Tag Archive for no justice

Pasadena Transportation chief to head LADOT, soft launch for CA ebike rebates, and lousy $500 ticket for AZ sideswipe

Well, I’m underwhelmed.

Nine months after Karen Bass became mayor of Los Angeles, she finally got around to naming someone to lead LADOT.

According to Streetsblog, current Pasadena Transportation head Laura Rubio-Cornejo will become the next general manager of the Los Angeles transportation department, assuming she’s approved by the city council.

Which is pretty much a given in a city where most councilmembers are loathe to rock the boat.

Rubio-Cornejo, who previously led Metro Countywide Planning, replaces underperforming former LADOT and NACTO chief Seleta Reynolds, who left for greener pastures at Metro a year ago.

Despite sky high expectations, Reynolds was largely a disappointment at LADOT, where her hands were tied by risk-averse city officials, and never appeared to have the full backing of former LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Whether Rubio-Cornejo fares any better remains to be seen.

But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Photo from City of Pasadena, via Streetsblog.

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Still no word on when the statewide launch of the California ebike rebate program will take place.

According to Calbike, San Diego’s Pedal Ahead, which has been chosen to administer the program, announced its long-awaited soft launch.

No, really.

We are currently launching a multi-phase California E-Bike Incentive Project soft launch which includes retailer onboarding and training, community-based organization (CBO) outreach and community engagement, and the website launch. The next one to two months will be focused on retailer and CBO outreach, which will be happening concurrently leading up to the application window opening.

The soft launch will focus on four regions in California and we have already begun introducing the program to local CBOs and identifying retailers in the regions to make sure they are fully supported with the appropriate program support, trainings and resources.

So, at least another month or two before we can expect to see any action outside of a few select, unnamed areas. And before we can start seeing more ebikes replace smelly, dangerous, climate-killing cars here in the late, great Golden State.

Anyone who’s been holding their breath waiting for this is probably dead by now.

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You’ve got to be effing kidding.

Life is cheap in Arizona, where the driver who sideswiped a bicyclist taking part in a club ride, sending three people to the hospital, walked with a ticket for an unsafe pass carrying a lousy fine of up to $500.

Because evidently, knocking multiple bike riders down like so many bowling pins is just no big deal.

And pretty much legal.

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Huh?

A writer for an Aussie website calls for mandatory registration and license plates for cyclists.

But not for people riding bikes.

By his standard, if you earn money riding a bike — like delivery riders — you’re a cyclist. But if you just ride to work once a year, or ride to the park with the kids, you’re just riding a bike.

Then there’s this.

If you routinely spend every Sunday morning rolling en masse along a beachside boulevard, pumping the blood as much as you are metaphorically pumping your fist at an imaginary Le Tour stage gate, then you are a cyclist too and you should probably pay for registration.

You’re on the road. You’re using the infrastructure. You are at risk from other cyclists and you are a risk to pedestrians. Plus, I can’t be the only person to have seen riders sail through red traffic lights…

Never mind that people taking part in group rides are usually in the traffic lane, not using bicycle infrastructure.

Or that splitting hairs must be easier down there, as he somehow expects police to tell whether someone on a bike rides every weekend, or just this once.

Or whether that guy riding to the park with his kids may have just finished a fast half century with the club.

Although his primary concern — I say his, since it has a man’s byline, but is so self-contradictory it could easily have been generated by AI — appears to be forcing bicyclists to carry insurance and get some skin in the game.

As with all these adjustments in the way we live our lives, we need the powers that be to arrange a little quid pro quo. Remove vehicle lanes to encourage more bike riders, so why not extend the reach of the third-party insurance that is included with motor vehicle registration to cover you when on your bike? You’ve paid the fee, does it really matter what vehicle you are using?

After all, you can’t drive and ride at the same time…

Plus, if we want less cars and more bicycles, taxation has to come from somewhere. Surely it would be better to recognise a contribution of your bicycle registration than to just have everything else ratcheted up to account for the gap.

It’s likely this piece is nothing more than an effort to create a little controversy to drive traffic to the site, while signaling to car shoppers that they’re on their side.

But they may find out the hard way all those weekend warriors on bikes buy cars, too.

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The New York Times continues their bizarre anti-ebike campaign, arguing that parents don’t know whether to view the bikes as freedom or danger, as more teens take to them.

For the moment, the power to decide what teenagers may or may not ride falls to a nongovernmental authority: parents. Across the country, they are expressing a mix of enthusiasm, contrition and uncertainty about the trendy mode of transportation.

Some parents who initially embraced e-bikes now say their enthusiasm has waned with news of recent crashes involving teenagers.

Because apparently, no child was ever injured riding a bicycle without a battery.

The question they fail to answer, as they build their anecdotal case, is whether there have been more more, or more severe, crashes on ebikes than would have been expected on regular bicycles.

Unless and until they can provide that, their entire campaign should be seen as nothing more than anti-ebike fear mongering, with the possible exception of calling out the increased fire risk due to lithium ion batteries.

Since regular bikes hardly ever burst into flames.

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The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee has now been around for 50 years.

Although it continues to remain strictly advisory, instead of being given the regulatory authority of a commission it should have received years ago.

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Phil Gaimon responds to the critics, and arms bicyclists with responses to the 1% of hostile motorists who seem to make up most of the commenters online.

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

No bias here. Writing for The Spectator, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle says Jeremy Vine’s call for drivers to be banned from overtaking cyclists in major cities is “ridiculous” and “the real problem isn’t motorists but Jeremy Vine himself.” Something even Vine seems to agree with, as he says to take his comments with a grain of salt and stop overreacting to everything he says.

It turns out the Philippine driver who pulled a gun on an unarmed bicyclist is a former cop who left the force after repeated demotions, including one for grave misconduct, yet he complains he’s being depicted as a “bad person” on social media; Quezon City has offered the victim protection if he chooses to pursue a case against the former QC cop.  

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

Two Bakersfield boys saw very different outcomes when police attempted to stop them for riding against traffic; a 13-year old boy who pulled over and waited at the side of the road was released to his mother, while a 14-year old boy who kept riding and popping wheelies had the book thrown at him.

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Local 

You may now be able to rent a Tern cargo bike for as little as $99 a month, as the Aussie bike leasing firm Wombi announces plans to set up their first US operation in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles plans to implement safety improvements from the city’s “Vision Zero Safety Toolkit” along a two-mile stretch of Hollywood Blvd east of Gower, which saw 56 people killed or seriously injured over the last decade. Although what those improvements will be remains to be seen, likely depending on public feedback.

The LA Times foresees an optimistic paradise of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, ebikes and free public transit replaced gas-guzzling cars within 20 years.

 

State

Calbike calls on you to help get a slate of active transportation bills out of the Suspense File in the Senate Appropriations Committee; the bills must move forward by the first of the month or be killed for this year.

The late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins was one of us, doing some of his best thinking and songwriting on a mountain bike near his Laguna Beach home.

The San Diego Reader questions whether the same man is responsible for two violent bikejackings in the city.

 

National

A Honolulu ER doc rides his bike 21 miles to work every day, rain or shine — and has for over 30 years.

A Houston writer says “there’s something heart-warming about the anarchy of 2,000 people on bikes reclaiming the roads back from cars.”

An Indianapolis woman faces charges for DUI and driving without ever having a driver’s license after she crashed into a man riding a bicycle, leaving the victim with multiple compound fractures, while driving at over three times the legal alcohol limit.

This is the cost of traffic violence, part one. A “cherished” Evansville, Indiana high school music director was killed while riding his bicycle, though the details are unclear.

This is the cost of traffic violence, part two. The Boston-area bike rider killed by a UPS driver Monday afternoon was identified as a respected professor and mentor to graduate students at Tufts University School of Medicine.

As the California legislature continues to appease vested driving interests in an attempt to legalize a speed cam pilot program, New York stats show a 30% drop in speeding violations after their camera program began operating 24/7.

Life is cheap in Pennsylvania, where a driver got just 11½ to 23 months behind bars for severely injuring a man riding a bicycle while driving his pickup truck with inoperable brakes and without insurance.

A new 2-mile ADA-accessible Delaware bike path was funded with $23 million from the new federal infrastructure bill.

This is the cost of traffic violence, part three. Police in Baltimore are looking for the hit-and-run driver who took the life of a “beloved” mother of two as she rode her bike home from work over the weekend.

That’s more like it. A new 42 story, 631 unit Miami residential tower will have more than twice as many bicycle parking spaces as it will spaces for cars.

 

International

Tragic news from the UK, where two men on ebikes were killed by a driver on a “very fast” 50 mph roadway; the driver was arrested on a careless driving charge.

The fiancé of the Scottish bike rider killed by a drunk driver, who then hid his body for three years with the help of the driver’s brother, lashed out at the courts for failing to impose a “proper” sentence on the two men, who received 12 years and five years and three months, respectively.

A British man has defied the odds by learning to walk and eat again, after doctors gave him just 24 hours to live after hitting an embankment on his ebike.

Momentum Magazine visits the world’s longest purpose-built bike and pedestrian tunnel in Bergen, Norway; the Fyllingsdalen is 1.8 miles long and takes approximately 10 minutes to travel by bicycle.

Bicycling reports over 45,000 people rode their bicycles to a Formula 1 race in the Netherlands after the country banned cars from the event; another 55,000 arrived by bus or train. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you. 

Workers in the Spanish town of Elche are scraping bike lanes off the roads, after the newly installed far-right government adopted a populist, pro-car policy. Which is a warning of what could happen here if we don’t vote for bike-friendly candidates. 

He gets it. A writer from Islamabad, Pakistan says bicyclists aren’t a nuisance, whether you’re talking about kids on bikes or adults riding to reduce their waistlines.

 

Competitive Cycling

His hometown newspaper celebrates James Macdonald’s victory at the recent world road cycling championships, as the 80-year old Williamsburg, Virginia resident topped the 80-84 age group in a 53-mile race earlier this month.

Remco Evenepoel raged about safety at the Vuelta, or the lack thereof, after he was bloodied in a crash with a spectator following his stage three win, saying “It’s the third day in a row and it’s breaking my balls a bit now. I’ve had enough.” Meanwhile, the peloton has finally figured out they’re just pawns in the game.

The home of 22-year old pro cyclist Michel Hessmann was searched by German authorities as part of a doping investigation, after the suspended Jumbo-Visma rider tested positive for a banned diuretic earlier this month. But the doping era is over, right?

The inaugural CRIT Championship will debut in St. Petersburg, Florida this October, the race is the multi-million dollar brainchild of L39ion of Los Angeles founder Justin Williams.

 

Finally…

The street may be open, but it will cost you nearly 85 bucks to bike it. Even stairs are nothing to the world’s fastest pizza delivery rider.

And it took me about five seconds to find the bicycle in this picture.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Four lousy days for killer wrong-way driver, video of fatal Sun Valley hit-and-run, and how to avoid robbery in “sketchy” LA

Disgusting.

Evidently, life is pretty much worthless in San Diego, where a wrong-way driver was sentenced to a whole four days behind bars for killing a man riding a bicycle.

A year and a half after Matt Keenan was killed while riding his bike in Mission Valley, Melissa Gonzalez was sentenced for misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

Not the felony she should have been charged with for driving on the wrong side of the street around a blind curve. Let alone the distracted driving charge she likely deserved.

The kindhearted judge took pity — not on Keenan’s widow, or even his toddler son who will grow up without father, but on the woman who killed him.

In addition to four lousy days in jail, Gonzalez received a single year probation, 150 hours of community service, and had her license suspended for three years, as the judge bizarrely ruled she didn’t deserve a punishment that would wreck her life.

Never mind that she wrecked the lives of Keenan’s friends and family. Let alone literally wrecking, and ending, Matt Keenan’s.

If you ever wonder why people keep dying on our streets, this is exhibit A.

We can only hope San Diego voters will remember this one when the judge comes up for re-election.

Photo from Ekaterina Bolovtsova on Pexels.

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The LAPD has released security video of Friday morning’s fatal crash at Lankershim and Tuxford in Sun Valley, where a hit-and-run driver killed a man riding a bicycle.

The bike rider, who still has not been publicly identified, was the victim of a left-cross crash from the truck driver while riding in the crosswalk.

He was then struck by another driver as he lay in the roadway. But at least that one had the basic human decency to stick around afterwards.

Police are looking for a flatbed truck with a white cab, and a distinctive yellow logo on the passenger door. Not to mention the heartless coward behind the wheel.

As always, there is a $50,000 reward for any fatal hit-and-run in the City of Los Angeles.

Thanks to KCAL-9 anchor Jeff Vaughn for the heads-up.

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You be the judge.

An Australian man claims he avoided a robbery attempt on a bike path in a “sketchy” part of Los Angeles by yelling back when two men approached and told him to get off his bike.

Although the only thing that seems sketchy to me is the video itself, which looks be staged.

@shearingshedvlogs

You must assert your voice when you are talking to someone who approaches you in sketchy areas, because strangers don’t really come up to you to have a friendly conversation about the weather like we do in Australia. In America some people might come up to you to try to come up. #streetsmart #streetsmarts #safety #safetyfirst

♬ original sound – ShearingShedVlogs

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Always helps to have co-workers nearby if you get run down by a drunk driver. Especially when they’re paramedics.

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GCN attempts to clarify the confusing world of bicycle tires.

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

No surprise here. After a Seattle advocate printed his own DIY traffic signs warning drivers not to park in a protected bike lane, they just ignored them and parked there anyway.

A Florida man who fled the scene after deliberately targeting three people riding bikes with his car, including an 11-year old girl, then went on an antisemitic rant when a Jewish deputy was assigned to transfer him to jail.

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

Police arrested a Denver man who rode his bicycle into a car wash to fatally shoot a driver who had just pulled onto the lot, and injuring the car’s passenger; he fled the scene on his bike before changing clothes twice in a homeless camp, hacking off his hair, and hiding in a hole under the train tracks.

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Local 

Streetsblog reports on a newly protected 0.4 mile section of White Oak Ave in Reseda, although the protection is just those chubby white plastic bollards that look solid, but won’t stop anything. And a new bike lane could finally be coming to San Fernando Road in Cypress Park, now that former Councilmember “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo is gone.

Just eight people ignored the weekend rain, and turned out for Metro Bike Share’s Women’s History community bike ride in DTLA; they were nearly outnumbered by the Metro staffers.

Pedestrian advocacy group Los Angeles Walks has released their annual report for the past year.

 

State

Imperial Beach councilmembers approved plans for a $3.3 million Complete Street makeover of the city’s 9th Street using state Active Transportation funds; the plan calls for replacing a traffic lane in each direction with bike lanes featuring door-side buffers.

 

National

Bicycling says the days when a broken carbon frame had to be relegated to the trash are over, writing even the worst breaks can usually be repaired and ridden for many more miles. Unfortunately, you’re on your own this time if the magazine blocks you.

Good Morning America reports on a four-year old girl who got a huge smile on her face when she was given a new adaptive tricycle by the Little Wishes organization after spending months in the hospital.

Gear Patrol says fixies are kind of dumb and not for everyone, but “goddammit they rule.” 

Bend, Oregon is now accepting applications for $2,000 ebike rebates for up to 75 low-income residents. Just one more ebike rebate program created after California’s first-in-the-nation program, yet it’s somehow up and running before California’s finally gets rolled out — if it ever does.

After a kindhearted, bike-riding Illinois cop spotted a man walking his busted bicycle home in a snowstorm, he worked with a local bike shop to donate a used bike to the man.

A Michigan man faces two to fifteen years behind bars for the drug-fueled crash that killed a 25-year old man riding a bicycle; the driver admitted to using meth and marijuana before getting behind the wheel, and was using his cellphone to search for radio-controlled cars when he ran the victim down.

More on the Florida crash that critically injured Dartmouth football coach Eugene “Buddy” Teevens, who was run down by a driver while riding home from a restaurant with his wife in St. Augustine; police reports blamed the victim, saying he didn’t appear to have lights on his cruiser bike, and was crossing the state’s coast highway outside of a crosswalk or designated crossing area. Even though bike riders aren’t expected, let alone required, to use crosswalks.

 

International

Bike Radar discusses wind tunnel-tested aero gear on a budget.

A British auto service chain is now offering bicycle repairs, with an emphasis on supporting ebike and cargo bike fleets. Which would be kind of like Pep Boys doing it here. Which isn’t a half bad idea.

BBC TV personality Dan Walker says he was comfortable getting back on his bicycle, following the recent collision that left him bloodied and bruised.

A UK company recommends that employers offer flextime policies for people who bike to work to reduce the risk of rush hour collisions.

A group of French bicyclists set a new record for the largest Strava art, teaming to sketch a 637-mile velociraptor across the face of France.

A crowdfunding campaign has been established for Aussie cycling photographer Marcus Enno, aka Beardy McBeard, who was seriously injured when he was struck by a driver while riding his bike near his Tasmania home; it’s already raised over three times the original $10,000 goal.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews says a disappointed Wout van Aert is turning his attention to the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix after settling for third in Milan-San Remo. Meanwhile, the magazine says the Monument’s days as a sprinter’s race are over.

In an oddly ironic moment, Irish pro Sam Bennet watched his chance at a Milan-San Remo victory get dashed in a pileup, when he and three other riders in the breakaway group crashed into an unmarked bike rack on the side of the road. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

Dutch pro Shirin van Anrooij won Sunday’s Trofeo Alfredo Binda, the world’s oldest one-day women’s race, in what was described as her breakout moment; meanwhile, women’s cycling great Marianne Vos saw her long-awaited return from pelvic surgery cut short by cramps in both legs.

Bicycling says you’ll be able to watch the new National Cycling League on subscription cycling streaming service GCN+ for the next three years, if it lasts that long. Read it on AOL if the magazine blocks you.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be made by a computer company with built-in AI. Your next bike tires could be made from your last bike tires.

And it took the life flight of an injured bike rider to learn there’s a California in Maryland.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Invitation-only Taylor Yard Bridge opening excludes public, and killer distracted driver walks for running down bike-riding family

My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail.

After a previous false start, Los Angeles officially opened the new Taylor Yard bike and pedestrian bridge over the LA River, in an invitation-only event.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports the bridge has been under discussion for a full 30 years, before work finally started in 2019.

When Metro re-industrialized the downstream end of Taylor Yard, siting a Metrolink yard there, community groups sued Metro for not following environmental law. In a 1992 settlement Metro agreed to pay for several community benefits, including a pedestrian bridge. For decades, the promised bridge project suffered from false starts. Ultimately Metro paid for the $25 million dollar bridge, which was built by L.A. City’s Public Works Department’s Bureau of Engineering.

Never mind that three decades of delays meant it ended up costing over five times the original $5.3 million estimate.

And no, Linton didn’t get an invitation, either, despite reporting on the bridge even longer that we have. But he ended up crashing it on a bicycle, ignoring both the lack of invitation and the admonition to arrive by car.

No, really. The city wanted everyone to drive to the opening of a bike bridge.

The good news is, the bridge is open at last, providing safer and more convenient access between Frogtown and Elysian Valley to the south, and Glassell Park and Cypress Park to the north.

A previous public opening was cancelled at the last minute, with the city doing such a crappy job of getting the word out that would-be attendees who showed up anyway were left wondering where everyone else was. No explanation was ever given for the cancellation.

Maybe they were afraid people from the bike community might actually show up.

Because this is how Linton ended his piece.

Cedillo and O’Farrell have histories of being hostile to bicyclists. O’Farrell’s bike antipathy has been more subtle, other than his notoriously snide anti-bike safety tweet in 2018. Cedillo’s anti-bike stance has been more overt. Both have canceled approved bike safety projects in their districts: Cedillo on North Figueroa Street and on the North Spring Street Bridge, and both colluded on the cancelling of a Temple Street road diet. Both are Democrat incumbents facing elections this year, with challengers to their ideological left. It is a sad state of affairs that it now appears that they fear allowing the public – including the press and those pesky cyclists – to celebrate the opening of a really great thing they have done for bicycling in L.A.

And yes, I was the one on the receiving end of that snide O’Farrell tweet.

Today’s photo is the invitation you didn’t get to the bridge opening, even though you — and the rest of us — paid for it. 

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Evidently, life is cheap in Massachusetts.

In the conclusion to story we’ve been following for the last two years, a 45-year old Massachusetts woman walked without a single day behind bars for the distracted driving death of a father as he was riding bikes with his family.

Ryane Linehan pled guilty to negligent homicide, admitting she was texting when she killed the man and seriously injured his wife and adult son.

Yet she still got just an 18-month suspended jail sentence, along with six months of home confinement, three years of probation and 100 hours of community service.

Maybe it’s just me, but a lousy six months sitting at home watching TV and eating bonbons seems more like a staycation than punishment.

The only good news is she won’t be allowed to drive for the next 15 years. Which isn’t nearly long enough.

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Good question.

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

No bias here. An Iowa appeals court affirmed the right of a town to block a short street connecting two multi-use trails, forcing bike riders and runners moving between them to use a dangerous highway — because local residents didn’t want a trail through their community in the first place.

An English pub owner complained that a new bike lane was an accident waiting to happen, warning it would result in collisions between bike riders and pedestrians. Then blocked half of it with advertising barriers to help ensure he was right.

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

English police are looking for a bike-riding man who yelled racist abuse at a driver before kicking her car, after she challenged him for using a cellphone while riding.

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Local

Los Angeles received a $5 million grant to beautify Boyle Heights’ Hollenbeck Park. Except the only thing that would really beautify it is to move the damn 5 Freeway, which cuts directly through it. Except that would probably cost a hell of a lot more.

A woman in her 30s was found dead next to the beach bike path in Long Beach Sunday morning, with no apparent cause of death.

 

State 

A San Diego bike rider suffered a fractured skull when he was run down by a hit-and-run driver in Balboa Park Sunday night; fortunately, his injuries were not considered life-threatening.

San Luis Obispo is opening a new bike and pedestrian bridge connecting a new section of trail through the town.

East Bay bike advocates are pushing for the first protected bike lane through the San Francisco suburb of San Leandro.

Sad news from Modesto, where a 38-year old woman riding a bicycle was killed by a suspected drunk driver on Sunday.

 

National

Oklahoma has approved a 400 mile section of the US Bike Route 66 though the state.

That’s more like it. A 19-year old Florida man got 15 years behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a seven-year old boy riding his bicycle. Although anyone so heartless they could leave a little kid to die alone in the street deserves a lot more than that.

 

International

He gets it. Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter says governments should subsidize ebikes instead of gas prices — including Gavin Newsom’s proposal to rebate gas taxes paid by California drivers.

No irony here. Toronto NIMBYs are demanding the removal of a protected bike lane by claiming it makes it too hard for ambulances to respond to injured bike riders, because all the cars get in the way.

Canada’s Prince Edward Island announced a $100 rebate on bicycle purchases, with a $500 rebate on ebikes.

A Welsh bike advocate explains how taking political candidates for a bike ride can help them seem the local community from a new perspective. Not to mention give them a better understanding of the dangers we face.

Life is cheap in Wales, where a 71-year old man walked with probation and a 15-month driving ban for yelling racist comments at a group of bike riders and telling them to go back to England, before backing his car up and crashing into them; fortunately, no one was seriously injured.

A new British poll shows broad support of using ebikes to reduce carbon emissions, even among people who aren’t currently thinking about buying one.

UK advocates are petitioning the government to stop using the word “accident” in official documents, and to use “collision” instead; if they get 100,000 signatures, Parliament will be required to take it up.

It took the 1973 OPEC oil embargo to put Copenhagen on the path to a bike-friendly future.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Weekly offers five takeaways from last week’s Paris-Nice.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could look like folded paper, and be made by Yamaha. Rocking Rod Stewart, pothole repairman.

And meet a four-year old bike riding superhero.

https://twitter.com/biker_tiny/status/1503075842896932874?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1503075842896932874%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-14-march-2022-291043

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

No charges for teen coal-rolling Texas driver who slammed into six bicyclists, and putting bike safety in perspective

Texas bike riders are justifiably up in arms after police investigators allowed the 16-year old driver who slammed into six bicyclists to walk free.

Or rather drive, in his mangled pickup truck, after mommy and daddy showed up at the crash scene he caused, in a failed attempt to envelop the riders in a cloud of exhaust by rolling coal.

Never mind that four of those six riders weren’t able to walk, drive or ride anywhere, after they were rushed to the hospital — two evacuated by helicopter due to the seriousness of their injuries.

Authorities wouldn’t say if charges will be filed at a later date, or if they’ll simply let a bike-hating little criminal escape justice.

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels.

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A graphic from Momentum Magazine puts bike safety in perspective.

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This is what a protected intersection looks like in practice.

And we could use a lot more of them here in Los Angeles, too.

https://twitter.com/JATompkins/status/1442573139502788608

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

The driver in the Las Vegas instant karma crash has pled guilty, nearly a year after a passenger in his van leaned out the window and pushed a 56-year old woman off her bicycle — then fell out of the window himself, tumbling 150 feet along the roadway before slamming into a streetlight. Bike-riding victim Michelle “Shelli” Weissman and her killer, 23-year old Rodrigo Cruz, both died at the scene.

Another case of sabotage in the UK, as someone pounded large metal spikes into a roadway in an apparent attempt to injure anyone passing through.

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

A Iowa man was busted for riding his bicycle on people’s yards until he crashed into someone’s dog, then fleeing from police on foot; no word on the dog’s condition.

Police are looking for an armed man who has been riding a bicycle around North Carolina’s East Carolina University robbing people at gunpoint.

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Local

Yo! Venice looks at the recently installed protected bike lanes on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica, asking a bike-riding surfer if they’re working as intended.

 

State

Cal State Fullerton philosophy lecturer and former Foo Fighters sound engineer Austin Duggan is one of us, building his own BMX ebike on a titanium frame.

San Diego’s newfound commitment to safer bike infrastructure comes too late for too many grieving families.

Lime evidently decided they could turn a profit in San Diego after all, returning their e-scooters to the city after pulling out last year, citing their limited “path to profitability.”

 

National

A new book explains how Everesting grew into a global phenomenon.

A Tucson, Arizona church is promoting bike safety after the pastor was the victim of a hit-and-run.

A writer for the Denver University student newspaper calls out the city for failing implement the safe bike lanes a sustainable city demands.

Cyclist Magazine spends some time with the folks at Colorado-based Moots, discovering how a little two-man backroom operation became one of the most desirable names in titanium bikes.

A Texas DA has dropped sexual assault charges against the then 18-year old son of ex-Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, even though the underage victim allegedly recorded him confessing to having sex with her, and four of the six people she told remembered her saying it was nonconsensual.

It takes a major schmuck to steal a bike from a visually impaired man who’s already ridden 4,100 miles across the US to spread random acts of kindness; his bike was stolen in Missouri when he suffered a flat, and had to hide his bike on the side of the road to get the tire fixed.

The New York e-scooter rider who killed Gone Girl actress Lisa Banes faces charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, with a potential sentence ranging from probation to 15 years behind bars.

Florida deputies are passing out bike lights to lightless bicyclists instead of writing tickets.

 

International

Advocacy group London Cycling Campaign called on supporters to help restore its online reputation after an organized campaign branded the group as militant, racist and destructive, among other non sequiturs.

Talk about leaving a dangerous person on the street until it’s too late. A British man will likely walk out of jail for time served after being sentenced for a hate crime for attacking a man who caught him trying to steal his bicycle, while insulting the victim’s Islamic faith. He was sentenced to just 14 months behind bars, despite 33 previous convictions for 75 offenses.

A memorial festival will honor the legacy of British blues legend Julian Piper, two years after the 72-year old bluesman was killed when his bicycle hit a bollard.

Life is cheap in Wales, where a distracted delivery driver will spend just three years behind bars for killing a 64-year old man riding a bicycle, after he took his eyes off the road for nine seconds to look up an address on the smartphone.

Denmark discovers used wind turbine blades make ideal bike parking shelters.

Police in Brussels, Belgium will now fine bike thieves the equivalent of $292 on the spot, in an effort to combat an epidemic of least 230 stolen bicycles every day.

 

Competitive Cycling

L39ION of Los Angeles cyclist Ama Nsek won the final stage in the 10-race USA CRITS series on Saturday, while Erica Clevenger took the women’s race.

 

Finally…

We may have to deal with aggressive LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about aggressive moose bike thieves on the bike path. Or overly aggressive river otters, for that matter.

And if you’ve been riding a bike around the Bucks countryside buck naked, put some damn clothes on, already.

………

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

Morning Links: No charges in NorCal triple hit-and-run, Koretz calls climate crisis, and LA on Amazon shortlist

File this under you’ve got to be kidding.

Authorities in Contra Costa County have decided not to file charges against an 83-year old man who kept driving after rear-ending a woman riding a bike last October.

He then returned 40 minutes later, and rear-ended two men riding their bikes in the opposite direction.

But despite being arrested two days later on suspicion of three counts of felony hit-and-run, prosecutors concluded they couldn’t prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

So why even try, right?

Which means that a dangerous driver is once again allowed to remain on the roads.

And drivers are once again reminded that the authorities don’t take hit-and-run any more seriously than they do.

………

CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz teams with fellow Councilmember Bob Blumenfield to introduce a motion calling for a climate emergency response in spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “fierce urgency of now,” in response to the recent fires and mudslides.

Which means he will undoubtedly reverse his position and approve bike lanes on Westwood Blvd and elsewhere on LA’s Westside, to provide a safe alternative to driving and reduce greenhouse gasses.

Right?

Don’t hold your breath.

………

Los Angeles has somehow made it onto Amazon’s not-so-short shortlist of cities under consideration for their second headquarters.

However, given that one of their primary requirements is that the chosen city must have a good bicycle network, LA can probably look forward to getting a participation trophy.

Thanks to David Wolfberg for the heads-up.

………

Peter Flax sends news that the new bike path bypassing construction in Marina del Rey opens today.

………

Local

Chicago Streetsblog writer Steve Vance visits Los Angeles, and says it’s easy to get around by transit and bikeshare.

Curbed editor Alissa Walker lives kid-friendly and carfree in LA.

No irony here. Mar Vista’s dermatologist, neighborhood council member and self-appointed planner says LA needs to approach planning as engineers, rather than social justice warriors. Except when the engineers at LADOT do exactly that, neighborhood NIMBYs and pass-through drivers reject it because it’s not the kind of social engineering they want.

Orphan Black actress Tatiana Maslany is one of us.

The Pasadena Star-News looks at Monterey Park’s approval of a protected bike lane on Monterey Pass Road; as one resident pointed out, it could be the first step in revitalizing the street and getting people out of their cars.

Sheriff’s deputies issued 69 citations for bike and pedestrian safety violations in Santa Clarita on Wednesday, all of which went to motorists. And 46 of which were for distracted driving.

Long Beach restaurant owners are worried about the effect of the Amgen Tour of California’s shoreline start on their Mother’s Day business.

 

State

A former California resident is re-releasing the book she wrote following her round-the-world bike tour 30 years ago.

This is pretty much the definition of NIMBY. Five Encinitas residents are suing the city to block officials from opening a park gate to give kids a safe route to their elementary schools; they complain that it will be used by people who don’t live in their neighborhood to enter the park.

A Denver poet is delivering handwritten “dreams” by bicycle to subscribers in San Diego.

Visually impaired people from across the US are in Chula Vista for a para triathlete training camp to learn how to be guided by a sighted triathlon partner.

An allegedly drunk Apple Valley bike rider refused medical treatment after dodging a car in one direction, then getting hit by one headed in the other.

A Morgan Hill columnist says hosting a stage of the Amgen Tour of California could put the city on the map.

Bike East Bay is hiring a fulltime outreach coordinator and a trio of part-time interns.

Sad news from Danville, where a 73-year old ebike rider was killed after hitting a speed bump.

 

National

People for Bikes explains all about ebikes.

Bicycle Times offers advice on how to avoid bicycling burnout.

Bicycling talks to badass winter bike commuters from five cities with tough winters. Although they somehow left out Los Angeles, where riders are sometimes forced to endure partly cloudy days and temperatures in the 60s.

No, this is badass. A man who lost part of his skull years ago in a bike crash is overcoming his fears and finding hope by riding his bike across the US to get on a waiting list for treatment at a San Diego clinic.

A writer for Britain’s Cyclist magazine takes on the world’s toughest climb on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

Portland calls their adaptive bikeshare trial a success. Let’s hope Metro Bike is paying attention; a lot of nontraditional riders could benefit from a program like that.

Caught on video: A writer takes a low-tech bike ride in the Las Vegas rain looking for the latest bike tech.

A Dallas photographer depicts the bike carnage he found looking for dockless bikeshare bikes in the city, while Dallas tells the companies to clean up their act, or else.

 

International

A woman who wears a size 18 offers advice for other plus-sized bicyclists, or as she calls it, biking while fat.

A Canadian letter-writer says money spent building a bike boulevard would have been better spent providing education for the bike-riding public. Which would do little to protect them from dangerous drivers.

London’s transportation department says reports of a slash in the bicycling budget are wrong, but don’t expect more of the city’s cycling superhighways anytime soon.

Royal-in-law Pippa Middleton looks fashionably annoyed by the London paparazzi as she rides her bike in the cold.

A London HuffPo writer says what shocked her most about taking up bicycling was the support she received from bike-riding strangers.

A travel writer for the Washington Post rides the length of Great Britain, from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

The 125-year old Dutch bike maker Gazelle rolled out its 15 millionth bicycle.

 

Competitive Cycling

Philippine website Rappler — which has been ordered shut down by the country’s increasingly authoritative government — profiles SoCal’s Filipina-American cycling champ Coryn Rivera.

Australia’s extreme heat is causing organizers of the Tour Down Under to shorten race routes.

The head of cycling’s governing body tells Lance Armstrong to stay the hell out of Flanders, not that he can stop him. Meanwhile, coming clean about being dirty has cost Lance $100 million and counting.

 

Finally…

Just what every bicyclist needs: a high-tech toilet. Getting hit by a car seems like an extreme way to get out of a murder trial.

And you know it’s a strong wind when you can’t even hold onto your bike.

 

Morning Links: Killer Baltimore bishop already up for parole; LAPD Hollywood Memorial Riders reach Arkansas

Some things are just too awful to understand.

Peter Flax does his best to do just that, and to explain to us, the incomparable loss to family and friends when someone doesn’t come home a ride.

In this case, a husband and father. A Baltimore bike builder named Tom Palermo.

It was a case that made news around the world. Not because of who he was, but because of who took his life.

The assistant Episcopal bishop of Maryland.

Heather Cook had previously been convicted of DUI, at over three times the legal limit, but was still on the road after convincing the court she had completed rehab and installed an interlock device.

She ran Palermo down from behind, fleeing the scene as a bicyclist gave chase before returning to turn herself in, long after her lifeless victim had been taken away.

Despite being charged with a litany of crimes that could have added up to nearly four decades behind bars — including DUI, hit-and-run and distracted driving — she accepted a plea to just four charges, the most serious of which was vehicular homicide.

She was sentenced to seven years.

Now she could be out in just 18 months.

Because of a quirk in Maryland law, which says that people convicted of violent crimes have to serve at least half of their sentence before being considered for parole.

But in Maryland, vehicular homicide isn’t considered a violent crime. Not even when the driver was nearly three times the legal limit, texting, and fled the scene.

Or when two little kids will have to grow up without their father.

It’s not fair. It’s not right.

But Heather Cook will have a hearing next week that could let her back out on the streets. And maybe kill someone else’s husband or father. Or wife, mother, sister, brother or child.

It’s a heartbreaking story. One that will probably leave you outraged.

And one that Flax tells very well.

………

Seven LAPD officers and one retired officer riding from LA to DC on the first Hollywood Memorial Ride have reached Fort Smith Arkansas, pausing to honor fallen officers along the way.

………

Congratulations to the University of Colorado, the new collegiate road cycling champions.

………

Local

Los Angeles police are looking for a man rode his bike up behind another man near Crescent Heights and Wilshire Blvd, got off and whacked him in the back of the head with a hard object in an apparent random attack; the victim is currently in a coma.

Streetsblog says Councilmember Mike Bonin nailed the response when he was challenged about his support for Vision Zero.

The Santa Monica city council will discuss bike and pedestrian safety at their next meeting this Tuesday, including calls for a full-time pedestrian safety coordinator.

The LACBC continues their Bike Month member profiles with ride marshal Treva Moore.

 

State

The Idaho Stop Law is scheduled to go before the Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday, along with a bill that would clarify that pedestrians are allowed to cross in a crosswalk while the signal is counting down — something the LAPD tickets pedestrians for in DTLA.

Costa Mesa will pay out $250,000 to a man who was injured falling off his bicycle when he struck protruding wooden post on the sidewalk on Harbor Blvd.

An Escondido mom used social media to track down and confront the man who stole her son’s bicycle.

San Diego bicyclists are losing patience with progress on the city’s bike plan, even though the city has built out 15% of the new lanes in the 2013 plan, as well as improving 22% of the existing lanes.

The Ventura County Fire Department is unveiling their first public bike repair stand, attached to a fire station in Newbery Park. Great idea; attaching it to a fire station could help prevent the vandalism that is common with stands like that.

San Francisco’s transportation agency comes in just under the wire, completing the last of three protected bike lanes on the final day allowed under the mayor’s executive order.

A Sonoma County man finished a 13-day, 550-mile ride around the entire Bay Area, climbing a total of 68,000 feet along the way.

 

National

This is who we share the streets with. A Seattle pedestrian was harassed by a group of men in a car before one got out, pointed a gun at her as she tried to get a photo of the car’s plates, and shot at her. Hopefully they’ll find the guy and lock him up for a very long time. But it’s a reminder to always be careful, because you never know who you’re dealing with.

This is why people continue to die on our streets. A Kansas man was arrested for reckless driving, after serving just 60 days for killing a bike rider two years ago; he was out on a three-year suspended sentence.

A Kansas woman is riding her bicycle to follow the 10,000 mile migration of the monarch butterflies from Mexico to Canada and back again.

Bikeshare continues to spread through the American heartland, as Wichita KS opens a program with 100 bicycles at 19 stations in the downtown area.

Kindhearted employees of a Toledo, Ohio bike shop will replace the bike that was stolen from an 11-year old boy at knifepoint.

Twenty-six bike riders set off on a 400-mile annual ride from Newton CT to DC to honor victims of gun violence, including the 26 children and adults killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.

That’s one way to get votes. A Pittsburgh councilwoman — and current candidate for mayor — was caught on video honking at a bike rider and yelling at him to get in the bike lane. Even though there wasn’t one.

Something else you’d never spot from a car: A Philadelphia woman recognizes wooden pipes from a two-century old water system after workers piled them in the bike lane.

A DC-area man says not stopping is the best way to improve safety for cyclists.

 

International

Caught on video: A road raging passenger got out of a van and chased a British bike rider after he banged on the van’s window following a too-close pass.

No bias here. The UK’s Daily Mail says a bike rider rode into a car and headbutted the windshield after failing to see the car stopped directly in front of him. Or maybe the rider came around a blind curve and was unable to stop in time to avoid the car.

Arnold Schwarzenegger goes bike riding in Paris, and celebrity photobombs tourists at the Eiffel Tower.

An African website says Namibian cycling star Raul Costa Seibeb died mysteriously. Which is only mysterious if that’s what you’d call a car crash.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to flee the scene of a fatal crash, take your license plate with you. If you’re going to brake check a pair of bike riders, make sure they’re not cops.

And if you’re going to install bike racks at a shopping center, make sure you can actually lock a bike to them.

 

Morning Links: 300 days in Moorpark distracted driving case; applications now open for Great Streets grants

The good news is, we’ve figured out what caused the problem with email notifications for new posts. Now the problem is figuring out how to fix it. Hopefully we’ll have it working again soon.

………

Life is cheap in Ventura County.

The Ventura County Star reports 27-year old Rachael Hill was sentenced to 300 days in jail for killing bicyclist Maciek Malish and motorcyclist Jesse Cushman just outside of Moorpark last year while “distracted by a portable electronic device.”

Probably texting, in other words.

Hill received an unwarranted gift when the Ventura County DA inexplicably filed the case as misdemeanors, rather than the felony charges recommended by CHP investigators.

She’ll begin her sentence November 4th, and will most likely serve just a fraction of that time before she’s released from county jail.

On the other hand, we should probably be grateful she got any time at all.

Meanwhile, Hill sentenced both men to death, and their families to a lifetime without them.

……….

Applications are now open for the second round of LA’s Great Streets Challenge projects.

………

The official trailer has been unveiled for a new documentary about cargo bikes, called Motherload.

………

A triathlete gave up a probable gold medal while competing in Cozumel, Mexico, when he stopped to help his heat-stroke stricken brother across the finish line.

There’s a new record for the world’s fastest human-powered vehicle, as a bullet-shaped ‘bent hit 89.58 mph in the World Human Powered Speed Challenge.

……….

Local

Peter Flax says riding an ebike does not make you a bad person, and that ebikes aren’t about replacing bicycles, but replacing cars.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman writes that bicycling and equity advocates will converge on Atlanta in November for The Untokening: A Convening for Just Streets and Communities to reclaim the streets and make them safe and accessible for all.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton suggests walking, expanded bikeshare and bike valets as possible solutions to the transportation crunch getting to the Rams games at the Coliseum. Improved bike lanes would also help, while benefitting USC students and local residents on non-game days.

The 626 Golden Streets ciclovía postposed due to last June’s brushfires in the San Gabriel Valley has been rescheduled for March 5th; the 19-mile open streets event will allow people to walk, jog, skate and bike through eight SGV cities.

 

State

Seven years after being paralyzed from the waist down in a dirt bike crash, a California man is able to ride a recumbent under his own power after receiving an electronic spinal implant.

Only eight tickets have been written in the entire state of California for violating three-foot passing law since it went into effect in September 2014; out of 10 drivers asked about the law by a San Francisco TV reporter, not one knew it even existed.

A mountain biker had a close encounter of the scary kind when he was confronted by a mountain lion while riding in Foothill Ranch; a bike rider was killed by a mountain lion on the same trail in 2004.

Laguna Beach plans to deal with safety problems on PCH by somehow moving cyclists off the deadly roadway instead of building the bike lane recommended in a recent safety study; as always, the real reason appears to a preference for parking spaces over human lives.

Sad news from Santa Maria, where a bike rider was killed when he allegedly turned left in front of a car.

Palo Alto approves plans for a Dutch-style protected intersection to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.

 

National

Cosmo recommends riding to work, and offers solutions for five excuses not to.

Bicycling explains what goes on with your body when you crash.

Nikon introduces a new $500 action cam, while GoPro unveils a new $800 drone.

A Virginia cyclist outruns a road raging tractor driver who tried to cut him off in a bike lane.

North Carolina approves a four-foot passing law, while allowing drivers to briefly cross a center line to pass cyclists when they can see far enough to do it safely.

A New Orleans chef turns to Uber after her bicycle is stolen and someone steals the seat off her other bike.

 

International

The Ottawa trucking official who caused a stir by saying cyclists should have to stop half a block back from intersections so they don’t interfere with turning trucks doubles down, complaining about the complaints he received, while noting we all just want to get home safely. Never mind that in any crash with a bicyclist, the truck driver probably will, while the bike rider, not so much.

Halifax drivers complain that new protected bike lanes meant the loss of 49 parking spaces, even though the city installed 79 new spaces just a few blocks away to more than mitigate the loss. Meanwhile, someone keeps moving a Halifax bike corral out of the street and onto the sidewalk.

A writer for the Guardian says we need to kick our addiction to driving.

A London man describes a fist fight between a road raging cyclist and his equally road raging Uber driver, while getting billed for the driver’s trip to the hospital.

Iranian women continue to ride their bicycles, despite a religious edict from the country’s supreme leader banning the practice because it “exposes society to corruption” and “contravenes women’s chastity.” Because we all know bike riding makes you a slut, right? And that goes for men, too.

Caught on video: A Chinese ebike rider was badly injured after being kicked off her bike by someone on a passing scooter.

 

Finally…

Don’t leave home without your reflective clothing. Once again, using your bicycle to whack the driver you just collided with is just not what it’s designed for.

And evidently, riding a bicycle will remove all your skin and strip you naked.

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Update: DA refuses to file charges in Milt Olin case

The investigation is finally complete.

As predicted as soon as the LA County Sheriff’s Department inexplicably insisted on investigating itself in the death of cyclist and former Napster Exec Milt Olin, no charges will be filed against the deputy who killed him.

And as long predicated by myself and others, the immediate cause of the collision was the deputy’s use of the patrol car’s onboard computer while traveling on a winding road at 48 mph.

It was clear that the Sheriff’s Department was attempting to downplay their investigation — if not coverup the results — when they announced late on the Friday before Memorial Day that it had been turned over to the DA’s office for evaluation over a week before.

Then, nothing.

Not a word from the District Attorney for over three months, until news broke late this afternoon that the deputy responsible, Andrew Wood, would not face charges.

DA refusal letter (pdf)

Surprisingly, it actually appears the Sheriff’s Department recommended a charge of vehicular manslaughter; not surprisingly, the DA declined to file, saying they did not feel they could prove the deputy was negligent, which would be required for a conviction.

As we have discussed before, the case hinged on CVC 23123.5, which prohibits using electronic communication devices while driving — but exempts police officers and other emergency service workers in the performance of their duties.

According to the DA, that exemption applied in this case, as Wood was typing a response to a query from another officer when he drifted into the bike lane and rear-ended Olin’s bike without ever braking.

As often happens in such cases, Wood initially claimed Olin swerved in front of him in the traffic lane, and he only went into the bike lane in an attempt to avoid him. That is, until physical evidence and witness testimony proved him wrong, at which point his story changed to say he never saw Olin prior to the collision.

Yet somehow, the mere fact that Wood was driving at nearly 50 mph — in a bike lane — with no idea what was on the road directly in front of him is not sufficient evidence of negligence as far as the DA’s office is concerned.

Simply put, there are only two options.

Either the deputy was at fault for driving distracted — even though he could legally use the computer, he is still required to drive in a safe and legal manner.

Or the Sheriff’s Department itself is negligent for a policy allowing its officers to use the onboard computer in a manner that places everyone else at risk, as they will undoubtedly be found responsible for in the civil suit filed by members of the Olin family.

Either way, thanks to the complicity of the DA’s office, no one will ever be held accountable for the death of an innocent man, whose only crime was going for a bike ride on a sunny afternoon.

And a dangerous, if not deadly, policy will never be changed.

Thanks to Brenda Gazzar for breaking the story. 

Update: The afore mentioned Brenda Gazzar offers a detailed look at the case and the DA’s decision not to file charges in the LA Daily News, including this:

Eric Bruins, planning and policy director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, said he was disappointed to see a clearly distracted law enforcement officer escape charges on what he called a technicality.

“Just because the law allows someone to do something while driving doesn’t mean they are allowed to do something unsafely while driving,” Bruins said. “Hitting someone from behind is very clear evidence that whatever was going on in that car was not safe and should have been considered negligent.”

It’s definitely worth a read to get the full story.

Meanwhile, LAist quotes several angry tweets from very pissed-off cyclists. Including yours truly.

 

 

No justice for a victim of road rage; hit-and-run victims urged join Damien Kevitt at Critical Mass next week

Evidently, tire tracks aren't sufficient proof of getting run over.

Evidently, tire tracks aren’t sufficient proof of getting run over.

Just a couple quick notes this morning.

First up, a painful reminder that justice for cyclists remains elusive, even here in relatively enlightened and bronze-level bike friendly Los Angeles.

You may recall last September we told the story of a bike rider who was harassed by a driver while riding home from work in Chatsworth.

He reported being passed in a dangerous manner, then repeatedly honked and yelled at after passing the car while it was stopped in traffic. When the rider paused to ask what the driver’s problem was, he was told bikes aren’t allowed in the street and threatened with a call to the police.

If only the driver had, he might have been quickly corrected and properly chastised. Instead, he got out of his car and physically threatened the cyclist. Then things got worse.

After that, he got back in his car and honked awhile longer. I was trying to explain to him my rights as a cyclist but he would not listen to me. He then drove slowly forward, making contact and slightly pushing my bike. I yelled at him, then he just nailed the gas. He knocked me to the ground and ran over my bike and right leg, then had to stop because there were two cars in front of him at the light.

As I got up, he got out of his car and told me that I am an asshole and I’m the reason people hate cyclists. I took the pic of him and his car about that time.

Fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured, although it left him with leg pain that lingers today.

Unfortunately, it also left him with emotional scars caused by yet another failure of the justice system to take an assault with a deadly weapon seriously, when that weapon is a car and the victim is on a bike — despite having two witnesses to the attack.

I got this email from him last night.

I was just told today that the LAPD decided not to charge the driver who ran me over with any crime.  This news came as a extreme shock, to think that a driver can honk and yell at a cyclist then intentionally run him over, get out of his car, call that cyclist names then speed off, and not be charged with any crime.  It just makes me feel like I’m going to die riding a bike in LA and no one will care.  I trusted our system.  It has failed me and it has failed every cyclist in Los Angeles.  I don’t know if you care to update the story or ask anyone why he wasn’t charged; I’m told lack of evidence. But I had 2 witnesses, I had a smashed front wheel of my bike and badly bruised leg ankle and foot as well as tire tracks across my leg.  I was barely able to walk for 3 weeks and still to this day I have pain in my ankle and right foot. I’m just in so much shock right now.

Shocked is a good word for it.

Appalled, disgusted and mad as hell would be appropriate responses, as well.

He was clearly injured, he had physical proof of a collision and witnesses who could attest that the driver got out of his car and threatened him.

Yet somehow, that isn’t sufficient to file charges — even though I’ve been told by police that simply getting out of a motor vehicle is sufficient for a charge of assault in a situation like this

I can’t explain it. Except as a reminder of the bad old days when bike riders knew we couldn’t count on the LAPD for protection on the streets, let alone justice.

I thought we’d left those days behind as the cycling community established a better relationship with the police. But maybe I was wrong.

Meanwhile, I’ve strongly urged the victim to contact a lawyer to discuss filing a civil suit under LA’s still-untested bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

He would seem to have an ideal case.

And the best part is, he wouldn’t have to count on the police to lift a finger.

………

By now, you probably know the name Damian Kevitt.

He’s the man who riding his bike with his wife near Griffith Park exactly a year ago this week when a van driver stuck in traffic made an illegal U-turn, hitting his bike in the process.

If the driver had simply stopped, Kevitt might have suffered minor injuries. Instead, he floored it, dragging the trapped cyclist 600 feet onto the 5 Freeway before he was finally dislodged in front of high-speed traffic as the van sped away.

Fortunately, he landed near a doctor and an off-duty paramedic who were able to tend to him until paramedics arrived; otherwise, the outcome of this crime might have been much different.

As it was, Kevitt was among the most critically injured riders I’ve ever heard of who somehow survived their collisions.

And not only survived, but thrived.

A year later, Kevitt is back on his bike, an artificial leg replacing the one lost in the collision. And he’s inviting every cyclist to join with him on April 27th to Finish the Ride.

The easy, 12-mile ride will benefit the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. But more importantly, will allow us to honor the courage of an amazing man, while calling attention to the epidemic of hit-and-runs.

In addition, Kevitt is planning to hold a vigil in front of City Hall during the Critical Mass ride next Friday, February 28th. As part of that, he’s inviting anyone who has been the victim of a hit-and-run, as well as the families of those who have been lost to hit-and-run, to join him in calling for a stop to the crime, and justice for those who have been victimized by it.

If you’d like to join him — and I would strongly encourage it if you can — email him at damiankevitt@FinishTheRide.com, or leave a message at 206/495-3116.

As for justice, the heartless bastard who nearly took Kevitt’s life is still out there somewhere.

Despite a $25,000 reward.

 

Update: LAPD traffic investigators evidently don’t believe other cops who witness a right hook bike collision

Evidently, cops aren’t credible witnesses.

At least as far as LAPD traffic officers are concerned.

Imagine you’re riding along when a driver right hooks you — not just turning across your path, but illegally making a right turn from the left lane — and in the process, not only violates your right-of-way, but causes a collision.

And for once, not just one, but two cops witness the whole thing.

And then…

Nothing.

………

That’s exactly what happened yesterday morning, when Melanie Freeland was making her regular bike commute from Highland Park to Downtown LA.

She was riding on North Broadway through Chinatown around 8:40 am, in the right peak hour lane — that is, what would normally be the parking lane, but converts to a regular traffic lane to accommodate rush hour traffic.

As she was passing the Far East National Bank at 977 N. Broadway, the Lexus traveling in the lane on her left — what was, in effect, the center of three lanes — suddenly turned into the building’s parking lot. The driver cut across the lane Freeland was riding in, without warning, forcing her off the roadway and causing her bike to collide with the car’s door and front panel.

A classic right hook, with the extra added benefit of an illegal turn from the wrong lane. Without signaling, no less.

If that’s not clear, just imagine you’re in the right lane of a two lane street, and the driver on the left suddenly makes a right turn directly in front of you.

And for once, a cop saw the whole thing.

Two police officers — one in uniform, the other in plain clothes — were on their way to court when the collision occurred right before their eyes. They pulled over to offer assistance, calling for an ambulance and staying with her until a regular traffic officer arrived to investigate.

Both officers — I’m leaving out the names of all the cops involved, though Freeland provided their names and badge numbers* — said the driver failed to signal or yield the right-of-way. But even though they were the ones who witnessed the wreck, it would be up to the traffic cop to actually issue a ticket.

The officers gave their report to the traffic investigator, then left for the courthouse.

………

And that’s when everything went to hell.

The investigator told Freeland he couldn’t issue a ticket or determine fault in the collision because he did not actually witness it, saying he “could not issue a traffic ticket for something he did not see.”

Never mind that two sworn officers did. As well as a security guard for the building, who supported the first officers’ version of events.

So Freeland smartly asked to speak with the traffic officer’s supervisor. Yet when the Sergeant arrived, she repeated the exact same sentence.

And added that “It is not a crime to hit a pedestrian.”

Note to police: bike riders are not pedestrians. We have all the rights and responsibilities of motor vehicle operators, and are allowed on every public street cars are allowed to use, with the exception of some limited access freeways. Calling us pedestrians implies we belong on the sidewalk and belittles our legal right to the roadway.

While it’s true that police officers are generally prohibited from writing citations for traffic violations they don’t witness, I’ve been assured by officers that they can write a ticket or make an arrest based on clear evidence pointing to responsibility for a collision or other violation.

And if the testimony of two cops who witnessed the whole thing — as well as a third independent witness — isn’t clear evidence, I don’t know what the hell is.

Instead, the officers sent just as clear a message that, as far as they’re concerned, bikes don’t’ belong on the street. And good luck getting justice.

Just like the bad old days of LAPD’s anti-bike, windshield bias I thought we’d left long behind us under Chief Beck’s more enlightened leadership.

As Michael MacDonald put it in an email informing me of the case,

There are a lot of things wrong in this picture, not the least of which is that LAPD has again made it clear that cyclists are essentially fair game. I am particularly frustrated that someone I know that had made a concerted effort to make a mode shift towards cycling and to educate herself to ride safely now feels no degree of protection on the road, and is deterred from ever commuting by bike in Los Angeles again.

Fortunately, Freeland does not appear to have suffered any serious injuries, although she was due to be examined by a physician late yesterday.

She’s following up with the original officers, and contacting the department’s bike liaison for the Central Traffic Division. And she plans to reach out to Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Jose Huizar to express her disappointment and call for safety improvements on Broadway.

Police officers also tell me you should contact the Watch Commander overseeing the officers involved as quickly as possible after an incident like this.

But make no mistake.

Yesterday the LAPD failed Melanie Freeland.

Tomorrow, it might be you.

*My purpose here is not to embarrass the officers. The LAPD was been provided with all the names and badge numbers; it’s up to them to deal with the individuals involved.

Update: Okay, now I’m pissed. Melanie Freeland emailed this morning that she tried to call the bike liaison officer for the Central Traffic Division after I passed his contact information on to her. Except the desk officer who took the call initially refused to put the call through, significantly misrepresenting her case and saying “I know the same laws he does.”

She was finally able to leave a message, but hasn’t heard back yet.

Under former LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer, the department made great strides in improving relations with the bicycling community. But the expanded bike liaison program is absolutely meaningless if self-appointed gatekeepers are allowed to screen their calls.

And no one should ever have to face an argument when reaching out to anyone in the department for help.

I’ve praised the LAPD as one of the most progressive and bike-friendly police departments in the county since Chief Beck took over. But this is starting to feel like a huge step back to the bad old days.

Update 2: Freeland reports she spoke with the Watch Commander on duty at the time of the incident. Who turned out to be the same Sergeant who came to the scene and backed up the original traffic officer. 

In the course of a long conversation, the officer described a Catch 22 that makes it almost impossible for the department to issue a ticket to anyone. Which goes a long way towards explaining the wild west mentality of LA streets, where drivers feel entitled to do virtually anything without fear of consequences.

I called the Central Traffic Division and asked to speak with the Watch Commander on duty yesterday. As I probably should have guessed it was [the Sergeant she’d spoken to at the scene].  I explained to her my phone conversation with [the desk officer] and she stated she did not know why he would state it was a rear end incident when it wasn’t.  We talked at length about why a citation would not be issued for this offense.  She stated that in order for a traffic citation to be issued two criteria must be met. An LAPD officer must witness the incident and be trained in traffic laws (taken the special course in traffic). Because the [traffic officer] didn’t witness the incident it did not meet the two criteria. Secondly, the officer who did witness the incident is not trained in traffic laws, so again it does not meet the criteria.  Thus it is now my understanding, due to the letter of the law that it is not possible for the LAPD to issue a citation to the driver who hit me.

But aren’t all officers trained in traffic law at the Academy? 

And are you seriously trying to tell me that a uniformed LAPD officer lacks sufficient judgement and training to determine that a driver failed to signal and violated the right-of-way of another road user?

Sorry, but this explanation sounds like BS.

And if it isn’t, even worse.