She told Ms. Banks that she’d been this close to revoking bail. She reminded Ms. Banks of the seriousness of the charges against her, and referenced her priors, although I suspect that she was referring to the failures to appear, not the other hit-and-runs (yes, plural).

The prosecutor, citing Ms. Banks’ (and her mama’s) alleged ongoing harrassment of the victim’s family, requested an increase in bail, which the judge denied. The judge further warned Ms. Banks that any restraining order issued against her would become evidence against her in this case.

As Ms. Banks turned to walk away, she petulantly muttered, “Lies!” under her breath. This was heard by the judge, who immediately informed Banks that she was not yet dismissed. The defense requested and was granted that the preliminary hearing be trailed until September 19th, based on a substantial amount of new discovery (evidence) that had not yet been reviewed.

The judge asked why Ms. Banks had been late. She replied she was late because she is not allowed to drive and is therefore dependent on others for rides. (Um. If she is still at her last known address, she lives half a block from the freeway express bus that drops off a few blocks from the Foltz courthouse.) The judge helpfully suggested she find a more reliable way to get around. Inexplicably, Her Honor did not propose that Banks ride a bicycle to her court appearances.

“You are very much on my radar,” the Judge told Ms. Banks ominously, possibly motivating her to be on time.

I really, really like the prosecutor. She’s going to put this killer away for as long as legally possible.

Meanwhile, Spectrum News 1 checks in with the grieving mother of South LA hit-and-run victim Frederick “Woon” Frazier, and uses that as the jumping off point for a broader look at the problems of hit-and-run, and bike and pedestrian, crashes in the City of Angels. Note to non-Spectrum customers: You can still read the transcript, even if you can’t watch the video.

And no surprise here, as KNBC-4 digs into the stats underlying LA’s hit-and-run crisis, and finds only one percent of fleeing drivers are ever brought to justice for their crimes.

………

She also adds this aside.

Wednesday night at 1am, an asshat motorist failed to negotiate the Zoo Drive offramp, took out a bunch of chain link fence, and left giant divots on the grounds of the Griffith Park Dog Park. The location is so close to the river path that obviously those damn cyclists are responsible somehow.

………

The LACBC urges you to contact California’s governor to urge him to sign SB 400, which would allow you to trade your car in for an ebike if you’re poor enough.

Which is a good start.

But what we really need is a program that would allow anyone to trade in their car for a bicycle, electric or otherwise, or a fully loaded TAP card.

Or get a rebate on the purchase of a bike for commuting, so we can start getting more cars off the roads.

………

Speaking of the LACBC, you still have time to complete their survey on what direction the bike coalition should take as it recovers from the disastrous financial mismanagement of the previous director.

………

Bicycling talks with the founder of Project 529 about the ever present problem of bike theft, as their 529 Garage bike registry releases an infographic to drive the point home.

………

Local

The Eastsider offers photos of the stunning bike and pedestrian North Atwater Bridge rising over the LA River, while CiclaValley considers Glendale’s plans for a bike and pedestrian bridge of their own over the LA River, both of which would join two more currently under construction.

KPCC tags along with Danny Gamboa for a first-person look at placing a ghost bike.

A woman was airlifted from the Angeles Crest highway with a severely torn calf muscle after getting hit by a driver, who responded to an oncoming truck crowding the center line by cutting to the right and hitting her bike after getting blinded by the sun. Hopefully the CHP will see that for the confession it is, and not the universal Get Out of Jail Free card it usually serves as. Thanks to Tim Rutt for the heads-up.

Santa Monica-based Bird’s head of sustainability wants to transform America’s streets, even after the company reneged on its promise to fund new bike lanes wherever it operates.

Don’t plan on renting an e-scooter in Hermosa Beach anytime soon. The city has extended its ban on scooters through April, or until they can work out guidelines in conjunction with neighboring cities Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach.

Long Beach warns residents to approve a sales tax extension, or face crumbling roads in the years to come.

 

State

The California DMV will be releasing a guide to your civil rights during a traffic stop next spring. One key point to remember in the meantime is that is you have the right to refuse a search of your bike and belongings if you’re stopped for a traffic violation.

Brooks McKinney talks with the guy responsible for keeping California’s pavement smooth and rideable. Oh, and drivable, too.

Residents of San Diego’s Point Loma neighborhood would rather have a homemade pump track than more housing.

The Department of DIY reared its head in San Luis Obispo, where local bicyclists made their own toilet plunger-protected bike lane, two years after a Cal Poly student was killed by a drunk driver.

Sad news from San Jose, where a man with a bike was collateral damage when an SUV driver crashed into a pickup and spun into the victim as he was in a crosswalk; his killer fled on foot without even looking at the man trapped under his SUV.

San Francisco responds to a jump in traffic fatalities by redesigning intersections to improve safety. Which is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. But usually doesn’t.

Streetsblog SF applauds the city for its quick build strategy, but says the 7th Street protected bike lane isn’t.

A Sacramento-area e-bikeshare program was put on hold after Trump’s China tariffs made it economically infeasible.

 

National

A new book details how America’s transportation systems are biased against women, including a lack of protected bikeways.

No surprise here, as a new study shows deaths from red light-running drivers has hit a ten-year high. But sure, let’s talk about all those entitled scofflaw cyclists.

A new study finds booze and e-scooters don’t mix, as nearly 40% of seriously injured scooter users were legally drunk when they crashed. Note to Today Show — Nice job of inflating the stats to get clicks, with a headline that says nearly 50%, before stepping it down to nearly 40% in the subhead.

A Washington man chased down and fatally shot his mother’s boyfriend as the victim rode off on a bicycle; the boyfriend was allegedly abusive, and had a history of protective orders filed against him by other women.

A Wisconsin woman who describes herself as a casual bicyclist has ridden over 7,100 miles at AIDS rides to raise funds and keep alive the memory of friends lost to the disease; when asked how much she’s raised, she said “Not enough because AIDS is still here.”

Hats off to the Providence Journal, which recognized that most biking riding kids in the Rhode Island city aren’t out to break the law or infuriate drivers.

New York police are looking for a man who beat and slashed another man in a subway station in an attack that began with a dispute over a bicycle.

A New York driver ran away on foot after somehow getting his car wedged in a barrier-protected bike lane next to a highway.

In a tragic reminder that people on bicycles can get hurt in collisions with pedestrians, the New York ebike rider who was critically injured after crashing into a 77-year old man has died, while the older man only suffered minor injuries.

Gotham bicyclists say just getting to a spacious new bikeway across a bridge is hell.

 

International

A kindhearted British Columbia business owner gave a boy a new bicycle when both his bikes were stolen, after the businessman learned the boy had raised over $10,000 for the charity that gave one of the bikes to him when he was diagnosed with diabetes as a five-year old.

An 82-year old Toronto man was overwhelmed by an outpouring of community support after the bike he relied on for transportation was stolen less than a week after he got it.

Canadian Cycling Magazine offers five tips to safely lock your bike.

Van-driving bike thieves are targeting solo riders with expensive looking bicycles on a popular Irish riding route. Correction: I originally misplaced this story as being from Scotland, not Ireland. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the. correction.

Belgian ebike owners are hacking their rides to remove European speed restrictions.

No bias here. After a Spanish study finds “several cyclist and environment related variables” that led to fatal bike crashes, the authors only suggestion was bike riders should wear a helmet.

Even India’s relatively low-cost bicycle industry is being undercut by cheaper Chinese imports crossing the border from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The Radavist takes a gravel bike tour of New Zealand’s South Island.

 

Competitive Cycling

The owner of a women’s cycling team says she was wrong to be skeptical about the Colorado Classic bike race and its commitment to elevating women’s cycling.

VeloNews considers how the Colorado Classic upended the traditional TV model by streaming the entire race for free.

Just one day after losing the leader’s jersey, Nicholas Roche crashed out of the Vuelta.

Cycling Tips says the Cross County World Championships are American mountain biker Lea Davison’s chance to redeem herself after a couple difficult years.

 

Finally…

Now even the birds are out to get us. Who needs a fanny pack when you can carry a fashionable $375 “bike wallet” inspired by chunky bike lock chains?

And who really needs a bike seat anyway?

 

Morning Links: Wicksted and Scarpa face murder charges for separate bike crashes, and bike thieves in action

Sixty-one-year old Claremont resident Sandra Marie Wicksted was formally charged with one count of murder in Saturday’s death of bike rider Leslie Pray in Claremont.

Wicksted was also charged with four counts of attempted murder for trying — and failing — to run down four other riders before she killed Pray.

A source close to Wicksted said her “mental state was deteriorating” in recent years after suffering PTSD nearly a decade ago. The empty liquor bottles in her car suggest she may have been self-medicating.

She is still being held on $2 million bond, although prosecutors plan to request an increase to $6.2 million.

Meanwhile, the allegedly stoned driver who killed Costa Mesa Fire Captain Mike Kreza as he rode his bike has also been charged with murder.

According to KCBS-2/KCAL-9, 23-year old Mission Viejo resident Stephen Taylor Scarpa was under the influence of multiple controlled substances when he drove into the bike lane and onto the sidewalk, slamming into Kreza’s bike in the process.

Unless police are alleging that, like Wicksted, Scarpa deliberately targeted his victim, the murder charge suggests that Scarpa may have at least one previous DUI conviction.

People convicted of driving under the influence in California are required to sign a Watson notice stating they can be charged with murder if they kill someone as a result of an additional DUI offense.

He faces up to 15 year behind bars, and is being held on $2 million bond.

The crowdfunding account for Kreza’s family has now raised over $160,000 in three days.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for Wicksted links and photo of Leslie Pray ghost bike.

………

Granada Hills bike thieves use their SUV as a step stool to break into a complex and make off with three bicycles. And even go back to grab what looks like a tire pump.

Thanks to Joe Linton for the link to the video.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

Or maybe not.

An anti-bike saboteur known as the Boulie Tacker is back in action Down Under, sprinkling tacks on a popular riding route after taking an 18-month hiatus; several bicyclists have suffered serious injuries after hitting the tacks, as well as countless flat tires.

And a “horrifying” video of unknown origin has been circulating online, showing a car passenger firing fireworks at a bike rider and scoring a direct hit.

Or it would be horrifying if it was real; a hit from a rocket like that would probably result in serious, if not fatal, injuries.

………

Local

If you want to know why Los Angeles was never seriously considered for Amazon’s second HQ, consider that their guidelines called for good transit, bicycling infrastructure and affordable housing. None of which apply in the City of Angels.

 

State

Streetsblog talks with Caltrans Executive Director Laurie Berman about Complete Streets, climate change and culture change at the agency; she’s the first woman to hold the top position at California’s Department of Transportation.

The CHP is warning bicyclists and pedestrians in the Modesto area to fight an increase in traffic collisions by making sure they can be seen. They’re handing out free bike lights to help, which doesn’t do pedestrians a damn bit of good.

 

National

A Chicago letter writer the city doesn’t have to ban bikes from the popular — and crowded — Riverwalk; just build a protected bike lane on a nearby street.

Indiana’s supreme court rules that a woman who was hit by an on-duty cop while bicycling with her kids can take her case to trial.

Life is cheap in New Hampshire, where a California woman was sentenced to a whole six months behind bars for fleeing the scene after seriously injuring a bike rider. If the courts and lawmakers don’t take hit-and-run seriously, why would anyone else?

A Pennsylvania letter writer says he’d like to see “a report on accidents, damage and injuries caused by cyclists,” as well as statistics on how many riders have left the scene. Just wait until someone tells him about hit-and-run drivers.

A Savannah columnist says not all bicycling is by choice; some people are just trying to get to and from work the only way they can.

Sad news from Florida, where one of the four bike riders who were critically injured by a 91-year old driver has died; state troopers blame the victims for making an unsafe lane change.

 

International

Cycling Tips lists the world’s ten best bike shops , including the Cub House right here in San Marino.

Lime has launched a $3 million campaign to encourage their customers to use the company’s dockless bikeshare and e-scooters responsibly; a Kiwi car review website says don’t bother, calling it a waste of time.

A British city counselor says he likes the idea of bike paths in principal, as long as they don’t inconvenience those poor, suffering drivers.

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is one of us, participating in a youth bike ride for peace before launching a comprehensive anti-terror military offensive in the country.

Life is cheap in New Zealand, where a road raging, hit-and-run driver walks with just six months probation after deliberately using his car to break a bike rider’s leg. On the plus side, he lost his license for 20 months, and the expenses forced him to sell his car.

The close friend of a fallen Australian bike advocate unleashes on the country’s police and politicians in an emotional video, saying they’ve done nothing to stop bicycling deaths.

 

Competitive Cycling

Geraint Thomas says he and fellow Tour de France winner Chris Froome should be co-leaders of Team Sky next year, even though Froome has four yellow jerseys to his one.

Three-time Polish world champ Ryszard Szurkowski announced he was paralyzed and unable to pay his medical bills after suffering severe spinal injuries in a multi-bike pileup while still racing at age 72.

Former rising pro cyclist Adrien Costa reveals he was trapped under a rock for six hours in the climbing fall that cost him his leg, as Zwift announces a fundraising campaign to help pay his expenses.

Former Australian pro cyclist Jonathan Cantwell has died of an undisclosed cause; he was just 36.

A British woman discusses successfully taking up BMX racing in her 50s, despite suffering from asthma.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could have anti-lock brakes. Your next mountain bike could be a Ducati — if you’re willing to move to Europe.

And your local bike shop could look like an art museum.

Costa Mesa Fire Captain Mike Kreza died, 2 days after he was struck allegedly stoned driver in Mission Viejo

In the end, a man who spent 18 years saving others couldn’t be saved himself.

News broke this morning that Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Captain Mike Kreza had died, two days after he was after he was run down by an allegedly stoned driver while riding in Mission Viejo.

Kreza was training for an Ironman Triathlon when his bike was struck by a car driven by 25-year old Stephen Taylor Scarp around 8 am Saturday on Alicia Parkway near Via Burgos.

He was reportedly hit from behind as he was riding in the bike lane on eastbound Alicia Parkway, suffering critical wounds to the head and body.

The Costa Mesa Fire Department had reported that he was unresponsive as a Sunday afternoon, and surrounded by family and friends.

Scarp remained at the scene. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI after police found multiple prescription medications in his car. At last report he was being held on $100,000 bond, pending a hearing scheduled for tomorrow.

Kreza leaves behind a wife and three young daughters.

This is made even more tragic, not just because of the families he leaves behind — both his own and the close-knit firefighter community — but because so many of us owe our lives to the men and women who devote theirs to saving others.

He died, sadly and needlessly, not in a courageous effort to rescue someone else, but as one of us.

A crowdfunding campaign for his family has raised over $126,000 in just two days, more than five times the original $25,000 goal.

This is at least the 43rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mike Kreza and all his family and loved ones. 

Thanks to Megan Lynch, Steve S and Steven Bonadio for the heads-up.

 

 

Morning Links: OC fire captain critical after DUI crash, Claremont cyclist murdered, and hit-and-run driver ID’d

Tragic news from Costa Mesa, where an 18-year veteran of the fire department is fighting for his life after he was run down by an allegedly stoned driver.

Fire & Rescue Captain Mike Kreza was riding on Alicia Parkway in Mission Viejo around 8 am when he was struck by a car driven by 25-year old Stephen Taylor Scarp, who remained at the scene.

Scarp was being held on $100,000 bond after police found multiple prescription medications in his car.

Kreza remains unresponsive; the Costa Mesa Fire Department tweeted that the next several hours will be critical.

A crowdfunding campaign has raised over $70,000 in just 24 hours, nearly triple the original $25,000 goal.

Let’s all say a prayer, or whatever you’re comfortable with, for Mike Kreza’s full and fast recovery.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

In case you missed it over the weekend, there was more bad news from Claremont, where a bike rider was murdered by a driver who allegedly used her car as a weapon.

Police say that Leslie Pray, a 54-year old Claremont resident, was intentionally run down by 61-year old Sandra Wicksted, also from Claremont.

Wicksted reportedly had swerved in the direction of other bicyclists just moments before turning her wheel towards Pray, and swerving across the roadway to slam into her bike as Pray rode in the bike lane on North Mills Avenue near Radcliffe Drive.

Police found several empty liquor bottles in Wicksted’s car after the crash. She was arrested on suspicion of murder, and being held on a $2 million bond.

Tragically, Pray had only started riding a few months earlier.

………

The combative hit-and-run driver who killed a Van Nuys bike rider hours after Halloween, then fought with police who tried to take him into custody, has been identified as 20-year old Santa Monica resident Alexander Daniel Furtado.

No word yet whether he was actually in the military, as he claimed, or if the camo fatigues he was wearing were just a Halloween costume.

Furtado is being held on $50,000 bond for suspicion of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

The victim still has not been publicly identified.

………

The LACBC’s annual Operation Firefly campaign, which hands out free bike lights to riders who need them, kicks off in San Pedro tonight.

………

Lest ye forget, tomorrow is Election Day. And your chance to Bike the Vote for awhile.

Speaking of which, Bike the Vote LA offers their indispensable voters guide for tomorrow’s election.

The LA Times provides their total list of 2018 election endorsements.

LAist has advice on how to pick a judge to vote for.

Los Angeles Magazine explains what all those confusing propositions actually mean. And has a list of businesses that will give you a deal if you come in with your I Voted sticker .

………

Local

No surprise here. Bird has filed suit against Beverly Hills and their misguided total ban on dockless bikes and scooters. The only question is what took them so long?

The map has been released for next month’s CicLAvia as it returns to the Heart of LA.

California announced the latest round of Bicycle and Pedestrian Education Grants, including $550,000 to SCAG’s Go Human campaign, and a total of $375,000 to the City of LA; Pasadena and Long Beach received $175,000 and $150,00, respectively.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton digs into the lawsuit from self-appointed NIMBY activists Fix the City trying to halt desperately needed growth along the Expo Line. And apparently not grasping that more residential building means less traffic, not more.

 

State

Riverside has opened its first bikeshare system with 55 ped-assist ebikes.

Ride through the Anza Borrego Desert State Park on November 17th, and get rewarded with a cold beer.

Hundreds of bike riders rode through Ventura County in the annual fundraising ride in honor of Mike Nosco, 14 years to the day after he was killed when his truck collided with an unlighted farm vehicle.

A new $13 million bike and pedestrian bridge with provide Palo Alto residents with a crucial link over the massive Highway 101 for the first time in 60 years.

San Mateo County bicyclists now have a safer, green bike lane across a dangerous bridge. Even if the photo clearly shows an SUV driving in it.

Uber’s JUMP Bikes ped-assist dockless e-bikeshare system has expanded throughout the Sacramento area, including bike friendly Davis.

 

National

Good question. A drivers website asks why hit-and-runs are at an all-time high nationwide, but doesn’t really come up with an answer. Although someone should tell them hit-and-run is a crime, not an accident.

General Motors is getting into the ebike biz — and they want you to name it.

A Portland homeowner posted a huge sign in his or her window demanding that bike riders cut some slack when they try to access their own driveways.

The Houston Chronicle says walking and biking in the city can be way too dangerous. Meanwhile, a Houston bike advocacy group is increasing the frequency of their bike safety classes, including what to do in an emergency situation, in the wake of a deadly year for the city’s bicyclists.

Once again, Texas copies California — this time our hit-and-run drivers, and the low bail for the crime. Thanks to Stephen Katz for the heads-up.

A Cincinnati TV station reminds us of the dangers to bike riders and pedestrians after yesterday’s time change. Speaking of which, this is what you look like to drivers in the dark without lights.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Wisconsin driver smashed into a group of girl scouts at they were picking up trash along the shoulder of a highway before fleeing the scene; three girls were killed along with a parent, and another girl is in critical condition.

A 57-year old New Hampshire man rode 5,000 miles across the US, accompanied by his eight-year old dog following behind in a trailer.

A New York resident tries various ways of getting around the city, giving ebike riding an A+ rating — if you can tolerate universal loathing.

A DC website says Philadelphia is kicking the district’s butt on Vision Zero, while a Philly magazine says the city is making progress, but still has a long way to goNever mind that they’re both miles ahead of LA.

A year after Hurricane Irma, a beachfront Hollywood FL bike path is still covered in sand.

One of the four Florida bicyclists run down by a 91-year old driver last week has been released; two others remain in serious/critical condition, while a fourth is in stable condition.

 

International

Evidently, it’s open season on bike riders in Canada. The father of an Ottawa crash victim called the verdict a disgrace as a driver was acquitted in the speeding, hit-and-run death of his bike riding son; the driver claimed he fell asleep at the wheel and had no idea he hit anything, despite awakening to a loud bang.

An English bike rider is snatching phones from unsuspecting women as he rides by.

Shocking yes, but not surprising. Six out of seven drivers who kill bike riders in the UK get off without any jail time. And only a third lose their licenses. It’s probably no different on this side of the Atlantic.

Horrible story from Britain, where an injured bike rider froze to death waiting for help in a cemetery, after police drove off when they didn’t find her when they responded to a call.

Great idea. An Irish politician proposes offering financial incentives to encourage kids to bike to school, similar to the country’s bike to work program.

No bias here. An Irish columnist calls for detente and cooler heads in the conflict between bicyclists and drivers — while painting bicyclists are crazed maniacs willing to go to war with the poor motorists, who have no choice but to drive.

How to plan your fall culinary tour of Copenhagen.

Caught on video: A 24-year old German artistic cyclist performs stunts Peter Sagan could only dream of.

Your spare parts could help keep riders on the road in Kampala, Uganda.

Logging the way to better Kiwi mountain biking.

Melbourne, Australia’s Green Party proposes a 10-mile, multi-lane bike superhighway as the centerpiece of the city’s nascent bicycle network.

The Australian version of Lifehacker considers weather you should get an ebike; among the downsides, they say, is people will hate you and you might hate yourself.

 

Competitive Cycling

Former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins defends his defense of Lance Armstrong, saying he’s “sick of being told how to feel about the sport by people who have never ridden a bike.”

The Cannibal heads Rouleur’s inaugural Cycling Hall of Fame class, along with famed bike builder Ernesto Colnago and British icon Beryl Burton.

VeloNews debates the merits of next year’s Tour de France versus Giro d’Italia routes.

 

Finally…

Forget bike riders, golfers should be the ones wearing helmets. If you’ve wanted to see Lance suffer, you finally got your wish.

And Apple wants to copy cycling’s pelotons for their electric cars.

Hopefully they’ll avoid taking half of it down by crossing wheels.

 

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