Tag Archive for street racing

Morning Links: Two charged with Rancho Mirage street racing death, Peloton Wife gets a part, and someone stole an ELF

It’s the last six days of the 5th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive! Donate today via PayPal, or with Zelle to ted @ bikinginla.com.

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Two men have been charged the street racing death of bike rider William Campbell in Rancho Mirage last year.

Twenty-one-year old Luis Armando Castaneda was allegedly racing 23-year old Alex Isidro Quiroz when he cut into the bike lane Campbell was riding in.

He’s accused of speeding at nearly 100 miles per hour when he slammed into Campbell, in what was originally thought to be a road rage incident, then fleeing the scene.

And no, a crash at that speed is unlikely to be survivable for anyone outside of a tank.

Arrest warrants have been issued, but neither man has been taken into custody yet.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

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In the latest chapter of the never-ending Peloton ad saga, the actress who played the Peloton Wife has won a one-day walk-on part on the CBS soap The Bold and the Beautiful.

So maybe riding that indoor bike really did pay off for her, after all.

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Seriously, someone stole an ELF pedal bike?

What the hell are they going to do with it?

That’s going to be hard to sell. And harder still to break into parts at the local bike chop shop.

But at least an ELF is appropriate for this time of year.

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A London woman gets well-deserved revenge on an obnoxious van driver who harasses her — sexually and otherwise — and repeatedly reaches through his window to touch her as she’s on her bike.

I can’t bring myself to endorse violence or vandalism. But only a jury of obnoxious assholes like him would ever convict her.

Thanks to Mike Cane for the link.

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Who wants to get paid to ride a bike?

I’m in.

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Who needs a back wheel when you can teach your bike to walk?

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

An Orange County man has accepted a gift of a plea bargain, getting just one year for severely beating a woman walking on a bike path, after he crashed into her with his bike.

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‘Tis the Season.

The sanitation department of an Arizona county gave away 105 bicycles that were abandoned or found in the landfill and rebuilt by county inmates for 50¢ a hour.

Volunteers with an Ohio county sheriff’s department found and refurbished 37 bicycles and tricycles for a Salvation Army toy giveaway.

A Shreveport, Louisiana law firm gave 103 bicycles to local kids. But probably made them sign a waiver first.

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Don’t make her suffer this indignity for nothing. Give to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive today.

It’s the final days of the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive — and the late Corgi’s tenure as spokesdog for this site.

So let me offer my sincere thanks to John C for his generous donation to help keep all the best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day

So what are are you waiting for, already?

Take just a minute to donate right now. Because time’s running out. 

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Local

LAUSD teacher Molly Jane Hoene was formally arraigned yesterday, pleading not guilty to two counts of felony hit-and-run in the crash that nearly killed a homeless bike rider in Silver Lake; she’s been released on $50,000 bond.

Thanks to CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew for forwarding word that the South Bay Beach Cities Cycling Club ranks as the number one bike club in the US. Again.

LA County is offering a $10,000 reward for whoever shot and killed 20-year-old Anthony Iniquez as the father of two was riding his bike in Harbor City two years ago.

 

State

Some people put boom boxes or Bluetooth speakers on their bikes; one San Diego man pedals with an entire piano on his.

A San Jose man has filed a civil suit against the police for intentionally ramming him off his bicycle to make a traffic stop, claiming he didn’t hear the officer yell at him to pull over.

A Berkeley op-ed says the future of the city’s Telegraph Ave should be as a Complete Street.

The question isn’t why did a member of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District ride his bike to the latest board meeting, but why didn’t the rest of them?

 

National

Scientific American says your brain needs physical exercise, too. Like riding a bike, for instance.

Lime is trying to one-up the competition with a new weekly pass that allows unlimited bike and scooter unlocks for just $5.

El Paso TX will invest over $1.8 million to improve bikeways across the city.

Eight years after a Houston man bought a used Raleigh bike for $150, he’s lost 50 pounds and credits it with changing his life.

An Iowa advocacy group flips sides in the ongoing RAGBRAI rivalry, after the entire staff of the longstanding ride across the state resigned earlier this year to start a competing ride.

New York bike thieves are physically assaulting bicycle delivery riders to steal their ebikes.

Gothamist tells the stories of New York’s fallen bike riders, where 28 people have lost their lives simply for riding a bicycle, compared to just ten last year. Go ahead, tell me again how distracted drivers and massive SUVs aren’t making the streets more dangerous for everyone. Except the people in them.

Streetsblog complains that New York police caught the driver who allegedly fled the scene after killing professional wrestler Matt Travis as he rode his bike in Harlem earlier this year, but only charged him with minor traffic infractions.

I want to be like her when I grow up. A 70-year old Virginia woman rode her bike 12,500 miles around the US to draw a peace symbol across the US

Sorry, Tampa. But white plastic poles do not a protected bike lane make.

When an elderly woman’s bike was stolen while she was shopping, kindhearted Florida deputies quickly recovered it. And got her a new one when they saw how old and worn her old bike was.

 

International

By the pricking of my thumbs, something Evil this way comes. With drop bars, no less.

Bike Radar attempts to predict the near future of road cycling with five top trends.

Who says bike tours have to be hard? Forbes recommends five European ebike tours.

You, too, could be the next editor of Road.cc and work in lovely Bath, England. Seriously, I loved that town, even if it was overrun with tourists. Like me.

London’s Evening Standard suggests the 30 best gifts for the bike rider in your life. Even if that bike rider is you. Or maybe, especially. 

Parisians have dealt with a massive transit strike by turning to bicycles and e-scooters. And have the injuries to prove it.

Indian bicyclists respond to the death of a bike rider with a We Too campaign to create awareness about the need to respect pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists.

An American soldier is still teaching spin classes, even while he’s deployed in Afghanistan.

Nice piece from Bicycling on American Shannon Galpin, who’s ready to move on to her next chapter after surviving blot clots in her brain, and the collapse of the Afghan women’s cycling team she helped found and fund.

Hong Kong commuters are forming bike trains to avoid the chaos caused by the ongoing protests in the city.

 

Competitive Cycling

Katie Compton’s incredible run of 15 straight national cyclocross championships finally came to an end, losing to Clara Honsinger, a competitor almost half Compton’s age competing in her first season at the elite level. Thanks to DQ for the gentle reminder.

Business Insider recalls our current president’s bizarre attempt to recreate the Tour de France on American soil. Only bigger and better, in typical Trump style. Except it never even came close.

Clearly, the best way to remove course tape in a ‘cross race is let someone else run into it — sets you free while taking taking out the competition. Without stopping, no less.

https://twitter.com/cyclocross24/status/1206598780503625733?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1206598780503625733&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2F269613-new-app-pays-you-cycling-35000-hand-painted-superbike-24-carat-gold-details

And evidently, pro cycling is now taking its fashion cues from Barney the Dinosaur.

 

Finally…

A fat tired all-wheel drive ebike was probably inevitable. No, you can’t have this hand-finished, porcelain-covered carbon fiber bike with 24k gold trim. Sorry.

And the easiest way to spot a Trump parody account is if he says he’s going to bike to work. Or ride a bike, period.

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Morning Links: Speeding across the US at 123 mph, the once and future CicLAvia, and more post-Peloton ad hysteria

Before we start, let me take a moment to thank every who’s given to the 5th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive so far.

Since we started ten days ago, not a single day has gone by without at least one donation. And often, more than that.

So let me offer my heartfelt thanks to Mike W, Ilya G, Philippa M, Gregory S and Glen S for their generous donations to since we saw you last.

Because their open hearts, and open wallets, is what helps keep all the best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

Which means the only question is, who’s going to join them today?

And will it be you?

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This is who we share the roads with.

Writing for Bicycling, Joe Lindsey criticizes a culture that allows motorists to break the law with seeming impunity. And chuckle when someone gets away with it.

Like drivers in a highly modified Mercedes using every trick known to man to evade the police while speeding across the US at an average of 123 mph.

And a top speed of 193 mph.

Speeds which would be instantly fatal to anyone outside of the car in the event of a crash. And probably in it, too.

All to win an illegal, unauthorized race across the country, speeding 2,800 miles across the US in less than 27 and a half hours. And putting the lives of everyone else on the roadway at risk, in every city, county and state they drove through.

Maybe it’s here where I point out that all of this is patently insane.

It’s insane to shift-drive across the country on open roads at triple-digit speeds. It’s insane to have such arrogant disregard for the law that you heavily modify a vehicle specifically to evade the police, using technologies that are themselves illegal in many states—laser jammers are illegal in California, Colorado, and Illinois, to name three states on the route, and it’s illegal in every state not to have functioning brake and taillights. It’s insane to try to pass this off as both a bold adventure AND a paragon of driving skill and discretion. And it’s insane for the media to accept that narrative so credulously and uncritically…

Cars are the apex predator in a transportation ecosystem where menace and aggression are literally built into the grilles, and where drivers can hit and kill cyclists and pedestrians and walk away without charges, or receive laughably minimal punishment when they are brought to court. Our devotion to cars is a stuck parking brake on the economy, a pox on public health, and is killing the planet.

It’s today’s must read.

And well worth the few minutes it will take to speed through it.

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The Los Angeles Daily News says the final CicLAvia of the year opened people’s eyes to “the sights, scenery (and) shops” in Canoga Park, Winnetka and Reseda yesterday.

But don’t worry.

CicLAvia will be back next year with a return to South LA and a first foray into Watts in February.

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It’s worth clicking on the tweet below just to read the long list of witty responses.

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San Diego is moving forward with the long-debated protected bike lanes in North Park, removing 450 parking spaces to make room for them.

At the same time, however, it’s also beginning work on a pipeline under the street, which could mess up your bike commutes for the next month.

Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

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Leone also forwards news that parts of Camp Pendleton were closed due to flooding as of this past weekend.

Please be aware of the following closures due to flooding:

  1. BEACH CLUB ROAD REMAINS CLOSED
  2. RAMP TO WIRE MOUNTAIN ROAD FROM VANDEGRIFT BLVD  ENTERING FROM MAIN GATE CLOSED
  3. LAS PULGAS GATE IS NOW CLOSED
  4. STUART MESA RD, 41 AREA TO LAS PULGAS IS NOW CLOSED.

Roads and gates above will re-open once water subsides.

For additional information regarding these closures, please contact Mr. Sam Jammal.

Sam Jammal, Community Plans Liaison, Camp Pendleton

Osamah.jammal@usmc.mil

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Nothing like a leisurely bike ride along the Nile.

No, on it.

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Just when you thought discussion of the much-loathed Peloton ad had beaten the subject into the ground…

…actor and gin meister Ryan Reynolds takes a swing at it.

Meanwhile, a Fox News host insists the whole controversy stems from the actress’ expressive eyebrows. No, really, he’s serious.

Apparently failing to understand what actors do for a living, some very stupid people have been sending death threats to the man who plays the husband in the spots. And a writer for the Guardian says the actor’s attempts to prove he’s not sexist misses the point.

And not surprisingly, Saturday Night Live got in on the action, not once but twice. Although you have to watch the first one all the way through.

Unfortunately, the actor in the ad isn’t an SNL fan, either.

At least not in this case.

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‘Tis the Season.

Inmates in an Iowa county jail refurbished 25 bicycles for local kids.

A western Pennsylvania bike drive resulted in 1,245 bike for Toys for Tots; the founder says he wants to make sure every kid has the chance to ride one like he did.

Twenty-six Long Island NY kids got new bikes and helmets thanks to a local nonprofit.

A Tampa Bay nonprofit built 900 bicycles for local kids in need.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes keeps gaining speed.

No, people on bikes don’t think they own the road. But evidently, the woman in this Texas truck thinks she does.

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Local

Los Angeles got a pair of state grants totaling $3.5 million to build 2.2 miles of multi-use pathways along the LA River in North Atwater Village, as well as improving habitat along the river.

If you’re carrying a garage door opener, crack pipe and several change purses on what’s probably a $5,000 stolen bike, stay off the sidewalk — and put a damn light on it.

 

State

San Diego bicyclists rode Friday to celebrate the completion of new bus and bike lanes along El Cajon Blvd.

Mind your turn signals and stop signs in Oxnard tomorrow, when the police conduct a bike and pedestrian safety sting, calling it an educational operation. The usual protocol applies — ride to the letter of the law until you get outside their jurisdiction.

San Jose pedestrian fatalities are at an all time high, with other traffic deaths not far behind.

A somewhat incredulous Sacramento reporter follows a Christmas tree delivery in three parts to prove it can be done by bicycle.

 

National

A writer for Quartz questions why women don’t ride to work when they love bikes so much.

Life is cheap in Colorado, where a dump truck driver walks with community service for killing a new mother on her first bike ride after giving birth. And apparently gets to keep his license, too.

Conservative Texas aims to eliminate traffic deaths in the entire state by 2050. Unlike progressive California, which hasn’t even discussed Vision Zero.

A Chicago alderman (alderperson?) backed down on plans to dangerously reconfigure bike lanes to make room for more parking.

He gets it. An Illinois writer says you “meet the most interesting people, see what most drivers rarely notice, and discover places you wish you had known years ago” when you ride a bike.

No surprise here, as Pittsburg drivers make like a quarterback avoiding a blitz by using bike lanes to swerve around speed humps without slowing down.

Gothamist wants to know why ebikes are okay for Amazon and UPS deliveries in NYC, but remain illegal for immigrants delivering food. And why the governor hasn’t signed a bill to rectify that.

New York’s Port Authority makes La Guardia Airport virtually off limits to people on bikes, suggesting it’s your fault for making drivers feel bad when they have to hit you.

 

International

Stats show most Toronto bicycling and walking deaths occur during the day, suggesting the free reflective armbands offered by police won’t help very much.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a truck driver will serve less than two years behind bars for killing a bike rider when he couldn’t even see her because of the tray table he built onto his dashboard.

A British woman says she’s lucky to be alive after the brakes on her bike failed during a steep descent on a 114-mile charity ride, sending her crashing into a rock.

British Prime Minister and Captain of the H.M.S. Brexit Boris Johnson says the naughtiest thing he’s ever done was ride a bike on the sidewalk. But London’s Mirror begs to differ, insisting Boris has done much worse — like using highly offensive racial slurs, for instance.

A new Austrian inner tube offers lower rolling resistance, combined with the kind of savings weight weenies could only dream of — if you’re wiling to pay the price.

An African photographer focuses his lens on Burundi’s bicycle taxi culture.

The best way to visit the Cypriot city of Nicosia is by bicycle, according to a local paper. Then again, that’s usually the best way to visit any city.

A visually impaired Japanese man can finally live his dream of racing with his wife after friends and family hand-built a lacquered bamboo and beech wood tandem they can ride together.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cyclist picks the cycling team of the decade; three of their eight picks are women — with Marianne Vos topping the list.

Eurosport considers the most controversial moments in the 2019 bike racing season.

Although maybe you’d prefer watching the top riders and their crazy bike handling skills seen below.

https://twitter.com/VelonCC/status/1202302881224896513?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1202302881224896513&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cyclingweekly.com%2Fnews%2Fracing%2Fwatch-velon-recap-shows-amazing-bike-handling-skills-pro-riders-443996

 

Finally…

When your stolen bike — and subsequently stealing it back — becomes the topic of a children’s book. If you spot a tempting bicycle sitting outside the sheriff’s office, just leave it alone, already.

And if you want to avoid ripping the skin off your penis, put some damn grips on your handlebars.

Assuming you have one, of course.

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Update: Man riding a bicycle killed by speeding driver in possible DTLA street racing crash

A man riding a bicycle is dead because a driver couldn’t keep his foot off the gas pedal.

And he may not have been the only one speeding.

According to KTLA-5, the crash occurred around 8:55 Thursday night on the 2100 block of South Alameda Street in Downtown Los Angeles.

Although earlier reports put the time of the crash closer to 8:30 pm.

The northbound driver lost control when he hit the railroad tracks and smashed into the victim at high speed, then slammed him into a utility pole.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was deemed beyond medical help when firefighters arrived, and died at the scene.

For once the driver stuck around. Probably because he was trapped inside his overturned car with minor injuries, and he had to be removed by the firefighters.

Witnesses reported that he was driving at least 50 mph before the crash, and appeared to be racing another driver.

Police took him into custody on suspicion of negligent manslaughter. Which sounds like the bare minimum he should be charged with.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD at 877/527-3247.

This is at least the 26th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; it’s also the sixth in the City of Los Angeles.

Update: The victim has been identified as 30-year old Manuel Gonzalez Hernandez, who was reportedly homeless. Which does not make this any less tragic, or minimize the severity of the crime in any way.  

The driver, who still has not been publicly identified, was driving on a suspended license. 

One more reminder that taking someone’s license away doesn’t always stop them from driving. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Manuel Gonzalez Hernandez and all his loved ones.

 

South LA man killed in possible street racing crash while riding his bike in Florence neighborhood

This morning we mentioned a breaking news report about a fatal crash between two drivers in South LA’s Florence neighborhood that may have involved two people on bicycles.

Sadly, our worst fears have bee confirmed, although several of the details were wrong.

According to multiple sources, 54-year old James Findley was killed when he was struck by a single driver around 10:35 pm at the intersection of 82nd Street and South Broadway in the Florence neighborhood of South LA.

The reports indicate Findley was riding on 82nd Street when he was run down by one of two drivers who were allegedly street racing north on Broadway.

That driver remained at the scene after crashing into several parked cars, while the other took off without stopping.

Findley was pronounced dead at the scene.

No other bike rider was involved in the crash, despite the presence of two badly mangled bicycles, as seen in this screen shot from the KNBC-4 broadcast, with one attached to a bike trailer.

Findley may have been ghost riding the other bicycle, which is where a person rides one bicycle while towing another riderless bike alongside.

It’s also possible that the second bike may only appear to be damaged, and could have been left by a bystander.

He was just a half block from the Florence home he shared with his sister, who heard the crash and immediately recognized his bike.

Findley is described as the second youngest out of nine brothers and sisters, and leaves behind an adult son.

According to KCBS-2, the driver who hit him admitted to street racing; however, that has not been confirmed by other sources. He was arrested on suspicion of gross negligence and vehicular manslaughter.

Police are searching for the missing motorist on a possible charge of hit-and-run. Drivers can be responsible for hit-and-run if they leave the scene after causing a crash, regardless of whether they were actually involved.

This is at least the seventh bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; it’s also the first in the city of Los Angeles.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for James Findley and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Steve S and Sindy Saito for the heads-up.

Weekend Links: Santa Ana bike rider injured in street racing crash, a close pass in Stanton, and Bike Events

A Santa Ana bike rider was seriously injured Thursday night, the victim of a driver who was allegedly street racing with another car.

Both drivers fled the scene.

However, 20-year old Christopher Carrasco was arrested about two hours later, after he was encouraged to turn himself in by family members; he was being held on $50,000 bail. Authorities are still looking for the other driver.

The victim was reportedly in stable condition after undergoing surgery Friday morning.

Some news reports have suggested the victim may have been riding without lights, and might have done something that contributed to the crash.

However, no matter what he may or may not have done, street racing is a serious crime with entirely foreseeable consequences, akin to firing a gun down a crowded street. It should not be up to the rest of the world to stay the hell out of the way of dangerous drivers exceeding the speed limit and putting everyone else at risk.

Thanks to Jeff Vaughn for the heads-up.

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Mike Wilkinson forwards video of a far too close pass in Stanton, which just happened to occur right next to the only parked car on the street.

He notes that, despite the perspective, he was riding outside the door zone. However, in the future, he plans to take the lane where the road narrows there.

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Let’s catch up on a few upcoming events.

Metro will be hosting a guided Halloween Metro Bike bikeshare ride around DTLA on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, Finish the Ride and Serious Cycling will host a free community ride in Agoura Hills.

The first three-day Revolution Bike Fest will take place on Orange County next weekend, with a full weekend of rides, music and beer.

revolution-bike-fest

If you find yourself jonesing for another ciclovía now that CicLAvia is done for the year, Long Beach hosts the next edition of their Beach Streets open streets event on November 12th.

nov-beach-streets

And the LACBC will host a discussion of traffic laws with representatives of the LAPD, LA County Sheriff’s Department and the CHP, along with BikinginLA Sponsor Jim Pocrass, on November 14th.

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British Cycling confirms allegations that the head of their bike racing program used inappropriate and discriminatory language in telling a female racer to go and have a baby after her contract wasn’t renewed.

Meanwhile, leaders of the program while face questions in front of Parliament over allegations of legal doping.

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Local

Representatives of a business group call for passing Measure M because voting no would cost LA County too much. Meanwhile, a writer for UCLA’s Daily Bruin says voters have an opportunity to move the city forward by voting yes on M.

Metro officially votes to expand the Metro Bike bikeshare to Venice, San Pedro/Wilmington and Pasadena, where it will focus on the last mile connection; next up is Central LA, followed by Hollywood and West Hollywood, which already has its own system. Meanwhile, UCLA’s bikeshare system will open next spring.

Speaking of West Hollywood, the city’s bikeshare system will be on lockdown Monday during the massive Halloween celebration.

CiclaValley says every lane is a horse poop lane when you’re following the LAPD’s mounted patrol through the bike lanes of Downtown.

 

State

Streetsblog looks at the challenges in Caltrans efforts to develop a statewide active transportation plan, as they seek the public’s input.

Santa Ana goes beyond Vision Zero with a plan to end traffic collisions, not just deaths, while giving the streets back to people.

San Diego’s KPBS looks forward to Sunday’s annual CicloSDias open streets event. Meanwhile, the city’s downtown library is now hosting a monthly free bike repair co-op.

A San Diego man gets two Cervelos worth $46,000 back after they were stolen, thanks to the sharp eye of a neighbor.

After allowing a previous DIY protected bike lane to stay in place, San Francisco’s transportation department wastes little time in removing the latest guerilla installation.

A pair of bike riders are Bay Area heroes, as one retrieves a lost purse left on a bus, and the other leaps off his bike to save the life of a truck driver who’d just been stabbed.

A Vallejo cop hit a bicyclist while looking for a burglary suspect; the rider allegedly went through a red light while wearing all black with no lights on his bike.

A Folsom restaurant owner is collecting funds from the meals he sells to support the family of an Afghan refugee killed by a distracted driver while riding with his son last year.

 

National

A new report reminds us that homeowners who fight bikeways are just shooting themselves in the foot. Or rather, in the pocketbook.

Robin Williams’ bicycle collection raised $600,000 for charity.

A new study ranks the Philadelphia area as the second best place to ride a bike, behind the Minneapolis area and ahead of New York; the LA/OC region checks in at 37.

A new protected bike lane and wider sidewalks have resulted in zero fatalities on New York’s infamous Boulevard of Death, even though local residents don’t like it.

A Maine newspaper says the state’s Complete Streets policy won’t improve safety on the streets unless people in the state push for it to be fully funded and implemented.

 

International

A new British Columbia study says slow down while riding in urban areas to avoid inhaling toxic air pollution; 9.3 mph is recommended as the ideal speed to avoid sucking in too much smog.

An 83-year old Canadian grandmother is on a mission to give bicycles to underprivileged children, saying every child deserves a bike.

A homeless man gets 16 months in jail for knocking a cross-dressing Englishman off his bicycle with a shopping bag.

British tennis star Heather Watson says she was knocked over and verbally abused by someone on a bicycle.

Caught on video: A British driver makes an unsafe pass, then cuts back into his lane just in time to avoid a truck — and barely misses an eight-year old girl.

An Irish newspaper recounts the history of bicycling on the Emerald Isle.

Caught on video too: A Polish cyclist is lucky to walk away without serious injuries after being hit head-on.

Innovative approaches to bicycling and walking are leading Africa to a greener future, where four countries are among the world’s most dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Impoverished Johannesburg residents question whether bike lanes are racist and classist, after the city painted them without telling anyone who they were for or how to use them.

Life is cheap in Singapore, where the driver of a cement mixer gets a whopping ten weeks behind bars for killing a woman on a bike by failing to look at a pedestrian crossing.

It only took three years and a Freedom of Information request to learn a road raging Minneapolis bike rider and bus driver were both assholes.

Caught in video tres: A Singapore woman repeatedly slaps an elderly bike rider, while claiming she just got out of prison.

 

Finally…

The definition of bad luck: Someone steals your bike just two days after your car was stolen. If you want a free gold-plated Colnago, all you have to do is get elected pope.

And seriously, no sexting behind the wheel.

 

Failed justice — alleged street racing killer of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado gets off with just 90 days in jail

Pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado, a victim of our streets. And our legal system.

Sorry Jorge.

America let you down.

Or more precisely, San Bernardino County let you down, along with a court system that inexplicably denied you the justice you deserved.

You came to this country to live out your dream of becoming a professional cyclist. We sent you back in a coffin, the victim of two then-high school students who couldn’t manage to keep their feet off the gas pedal.

And then let the driver who killed you off with the barest slap on the wrist, as if your all-to-brief life had no meaning or value.

Less time than he might have gotten for killing a dog, in fact.

A lot less.

It was over two years ago, in April, 2010, that you were riding on Greenspot Road in Highland, just north of San Bernardino, training for your new role as a rider for the Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team, founded by Compton’s own former national crit champion Raahsaan Bahati.

It was your big break.

A chance to prove yourself as a rising rider on a new pro team with a then-promising future.

You had no way of knowing, as you rode along that country road, that your dream would end at age 27, in the field on your right.

Maybe you reacted to those cars zooming towards you. driving far too fast. You probably saw one try to pass the other at around 80 mph, and watched in horror as the other driver cut hard to the left to keep him from passing. That sent the first car, driven by Patrick Roraff, back to the right, where he hit the shoulder and lost control, skidding across the road directly into you.

You probably hit your brakes and tried to swerve.

But it was too late.

At that speed, nothing you did or might have done would have made any difference.

I wonder if you muttered an obscenity as you saw the situation unfold. Or did you whisper one last prayer, or the name of a loved one just before the out-of-control car barreled into you, slamming you into the bushes on your right?

Were you aware of what was happening? Did you know you were dying there alone on the side of the road, thousands of miles from the people you loved?

Or did you slip mercifully into oblivion, a loss of consciousness masking the pain from your broken body?

The young men who took your life were arrested, and eventually, charged with your murder.

But that’s where the wheels of justice seemed to slowly slip off the tracks.

The long wait for charges to be filed combined with endless legal delays to push any promise of justice back time and again.

Meanwhile, Roraff and co-defendant Brett Michael Morin, who was driving the other car, were able to graduate from Redlands East Valley High School. And even with a pending homicide charge, Roraff remained the star of his high school soccer team, and went on to play soccer at the University of Redlands. Perhaps foreshadowing the leniency to come, the judge even gave permission for him to travel to Texas with his team.

God forbid that killing another person should be enough to negatively impact someone’s athletic career.

Even though yours ended that day at Roraff’s hands.

To be fair, he did say he was sorry.

It looked, ever so briefly, like you were going to get the justice you deserved when Patrick Roraff finally changed his plea to guilty. Given the seriousness of the charges — felony vehicular homicide with gross negligence and a serious felon enhancement — he should have faced serious prison time.

But he doesn’t.

Instead, the judge imposed a sentence that is far closer to a pat on the back than a slap on the wrist.

Roraff was sentenced on Monday to just 90 days in jail, with three years probation, along with community service.

Ninety lousy days. And probably a lot less than that, given this state’s over-crowded jails.

That’s less that three months for what was initially described as an illegal street race  — a felony in the state of California, by the way, for which neither driver was charged — resulting in a man’s death.

And let’s be clear. This was not an accident.

Your death was the entirely foreseeable consequence of a conscious decision to use two potentially deadly motor vehicles as oversized Hot Wheels toys.

You were just collateral damage.

The court used this case to send a message — that killing another human being while recklessly endangering the public is no big deal.

So go ahead and do whatever the hell you want on the roads, because there won’t be any serious consequences.

Especially if you have athletic skills, evidently.

They might as well have thrown Roraff a party for decreasing the excess cyclist population in the county.

It matters.

Not just because you were denied the justice you so richly deserved. But because cyclists are vulnerable on the streets, subject to the whims and careless actions of those with whom we share them.

It’s the protection we receive from the police and courts — or don’t — that dictates whether those streets will be survivable. And on that count, this court failed us miserably, putting every cyclist at greater risk.

Maybe Roraff is deserving of a second chance. But by failing to give him the sort of sentence his crime called for, the legal system missed an opportunity to show things like this can’t, and won’t, be tolerated.

And making it that much more likely that it will happen again.

There’s no word on when Roraff will begin his sentence.

It’s possible that his jail time may be delayed so he can compete again this season. If not, he’ll do his time, and be free to play again; maybe even transferring to a larger school now that this is no longer hanging over his head.

Why he received this gift from the court, I have no idea. I could speculate, but it would be nothing but a guess.

And not a pretty one, at that.

The sudden guilty plea suggests that this may have been a plea bargain. If so, I would question whether any District Attorney who signed off on a deal like this is fit to remain in office.

If not, I hope local voters will keep this case in mind when the judge comes up for reelection.

And why Roraff’s co-defendant continues to fight his charges when he could get a sweet deal like this is beyond me.

Maybe he’s not a star athlete.

To say I’m disgusted is to put it mildly.

I’m sorry, Jorge Alvarado.

We failed you.

You deserved better. You deserved justice.

But like far too many people who needlessly die while riding a bike, you’re not going to get it.

And absolutely nothing about this case will keep it from happening again.

……..

Update: Cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels fills in some of the blanks in this case.

According to information on the website for the San Bernardino County Superior Court, the sentence was imposed by judge William Jefferson Powell, who was appointed to the court by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.

Roraff was sentenced to 90 days in county jail, and taken into custody immediately after the hearing. Which means he should be back on the streets by early November at the latest, followed by three years of supervised probation; the judge also ordered his license revoked for a period to be determined by the DMV. 

And Roraff was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, half of which must involve discussion of the dangers of reckless driving. 

The terms of his probation also prohibit the possession of deadly weapons; in his case, maybe that should include motor vehicles.

Drunken street racers critically injure Apple Valley cyclist; both drivers under arrest

In a case tragically reminiscent of the street racing death of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado, an Apple Valley cyclist has been critically injured after getting struck by a drunken street racer.

According to the Victorville Daily Press, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding on the north shoulder of Bear Valley Road near Algonquin Road around 2:50 pm Sunday. A car came off a dirt road and hit the rider, seriously injuring him; an aerial view shows several dirt roads in the immediate area.

Witnesses report that two drivers had been racing when the rider got caught between them; both were arrested for driving under the influence causing injury.

At last report, the victim was still in critical condition after being airlifted to a hospital.

My prayers to for the cyclist for a full and fast recovery.

Thanks to Dj Wheels for the heads-up.

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