Tag Archive for plea bargain

Plea deal in death of 15-year old Javier Gonzalez, grieving families fight for safer streets, and housing for people not cars

Happy World Bicycle Day!

Now get out there and ride one.

And contact your elected leaders to demand safer streets when you get back.

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It looks like there will be justice for Javier Gonzalez, after all.

If you consider over six years justice for fleeing the scene after killing a teenage boy.

Thirty-seven-year old Riverside resident Rosendo Morales Caldera pled guilty to hit-and-run resulting in death, with a sentencing enhancement for fleeing the scene of a crime, after prosecutors agreed to drop a misdemeanor count of driving without a license.

Caldera was accused of killing Gonzalez last March as the 15-year old boy rode salmon with his friends on a Riverside street, slamming head-on into his bicycle before speeding away without stopping.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 13th. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of six years and eight months, significantly above the standard penalty of four years for a fatal hit-and-run in California.

And yet, it seems like it’s still not enough.

Caldera has a lengthy criminal record, with prior convictions for car theft, possessing a forged driver’s license, vandalism, and being felon in possession of a firearm; he was out on probation at the time of Gonzalez’ death.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels.

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Today’s must read is a hard-hitting, inspiring and heartbreaking piece from the New Yorker, about families of fallen pedestrians and bike riders who banded together to fight for safer streets — leading to the country’s first Vision Zero in New York, and traffic safety wins at city hall and the state capital.

And balanced out by just as many losses.

The group they founded, Families for Safe Streets, has grown to include chapter across the US, including here in Southern California. Each of whom has lost a family member to traffic violence.

But this is what they’re up against.

By century’s end, cars had grown progressively larger, better insulated from the feedback of the surrounding environment, and safer for the people inside them. Those on the outside were less lucky. The U.S. automotive lobby resisted regulations enacted in Europe that made cars and trucks less lethal, and, by 2018, the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths per kilometre in the United States was more than four times higher than in the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark. Among the most vulnerable are older adults, who in 2020 made up twenty per cent of killed pedestrians, and people who live in low-income neighborhoods where there has been little investment in safe road design.

Between 2010 and 2019, as the number of U.S. drivers or passengers who died in collisions held fairly steady, deaths of those on bikes rose thirty-six per cent, and deaths of those on foot nearly doubled.

It’s a long piece. But more that worth the time you’ll invest in reading it.

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A columnist for The New York Times says California has to flip the paradigm of having too much housing for cars, and not enough for people.

Farhad Manjoo calls for the passage of AB 2097, which would prohibit minimum parking requirements near public transit, or at least SB 1067, which gives developers more leeway to get around parking minimums.

Meanwhile, UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup calls for enforcing the state’s parking cash-out law to reduce emissions and fight climate change.

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For early risers, the LACBC will host a Twitter Space to discuss women, children and bicycling starting at 6:00 this morning.

Yes, 6 am.

So chances are, you may have already missed it.

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

No bias here. Call it friendly fire, as a self-professed non-leg-shaving cyclist says everyone hates bike riders, so we should ride cringingly at the edge of the road to keep from annoying drivers more than they already are. Even in the English countryside where he says hedges block drivers’ views, making it far safer to take the lane, regardless of who you piss off.

Horrible news from the UK, where a woman riding a bicycle was left with a life-changing injury when a man sicced one of his large dogs on her, forcing it to bite her upper leg and clamp down for several minutes until she managed to break free, after accusing her of nearly running into his kid on a bike path. Let’s hope he goes away for a long time. And those dogs — and his kid — get a new home with someone who isn’t so cruel.

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Local

A writer for City Watch pushes back on the recently approved plans for a bus rapid transit line on Colorado Blvd through Eagle Rock, calling the reallocation of traffic lanes undemocratic because it doesn’t give all the road space to people in cars. Even though it seems far more democratic to reserve space for pedestrians, bike riders and yes, transit users, too.

The LACBC is working with Los Angeles Walks on a pilot program to encourage business owners in Wilmington and San Pedro to use ebikes.

 

State 

Calbike offers an update on active transportation bills in the state legislature, with a number still alive, including bills to legalize jaywalking, treat stop signs as yields, and require cities to include bike and pedestrian facilities in their circulation plans.

An op-ed from an Escondido urban planning student says California cities are unwalkable, unbikeable and dangerous, but they don’t have to be.

Très scandaleux! A San Diego TV station claims to have caught the 30th Street bike counter double counting some bike riders, not counting others, and even counting an armored truck illegally parked in the lane, which some local business owners claim proves the new bike lane is underused.

Berkeley residents are fighting for a carfree future on Telegraph Ave north of the UC Berkeley campus; as usual, business owners along the street are fighting back, unable to imagine any customers walking or biking to get there. If customers won’t walk or bike a few blocks to do business with you, there’s something seriously wrong with the way you do business.

 

National

NACTO says the US Department of Transportation is still taking comments on proposed safety regulations to make massive trucks and SUVs safer for bike riders and pedestrians; you have through Wednesday to voice your concerns. Or you can follow their template.

Portland is now installing lengthy lines of bike racks along sidewalks in an effort to keep homeless people from sleeping there.

Housing inspectors in Minneapolis are saying goodbye to their SUVs and using Rad Power ebikes to conduct their inspections instead; the city purchased five of the ebikes for a total of $12,000, and have already put 1,200 miles on them. Which is a hell of a lot less than they would have paid for five motor vehicles.

Syracuse NY is expected to approve a $700,000 settlement for a man who was critically injured when a speeding cop slammed into his bicycle; witnesses said the police car was traveling without lights or siren.

That’s more like it. New York City officials call for automated bike lane cams to crack down on scofflaw drivers who can’t resist turning them into parking lots.

One casualty of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was New York’s ultrafast bicycle delivery startup Buyk, which was forced to declare bankruptcy and layoff all of its American employees when US sanctions cut off access to its Russian co-founders and parent company, as well as financing from Russian banks.

Very Local highlights the top five “bicycling adventures” in the Big Easy. Although I suspect most New Orleans bike riders would prefer if riding there wasn’t quite so adventurous. 

Life is cheap in Florida, where a Vero Beach driver walked with a lousy $148 fine for swerving into a bike lane and killing a 63-year old man riding a bike, despite his long record of traffic violations and refusal to take a blood test.

 

International

Financial Times calls bicycles the cheap, green, low-tech solution for the world’s poorer megacities. Then again, they’re a pretty good solution for the rich ones, too. You can also read it here if you can’t get past their paywall.

Mounties in New Brunswick have written just 121 tickets in the five years since the province passed the equivalent of a three-foot passing law, known locally as Ellen’s Law, for a rising pro cyclist who was killed by a passing driver.

A Philippine transport group marks World Bicycle Day by calling on the government to ensure people on bicycles arrive alive.

A new study from a Sydney, Australia hospital shows injuries to delivery bicyclists are dramatically underreported, with delivery riders 13 times more likely than other bicyclists to be injured between the hours of 8 pm and midnight.

Melbourne, Australia will halt the installation of new bike lanes in the central business district, apparently unprepared for an entirely predictable bikelash from businesses and delivery drivers.

 

Competitive Cycling

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 89-year old Texas man is determined to complete this weekend’s 200-mile Gravel Unbound race, after missing the time cut at the 120-mile checkpoint last year.

European carmaker Škoda’s We Love Cycling website ranks the three greatest domestiques of all time.

 

Finally…

Start your new career as an NYC bike lane inspector. Fix your own bike, already.

And face it, you just can’t duck karma, instant or otherwise.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the link.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Plea deal in drunken Oxnard hit-and-run that killed 16-year old boy, and crowdfund for fallen Rapha ride leader tops goal

Once again, a killer driver has been allowed to plead to reduced charges.

And reduced jail time.

Thirty-nine-year old Oxnard resident Julio Cesar Sanchez pled guilty to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the drunken hit-and-run death of 16-year old Andres Hernandez, as the Port Hueneme boy was riding in Oxnard last September.

Sanchez also admitted to special allegations of fleeing the scene and committing a serious felony involving great violence.

He was sentence to nine years, after prosecutors dropped charges of second degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated with prior DUI convictions, which could have resulted in a sentence of 15 years to life.

Instead, he’ll likely spend less than half his nine-year sentence behind bars.

Let’s at least hope he’s never allowed to drive again.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

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A fundraiser to help defray funeral expenses for Rapha ride leader John Hermoso has reached over $12,900 in just one week, topping the $10,000 goal.

Hermoso, better known as Panduh in the cycling community, was killed in a head-on collision while riding the Santa Clara Truck Trail near Santa Clarita 12 days ago.

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Here’s your reminder to turn out for the LA City Council Budget and Finance Committee meeting on Friday to demand more funding for active transportation and Vision Zero in the coming fiscal year.

Unfortunately, the city council isn’t taking phone-in comments anymore following the reopening of City Hall, despite rising Covid rates. So you’ll have to show up in person, or email members of the committee in advance of the Friday afternoon meeting.

And if you have any question what difference more funding could make, just take a look at the photo in the tweet below.

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Your periodic reminder that this is what we could have in Los Angeles, where the terrain and weather are more inviting than London.

And London commutes didn’t look like this, either, until the city built out a network of bicycle superhighways just a few years ago.

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The annual Ride of Silence to remember the victims of traffic violence is scheduled for next Wednesday.

Unfortunately, there are no rides currently listed with the national registry in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego or San Bernardino Counties for the day of the event.

However, the Pasadena Ride of Silence will return to the Rose Bowl as a daytime event on Saturday, May 21st.

Let’s hope more people will step up to host rides in Southern California over the next week. Because we really need to send a message this year.

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I’d watch it.

https://twitter.com/CoolBikeArt1/status/1524269572219707392

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Somehow, I think it will take just a little more than an illegible sign.

But maybe that’s just me.

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1523655735002902530

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How to tell someone played hooky from physics class.

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

No bias here. A London man is roundly criticized for the crime of riding a Penny Farthing in traffic, while politely waving a driver to turn in front of him — then nearly getting hit when a second driver tries to do it, too.

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

Bizarre story from Las Vegas, where a man faces murder charges for pepper spraying another man, then stabbing him to death, after accusing the victim of damaging his bike “with the help of a ‘hacker’ from Indiana.”

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton digs deep into Metro’s proposed budget for the 2023 fiscal year, which calls for a 27.2% increase in active transportation spending. Although the $80 active transportation budget is dwarfed by the agency’s proposed $634 million in highway spending, a 35% increase over this year.

Pasadena is celebrating an abbreviated bike month, condensing it down to just the last 19 days of the month.

 

State 

More information on the cryptically described hit-and-run we mentioned yesterday in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood, which left the bike-riding victim with major injuries; police are looking for a newer model white 4-door crossover-style SUV with silver alloy wheels, and probable damage to the right front, with a license plate beginning with 8YN. There’s a $1,000 reward for information in the caseThanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

Morgan Hill-based Specialized is developing a new e-cargo bike sub-brand extension called Globe, specifically designed to replace car trips, while priced below the company’s Turbo ebike line.

 

National

Bicycling offers their picks for the best road bike wheels to “improve your speed, enhance you ride quality, and take you farther than ever.” As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

Denver area residents reached out to replace the ebike a Vietnam war vet relied on as his only form of transportation, after it was stolen from a Walmart bike rack.

She gets it. The executive director of Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance calls out the city’s failure to improve a deadly intersection, saying no one should die just because they use a bike to get around.

Pittsburgh is getting a new ebike-based bikeshare system.

New York’s new $4 million traffic safety campaign telling drivers to slow down seems to be having the opposite effect, with a dozen people killed in crashes in the first week.

 

International

Off.Road.cc delivers a primer on frame geometry, while Cycling Weekly discusses frame materials, suggesting metal frames offer benefits over carbon fiber.

A Calgary, Alberta couple dug up a metal 1935 bike license while working in their garden. Note that it wraps around the frame, and would be virtually invisible to anyone at a distance, for all those who insist bicycles should a license to force scofflaw riders to behave.

A Toronto paper demonstrates the right way to write a headline, reporting that a “Cyclist was struck by a driver while walking his bike across the street.” My only quibble is that the victim is a person, not a cyclist. But still.

The US military garrison in Wiesbaden, Germany offers advice on how to ride in the country.

 

Competitive Cycling

Lennard Kämna took Tuesday’s Mt. Etna stage of the Giro in a breakaway; the 23-year old German pro is making a successful comeback after last season was derailed by physical and mental health problems.

Columbia’s Miguel Ángel López withdrew from the Giro after getting dropped in the first miles of Tuesday’s fourth stage; he reportedly suffers a left hip injury that failed to bounce back on Monday’s rest day.

Dutch star Mathieu van der Poel is taking a sabbatical from mountain biking to focus exclusively on road racing this year, before returning to the sport for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Colorado’s annual Durango to Silverton Iron Horse Challenge celebrates its 50th year at the end of this month.

 

Finally…

Apparently, London doesn’t have the only bike-riding cat. Now you, too, can be the proud owner of a Giro d’Italia NFT.

And this one hits right where I live, at the intersection of bikes and corgis.

https://twitter.com/bradygraffiti/status/1523820740184883203

But evidently, they’re not the only canine bike racing fans.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

One year in jail for underage, allegedly drunk driver who nearly killed cyclist Adam Rybicki.

Is a single year in county jail really enough for an underage drinking and driving spree that injured two cyclists — nearly taking the life of one and leaving him with life-altering injuries?

Sources tell me that a plea deal has been reached in the case of Jaclyn Andrea Garcia, the 19-year old driver accused of plowing into a group of cyclists early on the morning of Sunday, April 3rd — while still drunk from the night before.

In fact, I’m told that at the time of the 7:15 am collision, she still had a BAC of 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit.

Reportedly, she will be sentenced to one year in jail, though current jail overcrowding conditions mean she’s likely to serve less than six months.

Maybe far less.

In addition, she’ll face three years probation after her release, including a requirement that she wear the SCRAM alcohol monitor made famous by Lindsey Lohan. We can only hope it will be more effective than it was with her more famous compatriot.

She also have her driver’s license suspended for just one year. This despite at least four moving violations in the last three years, as well as allegedly totaling her car in a previous collision.

Hopefully, it won’t be the year she’ll be in jail and can’t drive anyway.

Meanwhile, I’m told that her primary victim, 49-year old Adam Rybicki of Rancho Palos Verdes, continues to progress, albeit slowly, and faces a long, hard road to recovery; it remains to be seen whether he will ever regain even a semblance of the life he lived before Garcia ran him down.

Those with whom I’ve discussed the case consider the penalties likely to be imposed on Garcia to be very light given the extreme severity of Rybicki’s injuries. However, I’m told that the D.A. handling the case had his hands tied by the penalties allowed under the law for a first time vehicular felon.

One attorney who weighed in on the plea deal said that under current state law someone has to die before a heavy prison sentence can be imposed; from what I understand, Adam Rybicki came very, very close.

In fact, he probably would have if there hadn’t been an orthopedic surgeon on ride.

But at least she’ll have a felony conviction on her record, which will follow her for the rest of her life.

Meanwhile, Garcia has written a letter asking for leniency, which has been highly criticized by some who’ve seen it; at least some observers accuse her of failing to take responsibility for her actions and seeing herself as the victim.

“I ended up being involved in an accident where two bicyclists were injured.” (Garcia)

Beyond comprehension. She is the victim here?!? Accident?!? This is a @##$$%^^&&* felony!!! Two bicyclists were injured!?! With a blood alcohol level of 0.15, she drove a vehicle directly into the path of law abiding cyclists and assaulted them with her vehicle.

“One thing that people have said about me is the fact that I was emotionless at the time of the accident. I was far from that.”

Well, yes, people did observe that appearance. She may be on the mark here. She was beyond emotionless; she was nearly unconscious! That, however, does not constitute emotion. Still no responsibility. She certainly did not offer any help at the scene of the accident; compassion, not hardly.

The case has been continued until Monday, September 12th at 8:30 am in Department 5, Room 403 of the Inglewood Superior Court.

At that time, she is expected to change her plea to guilty, and the court will hear statements from the victims — or in Rybicki’s case, his family members — and other interested parties.

And before the day is over, Jaclyn Andrea Garcia is likely to be sentenced for failing to kill Adam Rybicki, if only barely.

Whether justice will be served depends entirely on your perspective.

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In another case, Victims Impact Statements will be heard on Wednesday, September 7th in the case of Stephanie Segal, charged with felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run in the death of cyclist James Laing; Segal reportedly had a BAC of .26 at the time of the collision. The hearing is now scheduled for 10 am  — I’d previously reported it would start at 8:30 am — in Department 1 of the Malibu Courthouse, 23525 Civic Center Way.

Cyclists are urged to attend wearing bike jerseys to show support for Laing and his family; however, long pants are required in the courtroom.

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