Tag Archive for murder

New bikeways coming to LA’s CD4, murder trial in DUI death of 12-year old boy, and civilizing British streets — or not

At least one LA councilmember is living up to campaign promises when it comes to safe streets.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton is reporting that CD4 Councilmember Nithya Raman is moving forward with plans for seven new bikeways, though her efforts are hampered by short staffing at LADOT.

Linton blames the staffing shortages on the feared budget shortfalls due to the pandemic, which failed to materialize thanks to federal COVID recovery funds.

However, the department has been understaffed for years, particularly in regards to bicycling and walking infrastructure, which has severely hampered the department’s ability to make much-needed changes to our streets.

The bikeways are currently being planned or implemented in Los Feliz and the San Fernando Valley, including —

  • Replacing sharrows on Riverside Drive south of Griffith Park with a lane removal and parking protected bike lane, the first in the 4th Council District, due to be complete in the next few months.
  • Adding protected bike lanes on Riverside Drive north of Griffith Park, in cooperation with Glendale and Burbank.
  • New bike lanes on Hyperion Blvd from Griffith Park Blvd to Rowena Ave to connect current bike lanes on Rowena and Griffith Park Blvd, as well as bike lanes promised for the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge.
  • Closing an existing half-mile gap in the bike lanes on Burbank Blvd between Hazeltine Ave and Van Nuys Blvd, part of the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network.
  • Adding protected bike lanes leading from the G Line — nee Orange Line — bike path to the North Hollywood Metro Station and the Chandler bike path.

Raman is also assuming shared responsibility for portions of projects already underway in what was formerly other council districts, which were moved into her district under the recently redistricting.

  • A new three-mile long segment of L.A. River Greenway from Vanalden Ave to Balboa Blvd, which will nearly complete the river path west of the Sepulveda Basin, shared with 3rd District Councilmember Bob Blumenfield
  • The 3-mile long Reseda Boulevard Complete Streets Project currently  under construction from Victory Boulevard to Parthenia Street, shared with Blumenfield and CD12’s John Lee.

Unfortunately, she no longer has responsibility for much of Hollywood, Mid-City and Hancock Park, so any hope for changes there will depend on who replaces Paul Koretz in CD5, and whether Mitch O’Farrell remains in office in CD13.

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Suspected stoned driver Richard David Lavalle is set to go on trial this week for killing a 12-year old boy near a Costa Mesa park.

The 59-year old Long Beach resident faces a single murder count for running down Noel Bascon as he was riding a bike with his father near Tewinkle Park a little over a year ago.

Lavalle was driving a rented moving truck when he allegedly ran a stop sign, and slammed into the boy as he rode in a crosswalk on Arlington Drive.

He was previously convicted of DUI in San Diego County in 2013, which justifies the murder count for a second violation under California law, and was on parole at the time of the crash.

He faces up to 30 years behind bars if he’s convicted.

………

He gets it.

A columnist for The Spectator says the UK’s updated Traffic Code will civilize the streets entitled motorists have ruled for far too long.

Without digging into the details, the main point of the changes is to give greater priority to vulnerable road users. Or put another way, unlike 007, they’re taking away drivers licenses to kill.

One they apparently issued themselves.

No one set out to turn our towns, cities, villages and rural roads into dangerous hellholes. It just happened as motorists assumed the right to highways which were never designed for motor traffic. It was the exercise of raw power: drivers of motor vehicles lording it over the rest of us because they could.

It’s worth a few minutes to give it a read.

On the other hand, there are people who don’t get it at all. Take this gasoline-addled automotive troglodyte.

Please.

Under cover of Covid, they have turned our city centres into crazy golf courses, intended to frustrate freedom of movement by giving priority to Lycra-clad lunatics on racing bikes and suicide jockeys on e-scooters.

Transport policy has been captured by single-issue, anti-car fanatics, hell-bent on bankrupting businesses and causing the maximum possible inconvenience to the traveling public…

Our other major cities have suffered from pollution-spewing traffic jams created by Town Hall Guardianista polar-bear huggers in thrall to the cult of the great god cycling.

Maybe that should read ‘Cyclops’, since the pushbike lobby are terminally myopic when it comes to seeing any point of view other than their own warped ideology.

Nope.

No bias there.

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When is a Culver City protected bike lane not a bike lane?

When it’s a parking spot.

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Good question.

What does Rancho Palos Verdes have against kids riding bikes at the park?

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It looks like San Gabriel Valley state Senator Anthony Portantino is one of us.

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

Someone is sabotaging a pilot bike lane on a Boston bridge installed to test plans for a more permanent lane, tossing orange cones marking the lane into the Charles River, not just once, but twice over the last weekend.

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Local

LADOT will host a virtual community meeting at 7 pm today to discuss the Lincoln Fast Forward project, which includes pedestrians improvements and rush hour bus lanes, but no bike lanes; however, bike riders are allowed to use the bus lanes, as long as you don’t mind an impatient bus driver running up your ass. You can register here.

A man was shot in a driveby while riding his bike at Whites Canyon Road and Delight Street in Santa Clarita; there’s no word on his condition, or if the shooting was gang-related or a road rage attack.

 

State

Singletracks looks at the California Mountain Biking Coalition, calling it a “squeaky wheel for trail advocacy.”

The Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at UC Berkeley, aka SafeTREC, is opening applications for the next round of its Community Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Training program.

Oakland completes a previously missing bikeway gap on Telegraph Avenue, albeit with just painted bike lanes, rather than the protected lanes found on other segments.

 

National

Peloton is forced to explain once again that their indoor cycling bikes really aren’t dangerous, after a character on Billions suffers a heart-attack following a session on the bike; needless to say, the company was none too pleased.

Here’s your chance to break into the glamorous bike biz, as PinkBike lists 19 open jobs available right now.

Home improvement guy Bob Vila has a seven-point plan to change a bike tire for you.

New York’s Daily News says the city’s new mayor is right to prioritize safe streets, after mixed Vision Zero results under the previous mayor.

Miami reopens iconic Ocean Drive to cars after two years, but with a new two-way bike lane facing the beach.

 

International

Road.cc looks forward to eleven big bike launches expected to be unveiled in the coming year.

Unbelievable. A sheriff’s deputy found a British Columbia driver smoking heroin shortly after he ran down a 67-year old man riding a bike and kept going, even though he knew he hit something but was too scared to stop.

Bicycle holding company Pon.Bike announced plans to return bikemaking to Europe with a Lithuanian production facility capable of building up to 600,000 bicycles a year; they are the parent company of Gazelle, Cervélo, FOCUS, Santa Cruz and other bike brands.

Your next Japanese foldie ebike could come with just 57 low-maintenance parts.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bad news from Colombia, where former Tour de France and current Giro champ Egan Bernal was seriously injured in a collision with a parked bus while training with teammates in his hometown of Zipaquira; Bernal suffered a broken femur and kneecap, requiring surgery to reconstruct his right leg, as well as to stabilize a spinal fracture and traumatic disc herniation.

Former national and Pan-American ‘cross champ Stephen Hyde is calling it a career after ten years on the pro circuit.

 

Finally…

Crashing bicycles, houseflies and infinite series mathematics. Why waste energy pedaling when you could just power your bike with an electric drill?

And seriously, who hasn’t jumped a bike off a hovering helicopter?

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

Update — man and woman killed riding bikes in Chatsworth hit-and-run, first SoCal bike deaths this year

News is just coming in that two people on bicycles have been killed by a hit-and-run driver earlier this evening.

According to KCBS-2, the victims were riding on the 9500 block of North Lurline Ave in Chatsworth when they were struck by the driver of a Toyota Tacoma pickup around 7:15 Tuesday night.

Both victims died at the scene.

Neither has been identified at this time, though the station says they’re believed to be transients. Which should not lessen the tragedy in any way.

The truck was found nearby, and the driver taken into police custody.

Unfortunately, no additional information is available at this time.

This appears to be the first two bicycling fatalities in Southern California this year, as well as the first in Los Angeles County.

Update: KABC-7 reports the victims are a man and a woman, while placing the location at Independence Ave & Knapp Street in Los Angeles, which is nearly a mile away from the original site

However, it’s possible that they may be referring to where the driver crashed into a wall while attempting to get away, after striking several other vehicles. 

According to the LA Times, the driver came to a halt at the corner of De Soto Ave and Knapp Street, which is less than a quarter mile from the location cited by KABC.

KABC also reports the driver may face a murder charge, which would suggest he — or she — may have been under the influence, and possibly a repeat offender.

Update 2: KNBC-4 reports the male victim was identified by his son as 58-year-old Canoga Park resident Matthew Zink; he was riding with a female friend, who was pregnant. 

Which means that three lives were needless snuffed out in a single moment. 

Update 3: KCBS-2 has identified the second victim as 37-year old Ana Hernandez.

Meanwhile, the driver has been identified as 58-year old Nelson Rodriguez. He is currently being held on $4 million bond, with arraignment scheduled for next Tuesday on two counts of felony murder, and a single misdemeanor charge of hit-and-run resulting in property damage. 

There’s no word on why he’s not being charged with felony hit-and-run for fleeing the scene after the murders. Or why he is being charged with murder, which usually requires an intentional act or driving under the influence after a previous DUI conviction. 

A pair of ghost bikes were installed for Hernandez and Zink Thursday night. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ana Hernandez and Matthew Zink, and all their loved ones.

San Diego bike rider allegedly murdered by driver, violent/deadly dirty cop tricks, and razing the Wright Bros 1st bike shop

We’re off to a rip-roaring start to the 7th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

After just three days, donations are already running well above last year’s record-setting pace!

So let’s keep it up! Your contribution will help fund this site until our sponsors renew in the spring, and ensure SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy keeps coming your way every day.

Thanks to Janice H, Michael S, Robert K, Kim D, Daniel F, Arthur B, Mark J, Joseph B, Andrew G, Theodore F, Megan L, Steven S, Elizabeth T, Jonathan P, Douglas M, Amy S, and Jamie S for their generous donations.

And that’s in addition to Robert L, Eric L, David V, Mitchell G, and Olivia K, who donated even before the official start of the fund drive on Friday.

Give now via PayPal, or with Zelle to ted @ bikinginla.com.

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Police allege a San Diego man may have been murdered by a hit-and-run driver, after witnesses apparently told them the driver deliberately attacked him Thanksgiving morning.

Relatives of 40-year old San Diego father Octavio Mendoza called for additional witnesses to come forward in hopes of catching the driver.

Police are looking for a light-colored, older model Chevrolet Suburban or Tahoe; unfortunately, there’s no description of the driver.

Mendoza is at least the 17th person killed riding a bicycle in San Diego County already this year, perhaps three or four times more than in most years.

It’s also the second time in just two months someone in the city has been accused of intentionally murdering a bike rider with their car.

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This is who we share the road with.

Sometimes, I don’t even know what to say. So we’ll let NBC News start things out.

A New Jersey police officer is accused of fatally striking a pedestrian, taking the man’s body home to discuss what to do, and then returning to the scene with the dead man in his back seat, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

They on on to explain the off-duty cop and his passenger fled the scene without bothering to aid the victim or call for help.

Then this.

They reportedly went back to the scene multiple times before they put Dymka into the Honda Accord. They then went to Santiago’s home, where he, Guzman and Santiago’s mother, Annette Santiago, discussed what to do, Stephens’ office said.

Louis Santiago eventually went back to the scene, and his father, who is a Newark police lieutenant, called 911, officials said.

New Jersey State Police arrived and found Dymka dead in the back seat, the prosecutor’s office said.

Did we mention that he’s a cop?

Yet apparently, despite his training, he still had no idea what to do after killing someone with his car.

At least this time, there should be consequences. The killer cop faces charges including reckless vehicular homicide, desecrating human remains, and official misconduct, along with a raft of other counts.

Meanwhile, his mom and passenger are both charged with conspiracy to desecrate human remains and hindering apprehension, among other varied and assorted crimes.

No word on whether the cop and his passenger were drunk or stoned. But you’d sure as hell hope no sober person would do that.

Let alone a cop.

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This is who we share the road with, part two.

A Tucson woman face charges, apparently for allowing an angry driver to assault them.

And yes, he’s a cop, too.

Aloisi and her daughters were walking across the parking lot after brunch, they said, when a vehicle approached them fast before the driver abruptly stopped.

The driver, a man, waved his arms at them and appeared to be yelling, they said, though his windows were closed. The women waved their arms and yelled back at him. Aloisi has a leg problem that prevents her from walking fast after sitting for a length of time, she said…

“He zoomed into that back parking spot, jumped out of his car, threw his hands up in the air and screamed ‘Just f—ing walk’ at us,” Nicole Whitted said.

They tried explaining that their mother can’t walk fast, but the cop continued advancing towards them, before allegedly chest bumping one of the women and angrily taking her to the ground.

He then took the 62-year old mother to the ground as well, holding her down with an arm across her throat while pinning her daughter down with his knee, shades of Derek Chauvin.

Only the intervention of a bystander ended the ugly confrontation after their attacker identified himself, for the first time, as a cop.

Yet only the daughter he allegedly chest bumped was cited for misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Meanwhile, the alleged road raging attacker denied everything and placed all the blame on the three women, apparently getting off with a pat on the back.

And shamefully, did it all with his family waiting and watching in his car.

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Some things are just wrong. And others are wrong as hell.

Zoning officials in Dayton, Ohio voted almost unanimously to allow the city to demolish the first bike shop operated by the Wright Brothers, overruling the city Landmark Commission, which voted to preserve the 129-year old building.

I mean, it’s not like those guys went on to do anything important or anything.

As justification, the city bizarrely cited the Florida condo collapse, somehow seriously equating the dangers of the collapse of an occupied 12-story building with the possible fall of the long-vacant two-story shop.

Apparently, irreplaceable historic sites must be a dime a dozen around there. Because they don’t seem to give a damn about this one.

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Metro Bike is offering a pair of specials for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Black Friday Weekend – 30-Day Pass for $1
USE PROMO CODE:
BIKESEASON21
$1 for a 30-Day Metro Bike Share Pass (Regular Price: $17)
Sign up for a 30-Day Pass online at metro.net/bikeshare.
Valid Thursday, 11/25/2021 – Monday, 11/29/2021.

Cyber Monday – Save 50% on 365-Day Pass
USE PROMO CODE:
CYBERMONDAY21
$75 for a 365-Day Metro Bike Share Pass (Regular Price: $150)
Sign up 365-Day Pass online at metro.net/bikeshare.
Valid Monday, 11/29/2021 only.

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Zachary Rynew reports progress on an extension of the San Fernando Road Bike Path, but notes there’s still work to be done.

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Apparently, there wasn’t a lot of bikewashing at the Los Angeles Auto Show this year, unlike last year when ebikes made a splash. David Drexler forwards this photo of a Shinola bike, noting it’s the only bicycle he saw at the show this year.

Except for all of the mountain bikes used as props on the backs of SUVs, of course.

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Our German correspondent, Ralph Durham, forwards a photo showing how bike lane detours are handled in a country where bikes, and the people on them, actually matter.

I’m sending you a picture of a short Bike and ped detour in Munich.

This is at the corner of Ludwigsbrucke (over the Isar river) and Steindorfstrasse. It is a major intersection. the bikes heading north and south have a direct path under the bridge and can avoid the issue. If you need to turn onto the bridge or off the bridge you will hit this. This bike path has a counter and records hundreds of thousands of trip per year.

The road is 2 lanes in each direction and there is work being done that directly impacts the pedestrian walkway and the 2 way bike path. So they shut down the two northbound car lanes and retriped for bikes and pedestrians to get around the construction.

A lot of care is put into allowing bikes and pedestrians to avoid direct interaction with motor vehicles when construction impacts roads and sidewalks.

Compare and contrast that with how your town handles it.

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Remember this next time you have to lock your bike up to a street sign or parking meter.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up. 

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Over the long weekend, I received an email from a British man, asking me to mention the new foldie developed by his San Francisco brother-in-law — the first folding bike where the wheels fold, too.

We’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s worth mentioning again, since wheels are the biggest size limitation for folding bicycles. And with just one day left to go, the Tuck Bike still has over $42,000 to go to meet their funding goal.

So if you’re in the market for a $1,300 bike that really folds, this is your chance.

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

No bias here. In an interminably long screed, San Diego’s bike-hating OB Rag accuses “extreme” bicyclists of holding sway over area planners for demanding crazy things like stop signs to slow speeding drivers, and not wanting to get killed when they ride.

A British YouTuber and self-proclaimed Voice of Reason offers a bizarre rant, concluding that “supercilious nature is out of control,” and bike lanes — or maybe bike riders — must be banned for the good of the planet.

An unlicensed Aussie driver was finally sentenced to a decade behind bars after repeatedly bragging to people for nearly ten years about the night she chased down and killed a Hong Kong man who was just riding his bike home from work, after he allegedly flipped her off, getting more racist with each retelling.

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

A bike-riding British man got three year behind bars for snatching a woman’s purse, and leaving her with hip and leg injuries after knocking her to the ground. Which is two years and three months more than a career criminal in the UK got for stealing four bicycles in five weeks, on top of more than 100 prior convictions.

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Local

Streets For All urges you to contact the city council to support completion of the Expo Line bike path by closing the absurd Northvale Gap, which was skipped to appease homeowners on the afore mentioned Northvale Road, who worried criminals would ride their bikes into the neighborhood to steal their stuff. No, really.

Streets For All is also calling on everyone to support a Metro board motion scheduled for Thursday to provide an additional $2 million in open streets funding; current funding allows funding of just less than half of the 27 open streets proposals from around the county.

The student newspaper at Cal State Northridge calls on the university to use surplus funds to develop its own campus-wide bikeshare system.

The massive new Burbank bridge finally opened after 20 months of construction, featuring bike lanes on either side, but only a single sidewalk on the south side of the bridge. Evidently, they couldn’t squeeze in another sidewalk because the needed to make room for three traffic lanes and a freeway onramp lane in each direction.

 

State

The San Diego Reader celebrates all the infrastructure options available for bike riders in the city. Although sharrows are nothing to celebrate.

A Berkeley woman is expected to survive after she was critically injured in a collision while riding her bike; thankfully, she was revived after having no pulse and not breathing when paramedics arrived.

A bike rider was killed in a collision in Moraga Friday morning; unfortunately, no details were available about the victim or the crash.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever left a 15-year old Stockton boy sprawled in the street after slamming into his bicycle, apparently not seeing the group of teens on their bikes directly ahead of him or her after rounding a corner.

 

National

A writer for The Atlantic confronts the deadly myth that human error is responsible for 94% of traffic fatalities — unless that human error is actually committed by the people who design and engineer our roads.

A blogger offers tips on buying an ebike, along with recommendations on what to buy.

Singletracks offers their favorite picks for Cyber Monday deals on mountain bikes and gear.

An author Philadelphia author relates how riding her bike helped her cope with a series of losses during the pandemic, including the death of her mother, who taught her how to ride a bicycle.

A five-year old Louisiana boy is able to ride a bike for the first time, thanks to a dozen people who rode their bikes 108 miles from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, raising $30,000 to buy adaptive bicycles for handicapped kids like him.

In yet another example of keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late, a “groundbreaking” Florida neurosurgeon faces a vehicular homicide charge for killing a bike-riding triathlete while driving on the wrong side of the road at over four times the posted 20 mph speed limit in a borrowed Tesla; he’s been ticketed at least three times for speeding in the past five years, at speeds up to 112 mph.

 

International

A coalition of 125 community groups rode and rated Toronto’s bike lanes, concluding that nearly half deserved a failing grade. Anyone want to guess how LA’s bike lanes would fare?

It takes a major schmuck to steal an old, rusty bike from a Nova Scotia man, whole he was busy ringing the bell for a Salvation Army kettle.

That’ll teach ’em. After drivers complained about what they consider overly wide bike lanes, English officials threatened to narrow traffic lanes even more if drivers keep causing crashes.

You’ve got to be kidding. A judge in the UK ordered a former professional cyclist into rehab and wished him well following his drunken strong-armed robbery of a 13-year old girl’s bike.

A Irish man graduated at the top of his class as a bicycle mechanical engineer, 18 years after he was blinded in an assault as a teenager; he built his own tandem bike as part of his coursework.

Bike Radar reports on the cutting edge findings from the Science & Cycling Conference in Leuven, Belgium to help you go faster

An Indian district president rode his bicycle to thank voters for electing him to another term, as well as “raise awareness about the environment, simple living and fitness.”

An Indian man was busted for biking under the influence, just a day after a new Kolkata policy went into effect to give breath tests to suspected intoxicated bike riders.

A Philippine mayor was ticketed for riding a bicycle without a helmet, just a year after she signed a bill requiring them.

Philippine bike riders took to the streets to celebrate yesterday’s National Bicycle Day.

Once again, a member of New Zealand’s parliament has ridden her bike to the hospital to give birth, delivering a. healthy baby about an hour later; she also rode her bike to the hospital three years ago to deliver her first child. Thanks to Victor Bale for the link.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Weekly profiles rising American cyclist and college student Megan Jastrab, who won three world titles in 2019 as a 17-year old junior, and took Bronze in team pursuit at the Tokyo Olympics in her first race at the elite level.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your training as a stunt person lets you walk away from a crash with another bicyclist, with nothing more than a bruised pinkie. Making bike thefts stats drop by giving up on reporting it.

And there’s more than one good use for an ebike.

Thanks again to Keith Johnson.

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Happy Chanukah to everyone celebrating today!

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

Prosecutors throw book at killer Show Low AZ driver, Streets For All blasts Garcetti, and Culver City to open mobility lane

My apologies for yesterday’s server outage that knocked us offline all day. You can catch up on everything you missed here

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More mass casualty bike crashes in the news, as an Arizona website offers an update on the case against Shawn Michael Chock.

Chock is accused of deliberately slamming his massive pickup into a group of up to 50 competitors in a master’s bike race in Show Low, Arizona last June.

He ended up killing one man and injuring six other people when he smashed into the group, then backed his truck up and attempted to make another pass.

Prosecutors allege Chock huffed computer cleaning fluid before getting behind the wheel, whether that motivated the attack or simply gave him the courage to carry it out.

He was shot by police after fleeing the scene and engaging in a standoff with cops behind a local hardware store, and was arrested on his release from the hospital.

He continues to be held on a half million dollars bond, facing decades behind bars on charges including 2nd degree murder, aggravated assault against a peace officer and eight other counts of aggravated assault, leaving the scene of a collision involving death or serious injury, and unlawful flight from a law enforcement vehicle.

His next court hearing is on the 29th of this month. Hopefully in a courtroom full of bike riders.

The website adds that Chock is presumed by court to be innocent until proven guilty.

Thankfully, we’re under no such obligation.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

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Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Garcetti spoke with Spectrum News 1 about his climate goals following COP26. Although as we’ve seen too many times, the mayor is great at talking, not so good at following through.

Meanwhile, bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid takes the COP26 climate conference to task for inexplicably ignoring the quickest and most efficient way to decarbonize.

Bicycles.

That was the same message contained in a letter from over 80 bicycle organizations around the world, who argued that “government leaders must commit to boosting cycling levels to reduce carbon emissions and reach global climate goals quickly and effectively.”

Cycling represents one of humanity’s greatest hopes for a shift towards a zero-carbon future. New research shows that life-cycle CO₂ emissions drop by 14% per additional cycling trip and by 62% for each avoided car trip. Switching from a car to a bicycle saves 150g of CO₂ per kilometre. E-cargo bikes cut carbon emissions by 90%compared with diesel vans. Swapping the car in cities for walking and cycling even just one day a week can reduce your carbon footprint by about half a tonne of CO₂ over a year. Building synergies with other travel modes such as public transport can critically enhance this potential.

Our world is on fire. We must urgently leverage the solutions that cycling offers by radically scaling up its use. What we need now is for governments to politically and financially commit to more, safer and integrated cycling that is equitable for everyone living in our countries, cities and regions…

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Culver City is opening the city’s first mobility lane designed for scooters, bikes and ebikes on November 20th.

https://twitter.com/CulverCityBus/status/1455594901454741504

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Both San Diego and San Jose are celebrating open streets events this Sunday, with San Jose hosting Viva CalleSJ.

And the San Diego Bike Coalition co-hosting CicloSDias on the streets of Pacific Beach.

Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up. 

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Leone also reminds us to take extra precautions as Daylight Savings ends this Sunday.

Make sure you have lights on your bike if you’ll be riding after dark, with the sun setting around 5 pm next week; I also carry lights with me anytime I ride in the late afternoon, in case a flat or mechanical problem delays my return.

And ride defensively, especially for the first few days next week, because the initial days after Daylight Savings ends are always among the worst days for traffic collisions.

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Damn, that really is a close call. If the guy on the bike hadn’t been a cop, the driver probably would have gotten away with it.

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

San Diego police are looking for a man riding a blue mountain bike with black rims and silver spokes, who is described as a person of interest after a woman was sexually assaulted in a Mission Bay restroom.

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Local

LADOT is planning to extend the bike lanes on Riverside Drive in Los Feliz from Glendale Blvd to Los Feliz Drive, after the street is resurfaced over the next year; the work will also include upgraded paint and crosswalks.

A writer for the Financial Times laments LA’s unrealized potential as a bicycling city. As do we all.

Santa Monica-based Bird is planning to go public despite a history of financial losses, merging with a Dallas-based special purpose acquisition company in hopes of raising $384 million in capital.

Opening arguments began in the civil trial against a Metro contractor for the 2017 death of 13-year old Ciara Smith on PCH in Redondo Beach; her attorney blamed poor training of the driver, while the defense placed the blame on bad road design.

A 31-year old man was fatally shot while riding a bike in Long Beach on Friday.

 

State

Santa Barbara County will take its ebike demo to Santa Maria for five days this month, allowing people to try them out and even take one home overnight.

Sad news from Oakland, where an e-scooter rider was killed by a wrong-way driver who allegedly ran a red light; Streetsblog argues that the paint on the street was insufficient to protect her, or anyone else.

More in the Santa Rosa woman who was seriously injured in Saturday’s mass casualty bike collision in Liberty County, Texas; 59-year-old Barbara Anne Ferrell was one of three bicyclists struck by the driver while on a cross-country ride.

 

National

They get it. Fast Company compares the $12,500 tax incentive to buy an electric car contained in the stalled Build Back Better bill with the relatively paltry $1,500 tax break for buying an ebike, charging that the bill continues the harmful automotive dominance in our cities.

This is who we share the road with. Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III faces up to 20 years behind bars for the fiery, high-speed crash that killed an innocent woman and her equally innocent dog; he was released from the team hours after his arrest on felony DUI and reckless driving charges. You know you’re toxic when even the Raiders won’t touch you.

The bike theft scourge has infected the entire country, even in small Midwestern towns like Iowa City.

Hundreds of people turned out to honor a fallen Chicago man at a ghost bike ceremony yesterday, while a crowdfunding campaign for the popular amateur cyclist has raised more tha $164,000 in just four days.

 

International

Canadian mountain biker Magnus Manson has started the Conquer Your Challenge crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for aspiring Canadian cyclists, as he battles stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma; he’s already topped the $10,000 goal bu raising over twelve grand.

A Toronto op-ed accuses the city of falling short on efforts to stop pedestrian traffic deaths, despite its Vision Zero program.

A Scottish legal columnist explains the defense of automatism — where someone isn’t in control of their actions through no fault of their own and have no knowledge of what happened — after a driver was acquitted of killing a man on a bike because she claimed she had no memory of the crash.

A website in Scotland recommends banning cars from schools and building a walking culture in kids to improve safety and cut climate-damaging emissions. Although they should also add riding their bikes to school to that.

A South African musician is scaling up the country’s first ebike delivery service.

 

Competitive Cycling

British cyclist Alex Dowsett is in Mexico City, attempting to retake the hour record he first set in 2015.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to steal a bike, at least have the decency to leave your old one in its place. Who needs carbon fiber when you can build your own bike out of wood?

And why carry a tent on your bike when you can build your very own self-powered wooden e-camper van bike?

………

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

Bike rider allegedly murdered by driver while trespassing on San Diego horse ranch; 16th bike death in SD County

Horrific news from San Diego, where a man on a bike died up to a week after he was intentionally run down with an SUV.

The victim was reportedly trespassing on a horse ranch near the Mexican border on Monday, September 27th, when the owner’s adult son used his car as a weapon to slam into him with enough force to shatter his bicycle.

Allegedly, of course.

According to OnScene TV, the victim was a former worker on the Tijuana Valley ranch, who had reportedly been barred from the property.

The son gave chase in a Kia SUV, crashing into him at a high rate of speed, before losing control and smashing into bollards on the side of the dirt road.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was rushed to Mercy Hospital with major injuries, where he died sometime on or before October 5th.

The driver also suffered serious injuries, and had to be extricated from his vehicle.

Video from the scene suggests the crash occurred on Rancho La Palma, at 2325 Hollister Street in San Diego.

This is at least the 54th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th that I’m aware of in San Diego County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.

Warning, this video shows the driver being removed from the SUV and placed on a backboard. So be sure you want to see that before clicking on it. 

 

Murder charge for Oxnard hit-and-run, bike lane funds stalled in infrastructure bill, and take Metro to Sunday’s CicLAvia

Ventura County prosecutors threw the book at the alleged hit-and-run driver who killed a bike-riding boy last week.

Thirty-nine-year old Oxnard resident Julio Sanchez was arrested at his home last Friday, a day after 16-year old Port Hueneme resident Andres Hernandes was run down from behind on an Oxnard street.

Police had found Sanchez’ abandoned car a few hours after the crash.

Sanchez pled not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter with prior DUI convictions, leaving the scene of an accident, and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

At last report, he was being held on a half-million dollars bail.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

……..

This is what we have to look forward to in the unlikely event Congress ever gets its shit together.

More bike lanes that are clearly separated from streets. More pedestrian-friendly street designs. And more safety features on cars

California and other states are in line for a lot more money to implement such plans, thanks to the $1 trillion infrastructure bill the House is considering.

………

The Source reminds us about this Sunday’s Heart of LA CicLAvia. And encourages you to leave the car at home and take Metro, instead.

With your bike, of course. Or your feet, if you plan to walk it.

………

A series of free online bicycling symposiums will lead into next year’s California Bicycling Summit in Oakland, with leading bike researchers Ralph Buehler and John Pucher discussing Cycling for Sustainable Cities next Tuesday.

………

You may have follow a detour if you’re riding the Ballona Creek bike path for the next several days.

But that’s better than the Higuera Street bridge, which will be closed for more than a year.

………

When is a bike lane not a bike lane?

When it’s free protected car parking in DTLA.

https://twitter.com/ChrisByBike/status/1445456484905611269

………

Call it a desire line, as the Department of DIY strikes along PCH in Orange County.

………

If you want to ride a bike badly enough, you can usually find a way.

………

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

No bias here. Enraged New York drivers see an “extraordinary” plot between Uber and Lyft, and a “militant local bike lane group” to deprive them of their God-given right to free parking by building a protected bike lane. Never mind that the ride-hailing companies support the city’s leading bike advocacy group Transportation Alternatives because bike lanes and safe streets are good for their e-scooter and dockless bikeshare businesses. Or that Lyft manages New York’s Citi Bike docked bikeshare, as well. 

Bizarre story from Ontario, Canada, where a woman allegedly threatened two bike-riding teens with a knife after accusing them of being on her property — even though they were on the sidewalk — then apparently ran them down with her car after they tried to leave.

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

Police in New York are looking for a black-clad bike rider who punched a pedestrian in the face as he rode by, then calmly took $100 out of the man’s wallet before riding off.

………

Local

Ride Metro buses and trains for free today, as well get free Metro Bike bikeshare rides, to celebrate California Clean Air Day.

LA’s cool pavement project expands to NoHo, promising to reduce temperatures on the streets we ride, which can rise to as high as 140°.

The annual Bike It! Walk It! week returned to Santa Monica schools this week to encourage students to get out of their cars, or their parent’s cars, and walk or ride to class.

Long Beach will hold a virtual meeting tomorrow to discuss a $3.7 million infrastructure improvement project on Santa Fe Avenue in West Long Beach, which includes a new bike route.

 

State

The San Diego Reader considers whether OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace could be behind the city’s soaring rate of bike thefts.

A woman who’s been hit by drivers twice while riding on Sunnyside’s 39th Street says stop signs and speed bumps aren’t enough to tame the city’s drivers, which is why a bike boulevard is needed. Needless to say, some of her fellow residents disagree.

Tragic news from Stockton, where a 13-year old girl was “struck and killed by a vehicle.” Judging by the article, the driver of said vehicle was apparently only coincidently involved.

Life is cheap in San Ramon, where a distracted driver walked with no charges for running down popular NFL assistant coach Greg Knapp as he was riding his bike, despite admitting to looking at his hands-free cellphone.

 

National

Seriously? The US Consumer Product Safety Commission warns about the dangers of micromobility, with e-scooter, ebike and hoverboard injuries up 70% in the last four years, and 71 deaths over the same period. Just wait until someone tells them how many bike riders and pedestrians were killed in the same four years. And it only makes sense that injuries went up since micromobility use has skyrocketed.

Smart Cities says smart cities are beefing up their bike infrastructure in response to the pandemic bike boom. Then again, no one has accused Los Angeles of being a smart city in recent years.

Once again, a science website has concluded that bicycling is better for your overall health than walking. Even if walking ain’t bad.

United Airlines becomes the latest major airline to drop fees to fly with a bicycle, joining American and Delta in making the move.

Electrek examines why ebike sales are increasing 16 times faster than general bicycling. Hint: They’re fun, easy to ride and anyone can do it.

Ford is applying for a patent on a new kind of automated electronic derailleur.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Las Vegas 4th grade teacher and baton coach was killed while riding her bike to school when a driver blew through a stop sign.

A Denver nonprofit is encouraging bicycling by paying people between 15 and 30 cents per mile to ride a bike this month, for a maximum of $75

Colorado’s legislature has finally figured out the obvious problem with the state’s ridiculous opt-in Idaho Stop, aka Stop as Yield, Law, which allows local jurisdictions to decide whether to adopt it. And leads to confusion when bike riders have no idea when they’ve crossed from one city to another, and whether or not they have to come to a full stop.

A Chicago attorney is offering a reward to find the driver who pulled into a bike lane, where his passenger was caught on camera dooring a passing bike rider.

A Nashville walking and bike advocacy group says a recent deadly scooter crash calls out the need for more bike lanes in the downtown area to meet expanding demand.

Speaking of Nashville, country music star Chris Stapleton is one of us, finding balance by riding a mountain bike during the pandemic.

A seven-year old Long Island boy raised over $4,000 for the heroes of 9/11 by riding his bike 20 miles. And insisted on finishing despite crashing his bike into a thorny fence, saying he wasn’t in as much pain as people on 9/11.

A new study reveals what they describe as the “harrowing safety risks” faced by New York’s app-based delivery riders, with half of riders reporting they’ve been involved in a crash or some other incident.

New York police busted a 14-year old boy for randomly attacking several older Brooklyn residents, including an 81-year old man and a man riding a bicycle.

DC is now requiring e-scooter users to lock their scooters to a bike rack when they’re done, which isn’t likely to improve safety or reduce clutter, while blocking parking access to bike riders who need it.

No bias here, either. After initially fleeing the scene, a Florida hit-and-run driver returned to blame the victim, insisting he didn’t know “why that person was in the road;” fortunately, he was arrested anyway.

 

International

Where to rent a bike on your next trip to Tobago.

Ontario, Canada’s equivalent of the Motor City used to be a bicycling paradise — if you go back 130 years.

After England suffers major flooding, a London cabbie somehow blames bike lanes for causing it. Which doesn’t explain why the streets without them flooded, too.

A man from Jersey spent his pandemic lockdown filming bike rides on routes throughout the British island, allowing bike riders around the world to share his rides from the comfort of their own homes.

Britain’s ongoing gas shortage has led to a 119% jump in bike sales, with sales of commuter bikes up 194%.

British advocates argue that bicycle infrastructure has to extend to rural areas, as well as cities, after a 43% jump in bike deaths on country roads last year.

A writer for the UK version of GQ accepts a challenge to ride the full length of the country, and shares what it was like to cover 970 miles in a week and a half riding from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

More proof life is cheap in Great Britain, where a hit-and-run driver gets a lousy 12 months behind bars for killing the 31-year old daughter of a member of Parliament as she was riding her bike.

Dutch neurologists call on people in the bicycle-riding country to wear bike helmets, despite — or maybe because — virtually no one does, even though Dutch riders suffer roughly 16,500 bicycling brain injuries each year.

France is offering drivers the equivalent of $2,975 to trade in their old smog-belching cars for clean new ebikes.

High-end Italian bikemaker Colnago says their blockchain cryptosecurity is the solution to bike theft, but you’ll just have to trust them on that. But at least you can trust Yahoo to let you read it if Bicycling won’t.

A trio of Aussie researchers analyzed bikeshare data from 40 international cities to determine where bike riders are most likely to brave the rain and snow, with Dublin, Ireland and Seville and Valencia, Spain taking the lead.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Weekly offers a cyclist’s-eye view of last weekend’s Paris-Roubaix.

Longtime Irish cyclist Nicolas Roche is calling it a career after 17 years in the pro peloton.

There’s more than one way to stop when you don’t trust your disk brakes.

 

Finally…

This may just be the best bike name ever. Who needs rain gear when you can carry a roof with you?

And that feeling when you try to steal the same bait bike twice.

………

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

It’s Car Free Day, San Diego driver faces murder for meth-fueled death of Laura Shinn, and always carry ID on your bike

Happy International Car Free Day!

Metro Bike is offering a free bikeshare ride today to celebrate, along with steep discounts on 30 day and yearly passes.

And a European website says if there is a war on cars, Car Free Day is winning converts to the anti-car side.

So leave the car at home today.

Or better yet, declare your own personal war on cars, and trade it in for a new bike or ebike, and make it Car Free Day every day.

………

A San Diego man faces years, if not decades, behind bars for killing a woman as she rode her bike.

Thirty-eight-year old Pacific Beach resident Adam David Milavetz is charged with murder for running down well-known architect Laura Shinn while high on meth as she rode her bike to work in a Balboa Park bike lane last July.

He faces an additional felony count of vehicular manslaughter while under the influence, giving jurors a choice of charges and potential sentences.

Milavetz, who works as a “420 mobilization tech” and delivery driver for a pair of cannabis dispensaries, entered a plea of not guilty to the charges; he has been held in custody without bail since his arrest.

He was arrested a month earlier for driving while high on meth.

And once again, authorities managed to keep a dangerous driver the road until it was too late.

………

Momentum Magazine says there’s still a lot worth fighting for in the $3.5 trillion House infrastructure bill, even if Congress did cut the proposed $1,500 ebike tax credit in half.

The e-bike tax credit and other bicycle programs that make up the massive bill are as follows, and it signifies a welcome change and an indication of just how fast and how large e-bikes sales are growing:

  • E-bike tax credit: 15% on the purchase of new e-bikes (the first $5,000), up to $750 benefit value. The credit was originally proposed for 30%.
  • Bicycle commuter benefit: Allow use of pre-tax dollars to fund bike purchases and bike-share memberships.
  • E-bikes for business tax credit: An incentive of a tax credit of 30% for businesses to install e-bike charging stations
  • Funding to reconnect or enhance communities split apart by highway projects.
  • Opportunities to build a sustainable and complete bicycle network.

Meanwhile, drivers will continue to get a tax credit ten times that size for buying an electric car, as the government works to maintain the automotive hegemony on our streets.

And never mind that the prospect for the House bill aren’t looking good in the evenly split Senate, where Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema are insisting on further steep cuts to the bill, even though it has already been reduced $1.5 trillion from the original proposal.

Slate asks what if Congress helped bicyclists instead of drivers for a change?

………

Yet another reminder to always carry ID when you ride.

Authorities in Sacramento are trying to identify a Spanish-speaking man who is trapped in a fugue state following a collision with a driver while riding his bicycle, and can’t even remember his own name.

But don’t rely on your wallet or cellphone, or anything else that can be easily stolen if you’re incapacitated in a crash; it may sound ghoulish, but it happens often enough to be a valid concern.

I always wear a Road ID when I ride. Or any other time I leave home.

I also keep emergency contact information written down on a slip of paper in my jersey pocket or seat bag; other people attach information on their shoes or directly to their bikes.

But do something. You don’t want your loved ones frantically searching for you if anything happens.

Thanks to “Zero Carbon” Kevin and Megan Lynch for clarifying where this took place.

………

Unless you have to share the road with LA drivers, that is.

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If you build it, they will come. Women, too.

………

GCN examines whether we should be afraid of bicycles made by carmakers.

………

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

Police in the UK criticize the “depressing level of selfish and poor behavior” shown by motorists during a sting operation to catch drivers who pass too close to people on bicycles; a fifth of all drivers were stopped for violations.

Meanwhile, a bike rider in Cornwall, England shares video of repeated bad passes by drivers.

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

Police in Regina, Saskatchewan tackled a man off his bicycle as he attempted to flee, booking him on 11 counts including weapons charges, assault and possession of burglary tools.

………

Local

A Long Beach couple started a petition demanding safety improvements to Los Coyotes Diagonal after their son was killed by a suspected drunk driver while trying to cross the deadly street earlier this month, where far too many people have been killed in recent years — including a pair of bike riders just two years ago.

 

State

If you ride in the Santa Barbara area, the CHP will be distributing enough bike lights, reflectors and helmets for one thousand people in Isla Vista this evening.

An Oakland website examines why the area’s roads are among the deadliest in the state, and asks for their readers help in finding out.

Marin County drivers and officials are once again coming for the successful bike lane on the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, after a study suggested that converting it back to a traffic lane could save drivers a whole eleven minutes, while costing bike commuters hours. Or forcing them back into cars. Sure, let’s just turn all the streets back over to cars. It’s not like there’s a climate or fatality crisis or anything to worry about.

 

National

National Geographic says there are good reasons to believe America’s pandemic bike boom will become a longterm trend.

A Tesla fan site explains how the carmaker’s Full Self-Driving Beta steers cars around bike riders and pedestrians. The problem is, Tesla is turning all of us into unpaid beta testers just by sharing the road with them, whether we like it or not. 

A Streetsblog op-ed says playable streets represent the next frontier in public spaces, with infrastructure and street furniture designed to inspire imagination.

A first-time ebike rider says the new 28 mph Specialized ebike won him over — especially the Garmin sensor feature that displays the position of cars around and behind the bike on a small screen on the handlebars. Although that maximum speed means a helmet is required in California, regardless of age, and it would be banned from separated bike paths.

Bicycling offers tips from the pros for beginning riders. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

A Nevada couple faces a shitload of charges for killing the wife of a Tesla co-founder as she rode her bike last July, then lying about who was behind the wheel; a TV reporter explains the driver is charged with reckless driving causing death, rather than vehicular manslaughter, because the former is a felony while the latter is just a misdemeanor. Thanks to Al Williams for the tip.

A suspected Arizona bike thief was killed after he dropped the bicycle to flee from police and ran out into traffic — and into the side of a box truck, before getting hit by another driver.

The Sierra Club magazine talks with Detroit bike riders about the difficulty of Biking While Black, even in a city that’s overwhelmingly African American.

Dayton, Ohio wants to destroy the 1892 building that housed the Wright Brothers first bike shop, saying it’s become a nuisance after falling into a state of “extreme disrepair.” Although once a historic site is gone, you can’t get it back.

They get it. A Bangor, Maine newspaper reminds us that pedestrian deaths aren’t statistics, they’re people. That goes for people on bicycles, too. Or anyone else who’s a victim of traffic violence.

Maryland is investing $16.8 million to fund 42 bike projects around the state. Although Amazon donated nearly half that amount to complete two bike trail segments near their Bellevue, Washington HQ2 alone.

 

International

The Finnish city of Turku is attempting to promote bicycling by experimenting with different types of secure bike parking, including public ebike charging cabinets that can automatically extinguish a battery fire.

If you can live without the extra bells and whistles and Garmins, you can get a new Chinese-made Tenways ebike right now on Indiegogo for less than half the price of the Specialized ebike.

Singapore Facebook users freak out after spotting someone riding a recumbent bike, accusing the low rider of courting death.

 

Competitive Cycling

Hats off to 23-year old Christopher Blevins, who became the first American to win a Mountain Bike World Cup race in 27 years on Sunday.

 

Finally…

That feeling when even a nine-foot fence and a pond aren’t enough to deter a bike thief. That feeling when you want an ebike, but secretly wish it was a motorcycle.

And don’t bother showing up for a Covid test if you’re not in a car.

………

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

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

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