Tag Archive for Ray MacDonald

Election bodes well for bikes, DUI hit-and-run driver on trial in Huntington Beach, and South LA CicLAvia route announced

Let’s start with a quick recap of Tuesday’s election.

The short version is, nobody won.

Yet.

The large number of mail-in ballots received on and dropped off on Election Day means it could be more than a week before we have final results.

However, as things currently stand, Rick Caruso and Karen Bass are in a virtual dead heat for mayor, with Caruso holding a slight lead.

Meanwhile, bike rider and corgi dad Kenneth Mejia holds a seemingly insurmountable lead over termed-out councilmember and career politician Paul Koretz to become city controller and the first person of Filipino ancestry to hold elective office in the City of Angeles.

Bike-friendly Katy Yaroslavsky, daughter-in-law of longtime LA office holder Zev Yaroslavsky, has an 11 point lead to replace Koretz in CD5, which should mark a sea change for active transportation on the Westside.

Tracy Park holds a nearly 11 point lead over bike-friendly Erin Darling to succeed retiring Councilmember Mike Bonin in CD11.

Hugo Soto-Martinez has a tighter five point lead over incumbent Mitch O’Farrell in CD13; if he can hold the lead, it could be a major win for active transportation in the district, where O’Farrell blocked nearly all bike projects, and only came around to support Sunset for All to gain support as he battled for re-election.

Tim McCosker has a seemingly insurmountable 30 point lead over progressive Daniel Sandoval to replace termed-out Joe Buscaino in CD15, following Sandoval’s wage theft scandal that effectively sank her prospects. I don’t have a feel for what McCosker’s expected victory will mean for bike and pedestrian projects in a district that stretches from San Pedro to Watts.

Career politician Bob Hertzberg holds a slim 1.5% lead over West Hollywood Councilmember Lindsey Horvath for LA County Supervisor; a Hertzberg victory would represent a significant conservative shift compared outgoing Supervisor Shiela Kuehl.

Retired Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna leads incumbent Alex Villanueva for LA County Sheriff, whose department has long used pretext stops to target bicyclists for riding while Black or brown. Especially brown.

State Measure 30, which would have taxed millionaires to fund e-cars and prevent wildfires, went down to defeat by a 2-1 margin.

The next update isn’t expected until tomorrow. We’ll catch up on some of the smaller cities in LA County as official results are announced.

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels.

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You’ve got to be kidding.

A Huntington Beach man finally went on trial in the alleged drunken, hit-and-run death of 33-year old Raymond MacDonald as he rode his bike in the city in 2019.

The collision that killed MacDonald was just one of three crashes 28-year old Victor Manuel Romero stands accused of on that March night, after getting drunk and into a fight in a bar parking lot.

Despite assuring police he would call for a ride, he instead got behind the wheel of his BMW and tore out of the parking lot, hitting the bar owner’s Caddy on the way out.

He then slammed into MacDonald, driving so fast an Uber driver waiting at the intersection felt his car rock as Romero blew by; MacDonald was like dead by the time he hit the pavement.

He then hit another car after blowing through a red light, and was arrested back near the bar after fleeing on foot.

Unbelievably, his attorney tried to blame his actions, not on being drunk or merely an asshole, but by claiming he suffered a concussion from repeated blows to the head while on the losing end of the fight, which somehow affected his decision making.

Sure. Let’s go with that.

Granted, even the worst client has a right to a defense. And his attorney can’t be blamed for throwing whatever Hail Mary he can in the face of overwhelming evidence.

But maybe he could come up with something even slightly more credible.

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In more enjoyable news, CicLAvia announced the route for the year’s last open streets event next month in South LA.

The South LA Expo Park to Watts CicLAvia will roll December 4th, on a route that will take it along Martin Luther King Blvd from Exposition Park to Historic South Central — the birthplace of West Coast Jazz — then along Central Ave to Florence-Firestone and ending on 103rd Street in Watts, the home turf of the East Side Riders.

The late date means the event will be subject to the whims of what passes for winter weather in Los Angeles. However, many people who have attended previous South LA CicLAvias have ranked them among the best events in the 12-year history of CicLAvia.

And it certainly offers some of the best food you’ll find anywhere in Los Angeles.

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Nothing like getting right hooked on a protected bike lane.

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San Francisco voted overwhelmingly to keep JFK Drive permanently carfree through Golden Gate Park, while overwhelmingly defeating a measure to reopen JFK and the Great Highway to cars.

State Senator Scott Wiener credits his SB288 with exempting the projects from CEQA review, forcing opponents to take it to a vote of the people, where it was resoundingly rejected,

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Don’t worry. If a Tesla driver runs you down, they may not be texting.

They might just be on a Zoom call.

Thanks to HowTheWestWS for the heads-up.

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That feeling when the Twitter bird flees Elon Musk, and takes up residence in your bike wheel.

Which I suppose beats the hell out of a monkey in your spokes.

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Everesting — climbing the height of Mt. Everest on a bicycle — is hard enough. Imagine doing it when you can’t breathe.

An inspiring new video tells the story of South African cyclist Jason van’t Slot, who broke the record for the fastest successful Everesting attempt by someone with cystic fibrosis.

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

No bias here. A San Diego letter writer says “Same road, same rules” cuts both ways, insisting that stops signs and red lights apply to people on bikes, too. Apparently, he’s never watched drivers at red lights and stop signs, either.

No bias here, either. A British Conservative politician responds to a viral clip of an oncoming driver refusing to pause for a five-year old kid on a bike by saying the child shouldn’t be riding on the street in the first place. Because there are so much better places for families to ride where they’re going, evidently. 

This is why people keep dying on the roads. A British driver walked without a single day behind bars for using his car as a weapon to ram into a man on a bike in reverse, after the man slapped his car when the driver yelled for him and another bike rider to get out of the road. Adding insult to injury, he’ll get his damn drivers license back after a lousy six-month suspension, when it should have been revoked for life.

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

Police in Carlsbad are looking for a road-raging bike rider who attacked a car driven by a pair of teens by trying to open their door and punching a window, before smashing the windshield, then allegedly lying in wait for them down the road; the altercation reportedly began when traffic bogged down as the rider was crossing the intersection, which “got him all spun up and (one of the teens) retaliated at him and got upset at him.” I assume that last quote means something, but we may need a teen-to-English translation before it makes any sense. As we’ve said many times before, though, violence is never the right answer, no matter how justified it may seem at the time. 

NYPD officers are looking for an armed “menace” riding a bikeshare bike who repeatedly pointed a gun at pedestrians, for no apparent reason.

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Local

An experimental program developed by a UCLA professor is paying people to bikepool between the Eastside and Downtown; Civic Bicycle Commuting, aka CiBiC, allows participants to earn credits worth up to $300 a month.

A fire at the El Segundo Chevron plant inevitably means Southern California gas prices will be going up. To which bike commuters seem oddly unconcerned.

 

State 

California set a record for greenhouse gas reductions in 2020, which was more than offset by the increase in greenhouse gas emissions last year, as miles driven rebounded to pre-pandemic levels; a full 40% of LA County’s greenhouse gas emissions come from motor vehicle tailpipes.

Santa Barbara county supervisors took the first step necessary to approve a proposed bike path along San Diego’s Modoc Road, helped in part by a large turnout by supporters.

Berkeley took the first step towards banning red turns on right at every intersection in the city.

The San Francisco Examiner explains California’s requirements for bike lights and reflectors. However, the law only applies if you’re riding after sunset or before sunrise, although police have been known to use daytime light checks as an illegal pretext stop.

Sad news from Sacramento, where a woman riding a bike was killed in a hit-and-run Wednesday afternoon.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a custom lowrider frame worth eight grand made by students at a Sacramento high school.

Finishing our Sacramento trifecta, city officials are asking people to pick which crappy plastic bendy bollard they want to offer a false sense of protection on bike lanes.

 

National

Transport for America says education, enforcement and technology — the cornerstones of American Vision Zero programs — don’t make streets safer; what does is better roadway designs.

A piece from the Congress for the New Urbanism calls ebikes essential technology for the 15 minute city.

Your next ebike could come with an automatic transmission; meanwhile, a new regenerative-braking ebike conversion kit promises to turn your existing bike into an ebike in just 30 seconds, you can buy it now on Kickstarter for half the planned $599 retail price.

Men’s Journal offers tips on winter fat tire bike riding, as well as their favorite bikes for the job, while Gear Patrol has advice on how to make your first bikepacking trip a success.

Triathlete offers a temperature-based guide to choosing bikewear.

Giro joins the LED-lighted bike helmet club.

She gets it. An op-ed in The Seattle Times says in order to improve safety for pedestrians, we need to prioritize the people who aren’t in cars. Which goes for protecting bike riders, too.

More bad news from Las Vegas, where a second bike rider has died following a drunken, serial hit-and-run that has now killed two people and injured seven others, while damaging ten vehicles.

Now that’s singletrack. A mountain bike trail stretches 567 continuous miles through the Colorado backcountry from Denver to Durango.

Accused killer Kaitlin Armstrong will go on trial next June for the May murder of gravel cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson in Austin, Texas.

Authorities in Chicago have apparently concluded that parking in bike lanes isn’t such a big deal, chopping the fine in half, from $500 to $250. Which is still more than in Los Angeles.

Residents of Provincetown, Rhode Island are just the latest to get ebike rebates before California’s long-delayed program goes into effect, with qualified buyers eligible for up to $1,200.

We could use a lot more people like this. Nearly 30 years after financial problems forced a New Jersey man to drop out of Howard University, he’s raised over $100,000 through an annual bike ride to help other students live out their educational dreams at Historic Black Colleges and Universities, aka HBCUs.

 

International

British bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid marks the 100th anniversary of drivers running pedestrians — and bike riders — off the road, when an engineering journal article by roadbuilder Edward J. Mehren called for a radical redesign of roadways to make them the exclusive domain of motor vehicles.

Road.cc recalls bygone bike tech we’re well rid of. Although if we completely get rid of wing nuts, we’ll have to find another term for all those assorted whack jobs. Oh.

Tragic news from Tijuana, where a longtime bike advocate and scholar was crushed to death by the driver of a cargo truck while riding in the Playas de Tijuana neighborhood.

A Vancouver couple were able to recover their stolen bike, along with five of their neighbors bikes, thanks to an Apple AirTag.

New wildcat posters instruct Toronto drivers to keep parking in bike lanes, with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Nurses at a London hospital are using ebikes to make patient rounds in the neighboring community.

A London TikTok user shares video of a midnight bicycle magical mystery tour through the lights of the city.

Now you, too, can own your very own Irish e-bikemaker, as the country’s High Court has forced Modmo Technologies into liquidation after a recall due to a dangerously defective battery mount crippled its finances.

Add this one to your bike bucket list. Try taking a bike tour along Italy’s 2,300-year old, 373-mile Roman Appian Way.

A new Spanish ebike foldie is made from plant resin, and promises to fold in just one second.

Life is cheap in New Zealand, where an Aukland prison guard walked with community service for killing a 70-year old man riding his bike on a rural road

 

Competitive Cycling

Cyclist goes on the road with Tour de France mechanics.

Pro cyclist Rebecca Fahringer is crossing over to gravel racing, after suffering a series of concussions racing ‘cross.

Four-time Tour de France champ Chris Froome says UCI’s points system needs an overhaul, calling the new relegation system a death sentence for many cycling teams.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be made with artificial meteorites. When you’re riding your bike with an outstanding felony warrant, maybe try riding with traffic, instead. Artistic cycling could be your next new thing.

And here’s a really nice bike themed song from Los Angeles artist Runner, not to be confused with the ’70s band.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Morning Links: Happy Bicycle Day, murder charge for OC driver, and Taylor Swift drops a new blue bike

Happy Bicycle Day.

Which doesn’t actually have much to do with bicycles at all. Or riding them, for that matter.

It’s the 76th anniversary of the day Albert Hoffman invented LSD, and discovered its hallucinogenic effects while riding his bike home.

So turn on, tune in, drop out, and kick back while we take a look the day’s bike news.

Then get out and go for a ride yourself.

Preferably without the influence of any mind-altering substances.

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They take traffic crime seriously in Orange County.

Victor Manuel Romero, the allegedly highly intoxicated hit-and-run driver who killed bike rider Ray MacDonald in Huntington Beach the day after his birthday, will be arraigned today on a single count of murder.

Which most likely means this isn’t his first DUI, since drunk and stoned drivers convicted in California are required to sign a letter indicating they could face a murder charge if they kill someone while driving under the influence in the future.

Although the actions of some drivers are so despicable that they should face a murder charge either way.

This is one of those cases.

And unlike Los Angeles, the charges are unlikely to be plea bargained down to a misdemeanor.

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Taylor Swift may or may not be one of us. But at least she knows the power of a pretty blue bike.


On the other hand, newly 40-year old Kourtney Kardashian is one of us, though apparently, not very good at it.

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Evidently, motorized scooters are nothing new.

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The Bicycle Tree bike co-op rides to savor the flavor of Santa Ana tomorrow.

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If you’re going to crash into brick walls, maybe you should wear a helmet. And bring a dog treat.

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Local

Metro is considering new regulations to wrangle the tangle of e-scooters and dockless bikeshares at their stations.

LAPD busted a ring of scooter-riding car burglars, who’d come down from Oakland on the weekends and rent e-scooters to ride around Hollywood breaking into cars.

Thanks to Culver City for putting new bike lanes on Overland Blvd.

Oopsie. Sit-down scooter company Wheels, which recently launched with a bizarre Sunset Strip party for B and C list celebs, has been fined $40,000 and counting for operating in Santa Monica without a permit. Although they’ve probably more than made up for it by renting scooters to all those red carpet folks, right?

Santa Monica Spoke has a busy social calendar, starting with a Kidical Mass ride tomorrow, and a membership meeting on the 27th.

State

A Bakersfield letter writer says no, the bike path is for everyone, not just the people on two wheels.

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss asks the burning question why do Americans hate bikes so much? On a related subject, the writers and producers of ABC’s Blackish seem to share that sentiment, finding humor in threatening people on bicycles.

Lime is working on a sensor system to detect drunk users and keep them safe. When they have it up and running, maybe they can pass it on to carmakers.

Tres shock! A new Seattle report shows that bikeshare use drops when it rains. And drops even more when it snows.

A Spokane WA state senator agrees to release funding for the city’s road projects after they promise to build a new bike trail. Although the sharrows the city promised as part of the agreement won’t do anything but help drivers improve their aim.

No bias here. A Las Vegas paper notes that a bike rider was hit by a car while crossing a street outside of a marked crosswalk. Even though bike riders aren’t required to use crosswalks, or even allowed to in many places. And never mind that they take until the fifth paragraph to even mention in passing that the car had a driver.

San Antonio TX suggests making bicyclists second class citizens by shunting them off onto side streets when a major boulevard gets a makeover in order to make more room for cars, instead of installing the protected bike lane advocates are asking for. Meanwhile, an op-ed in a San Antonio paper says more needs to be done to protect riders.

The family of the first bikeshare user to be killed in the US received a $5.25 million jury verdict, after turning down a half million dollar settlement offer from the company the truck driver who killed her worked for.

Once again, a bike rider is a hero. After an Indiana cop struggled to subdue a driver, a man jumped off his bicycle and helped bring the suspect under control and get handcuffs on him.

After a Maine restaurant owner offered to give away two children’s bikes on Easter Sunday, kindhearted business owners and local residents pitched in another 45 bikes and helmets.

A New Hampshire couple spent $150 of their own money to buy a new bike for a disabled Boston-area veteran they’d never met after learning that the bike he relied on for his only form of transportation was stolen outside a Dollar Store.

While Los Angeles continues to build bike lanes at a glacial pace — protected or otherwise — a new bill in New York would commit the city to building a minimum of 100 miles of protected bike lanes a year for the seven-year period starting next year.

No bias here, either. According to the New York Daily News, a man was killed when he somehow magically fell off his bike into the side of a passing truck. A far more likely explanation is the driver passed too close, either sideswiping the victim or causing him to lose control; Gothamist doesn’t seem to buy it, either.

If New York ever gets around to legalizing e-scooters, a new startup is offering to provide docking and charging stations for up to 10,000 scooters and ebikes. Although that kind of defeats the purpose of dockless bikeshare and scooters.

In news that should surprise absolutely no one, new stats show that New York Mayor de Blasio’s heavy-handed crackdown on ebikes is based on nothing more than fear and hyperbole; just nine of the 11,115 pedestrians injured in the city were struck by someone on an ebike.

Delaware police add insult to injury — literally — by ticketing a woman for failing to yield after she was hospitalized when her bike was struck by a driver’s car.

President Trump was scheduled to honor participants in a Wounded Warriors Ride after they reached the White House on Thursday.

International

A Winnipeg, Canada cop is being investigated after a bike rider alleged the officer pepper sprayed him and threatened him with a baton after he refused to let the cop search his backpack.

That’s more like it. Drivers in the UK who block bike boxes could be subject to the equivalent of a $130 fine and three points against their licenses. If the police actually enforce it, that is. Note: I originally wrote they’d be subject to a three pint penalty, which would be much more likely to result in compliance.

A British man rode his bike around the world while stoned to prove that stoners aren’t lazy. No, just use poor judgement, and are willing violate DUI laws in countless countries.

The founder of a million dollar English bikepacking bag maker learned learned how to do it by watching instructional videos on YouTube.

Scottish stunt rider Danny MacAskill looks back on his ten-year career, saying his only regret is filming a video at the Playboy Mansion.

Forget bike racks on the front of buses. A new Scottish bus that takes riders to a popular mountain biking area has two racks inside to accommodate riders.

Nigerian university students destroyed a Mercedes Benz after the driver ran down a bike rider and tried to flee the scene; no word on whether the driver escaped or was beaten by the crowd. Although it’s unclear what type of bike the story refers to; the same word could refer to a bicycle or a motorcycle.

Competitive Cycling

Former Cervelo-Bigla pro Doris Schweizer is alleging an abusive environment on the team, claiming she was denied medical treatment after suffering a severe concussion, and forbidden from talking with other riders.

Organizers of Minnesota’s North Star Grand Prix have started a crowdfunding campaign to raise $200,000 by May 3rd or they’ll have to cancel the race this year, just like last year. So far the page has raised $5,985, with just $194,015 to go.

A Spokane writer says Rebecca Twigg puts a new, relatable face on homelessness, noting that she’s turned down offers of help, preferring to focus on the half million people in the US who need help to put a roof over their heads.

A fund has been set up in the name of fallen track cyclist Kelly Catlin to support young women’s track cyclists; Catlin recently took her own life after suffering a serious concussion in a crash last year.

Finally…

Nothing like a custom, hand-crafted camo paint job on your new ebike to help ensure drivers won’t see you. If you’re going to use your bike seat as a drug stash, try to hide it from the cops’ hidden cameras.

And how can anyone make fun of our bike shorts when we’re just following the year’s hottest fashion trend?

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Chag Sameach and Happy Easter to all those celebrating the respective holidays this weekend.

Man killed riding bike in early morning Huntington Beach hit-and-run; driver possibly under the influence

Yet another life has been needlessly taken by a cowardly driver who didn’t bother to slow down, let alone stop as required by law.

According to multiple sources, the unidentified victim was riding in a crosswalk on Beach Blvd at Adams Ave in Huntington Beach at around 2:10 am when the driver of a BMW blew through a red light and slammed into him.

The victim, described only as a man in his 30s or 40s, died shortly afterwards.

The driver apparently crashed into a tree about a half-mile away in Huntington Beach, and fled the scene on foot. He was taken into custody about a mile from that crash scene, based on information police found in the car, and booked on suspicion of vehicular homicide.

Police are investigating whether he was drunk or stoned at the time of the crash, which seems highly likely.

Video from the scene shows a mangled cruiser bike with plastic baskets front and rear, and a large amount of debris strewn in the street, suggesting the victim may have been homeless or collecting recyclables.

However, that is just speculation at this point.

Anyone with information is urged to call Huntington Beach Police Accident Investigator B. Atkins at 714/536-5666, or Investigator A. Turner at 714/536-5670.

This is at least the 16th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third I’m aware of in Orange County; two of those three deaths have been hit-and-runs.

Update: The victim has been identified by his mother as 33-year old Ray MacDonald, who lived in the Huntington Beach area for the past three years; he was killed the day after his birthday.

He leaves behind a daughter, and a loving family and friends.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ray MacDonald and all his loved ones.


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