Tag Archive for missing person

LA traffic deaths up while bike deaths spike, 19-year old San Pedro bike rider missing, and murder charge in AZ attack

No surprise here.

LAist reports that traffic deaths are up in Los Angeles for the first six months of this year, compared to last year’s already too high death total, with someone killed on the mean streets of LA an average of every 30 hours.

And it’s not just the people in the big, dangerous machines paying the price.

According to the site, serious pedestrian injuries are up 45%, while serious bicycling injuries climbed 34%. And bicycling deaths are up a whopping 40%.

It should also come as no surprise that hit-and-run deaths are up 25%.

In other words, we’re not exactly on track to meet Indian Ambassador Eric Garcetti’s — oops, I mean Mayor Garcetti’s — goal of eliminating traffic deaths in the City of Angels in the next three years.

Never mind all those safer streets we were promised as part of the mayor’s Green New Deal, which will now be up to whoever takes his place — thanks to Garcetti’s remarkably consistent failure to follow through on those promises.

………

Authorities are searching for a 19-year old man who was last seen riding his bicycle in San Pedro Monday morning.

Jankell Hernan Aguilar is described as 5’6″ tall and 150 pounds, with “wavy black hair, a thin black beard along his jawline and brown eyes.”

Anyone with information is urged to call the LASD Missing Persons Unit at 323/890-5500.

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As expected, prosecutors in Arizona have amended the charges against pickup driver Shawn Michael Chock to add a felony murder count.

Chock is the driver who allegedly aimed his truck at a group of bicyclists participating in a senior’s race in Show Low on June 19th, intentionally slamming his truck into ten people; 58-year old Jeremy Barrett died nearly a month later.

Chock was shot by police after standoff behind a hardware store, but has recovered from his injuries, and remains jailed on half a million dollars bail.

………

Make that $190 now.

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There’s a newly completed 13-mile trail leading from Kenneth Hahn to the coast.

Which doesn’t do a lot of good if you can’t get there safely.

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Sadly, it doesn’t take long for most Vision Zero programs to turn into empty promises when elected leaders lack the political will to follow through.

And Los Angeles is the poster child for those failed efforts.

So yes, it’s great that a federal Vision Zero bill has been introduced in Congress.

Let’s just hope it’s more than empty words this time.

Meanwhile, a second bill was introduced by Senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians.

The Vulnerable Road Users Safety Act implements National Transportation Safety Board recommendations, while directing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Highway Administration to —

  • Develop and update performance standards for visibility enhancement systems (i.e. for blindspot detection), connected vehicle technology, and vehicle headlamp systems
  • Establish standards for vehicle bumpers
  • Establish performance standards for automated pedestrian detection systems like automatic braking sensors
  • Include separated bike lanes and intersection safety treatments in the FHWA’s Every Day Counts initiatives and Proven Safety Countermeasures program
  • Improve and coordinate information collection to share, combine and publish detailed crash data allowing policy makers and governments to make data informed decisions

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

Toronto bike riders are “annoyed” that drivers are pushing planters into bike lanes to create illegal parking spaces, blocking the bike lanes they were intended to protect. Annoyed seems pretty mild under the circumstances; more like pissed off and endangered.

Three British bike riders were collateral damage when a suspected drunk driver made an ill-advised pass, crashing into another driver before his car was pushed into a group of bicyclists; all three victims were hospitalized, with one suffering life-threatening injuries.

You’ve got to be kidding. A driver in the UK gets annoyed at following a bike rider, and responds with a close pass and a brake check, followed by a punishment pass for good measure. And all he gets is a stern talking to from the cops.

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Local

Streets For All is hosting another Zoom happy hour at 5 pm on August 11th, featuring Burbank Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, who has been fighting for safer streets as chair of the Transportation Committee.

NPR picks up the sordid tale of the $200,000 in out-of-network medical debt that buried LA’s Phil Gaimon when a major track cycling crash ended his efforts to make the US Olympic team, even though he had insurance coverage. And even they agree he got hosed.

Outside calls Catalina Island a hidden gem for gravel biking.

 

State

Encinitas residents are accusing the mayor and councilmembers of cronyism in approving an $11 million settlement for a local bike advocate who was severely injured when she was run down from behind riding on sharrows. Something tells me she’d be happy to give all of it back if it meant not having to deal with the pain and lasting injuries.

Squatters took over a historic Baptist church in El Cajon during the pandemic lockdown, using it for a chop shop for stolen bikes.

 

National

Trek finally figures out that helping more people ride means more sales for them, starting a nonprofit foundation to help build bicycling infrastructure and mountain bike trails. And outlines the steps they’re taking to improve sustainability.

Conde Nast Traveler talks with author Jennifer Weiner about how she got hooked on solo bikepacking on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail.

This is what it looks like when a Seattle cop right hooks a man on a bicycle.

Great idea. A Colorado bike shop is offering a 10% discount to anyone who picks up at least ten pieces of trash off a bike trail.

North Dakota bike riders can celebrate this Sunday by legally rolling stop signs, when a new Idaho Stop Law goes into effect allowing riders to treat stops as yields.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 95-year old man is taking part in the nearly 500-mile RAGBRAI, the eighth time he’s taken part in the popular ride across Iowa.

An Iowa town remembers a 2008 EF-5 that devastated the region with a sculpture of a tornado made entirely of bicycles.

Houston bike riders call on the city to get more aggressive in implementing Vision Zero to meet the 2030 deadline.

After suffering the embarrassment of a group of white cops filmed arresting a Black bike rider for not having a bicycle license, Perth Amboy, New Jersey is eliminating their bicycle registration requirement. But it’s still illegal to “practice any trick or fancy riding.” Because we all know how damaging “fancy riding” is to the fragile fabric of society.

Seriously? An Orlando urologist says men should maybe cut back on their time in the saddle if they’re trying to have a baby — and not spend more that two hours on a bike regardless. If I’d thought riding my bike would have provided birth control in my single days, I would ridden a lot more than I did. And I rode a hell of a lot.

 

International

An Ontario woman says you don’t have to be skinny to ride a bike.

Toronto is installing centerline speed bumps extending into intersections to keep drivers from dangerously cutting corners.

A London man will spend the next two years behind bars for jumping a red light and slamming into a 72-year old man crossing in a crosswalk, who later died; the Albanian bike rider turned himself in after initially fleeing because he was in the UK illegally.

About damn time. Great Britain is revising the country’s Highway Code to give pedestrians and people on bicycles priority over motor vehicles on the streets, although it still has to be approved by Parliament. Now do it on this side of the ocean.

UK Prime Minister’s Boris Johnson tells local governments to leave bike lanes in place for at least a year, or face a cut in funding.

An Irish bike advocacy group demands immediate action in response to a 13% jump in traffic deaths so far this year. Let’s hope their government listens better that ours does.

Organizers have called off a planned 124-mile Aussie charity ride, after concluding that the “appalling standard” of Tasmanian drivers, combined with “poor road infrastructure” and drivers’ “hatred towards cyclists” made it too dangerous for people on two wheels.

In a brutal irony, an Australian bike rider was killed in a collision moments after he ignored a police attempt to stop him for riding without lights or a helmet, which is required in the country.

A writer for Cycling Tips truly captures the beauty of bicycling with a moving piece recalling a ride through Australian woods to heal from the pandemic year and the death of his father from cancer — but not until his father got to meet his new grandson for the first time.

 

Competitive Cycling

Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic upgraded his 2017 world time trial silver medal with gold in the same event at the Tokyo Olympics.

A German official was sent packing after using a racial slur in urging Nikias Arndt to catch up to cyclists from Algeria and Eritrea in the men’s time trial; German cycling federation sports director Patrick Moster’s comment was picked up on camera and broadcast across the nation.

Dutch cycling great Annemiek van Vleuten finally got her Olympic gold in the time trial, days after mistakenly celebrating what she thought was a win in the road race.

Forget the Olympics. The race to watch this Saturday is the eight-year old Telluride 100 mountain bike race, sanctioned by UCI for the first time.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you’re falsely labeled a “brutal bike thief” on social media for picking up the bike your neighbor was donating for underprivileged children. Do home runs count for more if they nearly hit a bike rider outside the park?

And maybe they could have worded this headline just a little better.

Unless the bicyclists were charged with murder, too.

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

Morning Links: LA bike advocate Dennis Hindman is missing, and former a SoCal cyclist killed in Arizona

Unfortunately, we have to start the week with bad news.

Longtime Los Angeles bike advocate Dennis Hindman has been reported missing by his family, according to a message I received from his niece.

It’s unclear how long it’s been since anyone has seen or heard from the Toluca Lake resident; CiclaValley reports he has been missing for over two months, though a convenience store clerk said she’d seen him just two to three days ago.

Hindman is one of the city’s best bike safety and policy wonks, capable of digging into the smallest details of a project to highlight a specific issue, or uncover hidden problems or unexpected benefits.

He has been a supporter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition for nearly a decade, if not longer. During my time on the board he was an active participant in virtually every committee I was involved in, and never failed to volunteer for the bike count or attend any LACBC event.

He’s also a semi-regular contributor to this site, as well as others. And a frequent commenter on LA Streetsblog dating back nearly to its founding, offering detailed statistics to back up his opinions.

And he’s someone I consider a friend.

Let’s hope this is just a big misunderstanding, and he turns up safe and sound, with a good explanation for why he’s been gone.

If you have any information on his disappearance or where he might be, please contact me and I’ll forward it to the right people.

Update: I’ve received more information from Hindman’s niece.

His family is concerned that he may have had a diabetic episode; apparently he was hospitalized at the end of August for extremely high blood sugar.

His rent was last paid in mid-September, and has not been paid for this month; a police officer visited his apartment and discovered the milk in his refrigerator had expired in August and his bicycle was missing. 

Where he was been for the last two months remains a mystery.  

Update 2: Dennis Hindman has been found safe in a local hospital. More details when they’re available.

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More bad news, as a member of the Big Orange Cycling club was killed in a collision while riding outside Phoenix AZ yesterday.

The victim has been identified on Facebook as 36-year old Rob Dollar.

No details on how the crash occurred are currently available; however, Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson suggests that a teenage driver may have drifted into his lane.

I’m told Dollar had recently moved to Gilbert, Arizona, where he was in the process of forming an Arizona chapter of the SoCal riding club.

He’s described as fantastic guy with a big heart, and “a total badass on a bike.”

This comes exactly one week after Big Orange member Dan Martin was severely injured in a crash while riding home last Sunday, leaving him in the ICU with a broken neck. A crowdfunding campaign to help defray his medical bills has raised over $18,000 in four days.

Update: A Phoenix TV station reports that 19-year old Annaleah Dominguez has been charged with manslaughter and drug charges in Dollar’s death. 

She was reportedly driving stoned when she crossed onto the wrong side of the road to avoid another cyclist, and hit Dollar head-on. 

Police recovered what’s described as “a quantity” of marijuana that had been tossed outside her car by Dominguez or her passengers.

Dollar had been descending from the top of South Mountain when he was struck by the car around 9:40 am; he died at the scene.

Thanks to Jon for the heads-up.

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Sad news of a different sort, as Bike SD founder and Executive Director Sam Ollinger is leaving the organization, which has helped turn San Diego into what is rapidly becoming one of the most bicycle friendly cities in Southern California.

I first encountered Sam when she emailed me asking what one person could be do to help make what was then a very challenging and bike-unfriendly city a little safer for people on two wheels.

I have no idea what I told her.

But I’ve watched as she’s become one of California’s leading bike advocates, helping pave the way for women to rise to the highest ranks of advocacy.

There’s no doubt that she will do well at whatever she chooses to do next.

But San Diego bicyclists owe her a huge debt. And the city will be much poorer without Sam’s voice.

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As we’ve noted before, the war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

A Kentucky woman was injured by fishing line strung at neck level in an Elizabethtown park; police found several other booby traps hidden nearby.

A road raging Toronto driver brushes a bicyclist with his mirror, then tries to run him off the road.

A tailgating British driver get 17 months, along with a 21-month ban on driving, for attacking a bike rider who asked if he’d just robbed a bank.

And an Aussie rider was hit in the face with a cup of ice thrown from a passing car, breaking his glasses and cracking his helmet.

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On the other hand, bike riders aren’t always the good guys. Or the victims.

Tragic irony, as a 91-year old New Hampshire woman who had travelled the world by bicycle with her husband was killed in a collision with a bike rider as she walking along a roadway.

A 73-year old British man selling memorial poppies was seriously injured when he was stuck by a bike rider.

And a Singaporean bicyclist is facing charges for killing a 73-year old pedestrian in a crash.

However, let’s not forget that, regardless of how the media portrays it, the person on the bike is not always at fault.

You should always use extreme care around pedestrians, grant them the right-of-way, and slow down to pass them with the same sort of margin you’d expect from a driver.

But people can be unpredictable under the best circumstances. I’m sure most of us have had someone step into the roadway to cross without looking, or make an unexpected turn into your path.

Just as drivers have an obligation to avoid us, we have an obligation to avoid crashing into people on foot if it’s at all possible.

But if it isn’t, it’s not always the person on two wheels who should get the blame.

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After all that, we could all use a little good news.

A Colorado bicyclist is back on his bike after keeling over from a heart attack in the middle of a ride; he can credit a pair of Good Samaritans with saving his life until paramedics could arrive.

When a British man had to stop mountain biking after ten years due to illness, his friends pitched in to buy him an ebike. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

After a road raging Brit driver posted video of a small group of cyclists riding in the lane ahead of him instead of a bike lane, the police respond by saying they had every right to be there.

No, really.

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Local

Don’t plan on riding the curb-protected bike lanes on South Figueroa anytime soon. Urbanize.LA reports the MyFigueroa project now won’t be finished until next spring.

The LAPD blames the victim — and the press parrots it — after a pedestrian was killed in a Venice crosswalk when a driver stopped for him in the right lane, and a speeding driver whipped around him on his left. Yet somehow, the police say the victim stepped out into traffic, even though he was in a crosswalk with the right-of-way. Take this as a warning to never cross a street, on your bike or on foot, until every driver stops.

This is the callousness some drivers — and some prosecutors — have. After a pickup driver slammed into two women walking in a crosswalk near the 101 Freeway in Calabasas, killing one and injuring her daughter, the driver got out and dragged the dead woman to the side of the road, then backed up, parked her truck and pretended to be a witness to the crash. And the LA County DA’s office refused to file the serious charges recommended by the CHP, opting for just a single misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter count with a max of one year in jail.

A UCLA podcast talks bikeshare on campus.

 

State

Shockingly, the Bike League ranks California third among bike-friendly states; Nebraska comes in dead last. The question is whether California was really that good, or everyone else just sucked that bad.

Around ten thousand people turned out for Sunday’s CicloSDias in San Diego. Or maybe it was only hundreds.

If you build it, they will try to destroy it. A transit-oriented San Diego community is fighting plans to put a freeway onramp in the middle of their neighborhood, after a local non-profit whose mission is to get people out of their cars inexplicably endorses it.

San Francisco bike advocates get a crash course on the ins and outs of building bike parking.

 

National

Two new studies suggest self-driving cars could lead to even greater congestion, while forcing bike riders off the road. Although at this point, you can probably find a study suggesting autonomous vehicles will lead to everything from a bicycling Nirvana to an automotive apocalypse.

A Las Vegas cyclist talks about the dangers riders face on the roads.

A Colorado man has developed a new bike racing board game based on the Little 500 made famous in Breaking Away.

A bridge over Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River gets a road diet to make room for a bike lane crossing it.

Detroit is naming a new bikeway after legendary boxer Joe Louis.

New York police shut down a bicycle jousting tournament, but can’t manage to kill it.

A New York writer says banning ebikes won’t solve the problem of scofflaw cyclists. Never mind that the people he’s complaining about are just trying to earn a living at the bottom of the food chain.

No disconnect here. A New York writer says nine bicyclists has been killed in the city so far this year, then goes on to say “bicyclists are the most dangerous group on NYC roads.” If getting killed makes you dangerous, then baby harp seals must be the most vicious animals on earth.

An Op-Ed in the Washington Post says there’s still some kinks to work out, but dockless bikeshare could be a success.

No disconnect here. A Virginia letter writer says cyclists should use common sense and stay off a road where drivers can’t seem to stay of the gas pedal.

Oh, nothing. Just a South Carolina man riding his bike with a deer slung over his shoulder.

 

International

A Vancouver man calls bike lanes the bane of his existence, suggesting any new bike lanes should have to be approved by referendum.

An Ottawa woman heads a group that rescues injured birds, setting out by bike early every morning to look for birds that have crashed into windows.

Montreal bike riders call for better safety, saying “If you do nothing, we will continue to die.”

An anonymous writer pens a heartbreaking letter to the speeding driver who killed his or her teenage sister as she rode her bike; decades later, the family is still waiting for an apology.

If you build it, they will come. A protected bike lane in Manchester, England is recording over 5,000 trips a day, comparable to London’s cycle superhighways.

A British bicyclist learns that a travel insurance policy offering “comprehensive cover while cycling” doesn’t exactly mean comprehensive. Or cover what you go cycling on.

Steve Katz forwards video of police in the UK going undercover to catch drivers making illegal close passes.

Pope Francis has been invited to launch the Giro d’Italia when it kicks off in Jerusalem next year.

Drivers in West Australia will now face a $400 fine and four points against their license for passing a bike rider closer than the equivalent of roughly three feet at up to 37 mph, or four and a half feet over that speed. In California, it’s just a $35 fine for passing closer than three feet at any speed. And even that is optional if the driver slows down to pass closer at a closer distance.

File this one under you’ve got to be kidding. An Australian writer says bikeshare is a terrorist’s best friend, because a bomb could be hidden in one. After all, it’s just so hard to find a cheap bicycle, or steal one, for that matter. Or some other object that could conceal an explosive device, like a car, backpack or baby carriage.

 

Finally…

Cyclists take part in a five day, week long ride through Israel; evidently, the weeks are shorter over there. If an underage kid gives you money to buy him beer, don’t just pocket it and ride away.

And if you missed it, a bicyclist twice saluted President Trump as his motorcade left his Virginia golf club on Saturday.

With one finger.

Thanks to Al Williams for the heads-up.

 

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