Tag Archive for street racing

Day one of Scarpa murder trial, tell LA to stop street racing and loud engines, and CHP responsible for East LA hit-and-run

Our anonymous Orange County correspondent is back to cover this week’s trial of Stephen Taylor Scarpa for murder.

Scarpa allegedly ran down popular Costa Mesa fire captain and father Mike Kreza in a drug-fueled crash three years ago, as Kreza was riding a bicycle in Mission Viejo to train for a triathlon.

Here’s what she had to say about the lead-up to the long-delayed trial.

Stephen Taylor Scarpa‘s jury trial starts on Monday. So far, Judge Patrick Donahue has decided to allow the video of Scarpa’s participation in his high school’s “Every 15 Minutes” event, as well as testimony from fellow personnel of the rehab centers he worked at. The People’s exhibits will probably also include the DMV’s letter of license revocation and a diagram (but no photographs) of the victim’s many injuries.

Since Scarpa has a long-standing association with drugs, his medical records might be presented as well. The judge finds that this is not in violation of HIPAA. Despite the lack of a previous arrest for DUI, there is sooo much other evidence, strong evidence, that Scarpa knew the dangers of impaired driving, the DA might not even bother to present these records. Scarpa had jaw-dropping levels of assorted drugs in his system, and his blood was not drawn until 4 hours after the collision.

His Honor has forbidden Kreza’s fellow firefighters to attend the trial in full uniform, and friends & family will not be allowed to wear clothing or badges with the deceased’s likeness. I am sorely tempted to get a T-shirt printed up with “It’s about time” in bold letters, because according to the arresting officer, these were Scarpa’s words as the handcuffs were slapped on.

And this is how she reported on the first day of public testimony in the trial.

Oh, man, I’m not hopeful.

The Scarpa trial began Monday morning. Deputy DA Michael Feldman began opening statements by thanking the victim’s friends and family for coming. As stipulated by the judge, no uniformed firefighters were present inside the courtroom. But they were out in the hallway to provide support for the widow and other family members. There was no mention that Mr. Kreza himself had been a firefighter.

In a PowerPoint presentation bannered by the misspelled name of the defendant, Mr. Feldman tersely listed the basic facts that support the People’s charge, among them Scarpa’s participation in his high school’s “Every 15 Minutes” program, his rehab stints, and his employment as a behavioral health technician. “He’s gonna be the one to tell you first hand,” insisted Mr. Feldman, pointing at the defendant, that he was aware of the dangers and consequences of impaired driving. To this end, the People played audio files of the interrogation, in which Mr. Scarpa tells the investigating deputy, “I do it, but I don’t condone it,” a tacit and unambiguous confession. Mr. Scarpa clutched tissues as the DA played his confession that he’d driven impaired with his own young daughter in the car.

Feldman then went on to use the word “accident” several times during his opening statement. AUUUUURGH. That is the entire premise of the defense. It’s almost like he’s trying to hand Mr. Scarpa an acquittal with a big red shiny bow.

Mr. Lowenstein, for the Defense, insisted that the collision had been an “accident,” and that Mr. Scarpa’s actions did not meet the legal definition of implied malice. He stated that the prescription drugs found in Scarpa’s system do not, as opposed to Feldman’s assertion, have warning stickers telling users not to drive. The defense asked whether Scarpa acted with “conscious disregard” (without underscoring the impossibility because Scarpa was, in fact, unconscious at the time of impact).

The Defense told the jury that Scarpa, though drugged up after a party, drove approximately 25 miles without incident, and there was no evidence that he was speeding. He went on to loftily praise Scarpa’s parking (“snug against the curb”!) after the collision, and reiterated several times that he did not attempt to flee afterwards. The collision was merely “a split second in time, a miscalculation, a perfect storm of events.”  Scarpa’s temporary inattention, “a fraction of a second,” and impaired state led to “a perfect storm of events.” (Lowenstein also mentioned something about a perfect storm of events.)

Both Feldman and Lowenstein brought up the words Mr. Scarpa uttered upon his official arrest: “It’s about time.” The People assert that this indicated Mr. Scarpa’s acceptance of a long-anticipated outcome. The Defense suggested that Mr. Scarpa had been expecting an arrest only for the duration of his lengthy interrogation.

First to testify was widow Shana Kreza, who identified a photo of her late husband, and briefly described the family’s Saturday morning, getting ready for their daughter’s soccer game. Mr. Kreza had left on his bicycle, but never arrived at the soccer field.

Next on the witness stand was the first responding officer, who described taking initial command of the scene, Mr. Kreza’s broken body, the agitation of the suspect, and the actions of the Good Samaritans.

The next two witnesses had been in the car behind Scarpa. Ragan Hill and her nephew, Cage Morgan, were putting up garage sale signs in the neighborhood. Hill saw Scarpa’s minivan leave the roadway. As it took out shrubs and saplings on the embankment to the right of the sidewalk (where Kreza was riding his bicycle, despite the adjacent bike lane), she saw a body fly off the top of the minivan.

Morgan described his aunt yell, “Oh my god, look at that car!” He diverted his attention from his phone to see Scarpa’s minivan returning to the roadway, with a trailing cloud of debris. He watched as a man fell off the minivan’s roof onto the road. Hill hit the brakes, stopping about 5-10 feet from Kreza’s prone, bloody body. Morgan called 911, and both exited the vehicle to assist.

Scarpa had parked by the curb and exited his minivan as well, but didn’t approach his victim or the witnesses. Instead, he sat on the curb, fidgeting. “My first thought,” testified Hill, “was that he was impaired.”

Both Hill and Morgan described the same aspects of the scene: Scarpa’s agitation, Kreza’s bone sticking out of his lower leg. Morgan was afraid to initiate CPR, fearing it would exacerbate Kreza’s injuries. Because Morgan was unsure the collision was accidental and did not know whether Scarpa was dangerous, he didn’t approach the suspect, but gestured questioningly from a distance, with palms up. He kept an eye on Scarpa, who appeared disoriented, because “I was afraid he would flee the scene.”

Deputy Christian Servin was called to the scene to perform a field sobriety test. He first approached the twitchy suspect and asked what was going on. He was apprehensive about asking Scarpa to perform some of the physical field sobriety testing tasks because his lack of balance and coordination might subject him to falls. Deputy Servin’s search found six 800mg gabapentin pills on Scarpa’s person, and Scarpa confirmed he had no prescription. Though Servin had difficulty with communication because Scarpa was “in and out” of it, he was able to determine that Scarpa had not slept for two days, had smoked .25g of meth 36 hours prior, had fresh tracks from injecting a fentanyl/meth mixture, had taken Suboxone at a party that morning, and had taken lorazepam. Scarpa stated that he had no medical conditions, and (and) that he was under a doctor’s care. (This doctor, perhaps?) Scarpa also stated he knew he should not have been driving, because he was “upset,” and he believed that he had crashed into a tree and several people.

At this point, court recessed for lunch, and I had to split ’cause I have graveyard shifts, but I’m all free for Day 2.

Meanwhile, the Daily Pilot says the case will hinge on intent, and whether Scarpa intentionally committed the act that resulted in Kreza’s death.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

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Our anonymous correspondent also added this note.

EMT students are required to attend one rotation in a hospital emergency department. I did this.

The morning started off slow, and the nurses had zero interest in talking with me, so I poked my head into an exam room and announced to the patient that I was there to check her vitals. She consented and while I took her pulse, I asked what brought her to the ER. She stated that she had passed out while making a left turn (in a major intersection, btw) and had crashed into a fire hydrant. I sympathized with her awful morning, and then asked what she’d had for breakfast. Nothing. I suggested that it was always a good idea to fuel up to start your day. Then I asked whether she was on any medications. She had taken a prescription narcotic analgesic before she took her kids to school. “And you drove?” She confirmed this. I informed her that it was dangerous to drive under the influence, and her pill bottle even had a warning sticker added to the prescription label. She insisted there was no such warning, so we pulled the bottle out of her purse to look at it.

I read the warning out loud: “Do not operate heavy machinery.”

She protested, with frustration at my stupidity, “I wasn’t operating heavy machinery. I was just driving my car.”

(Ed. note: Because evidently multi-ton cars aren’t, well, you know…)

There are warnings of “Don’t drive until you know how this drug affects you,” even though said drug impairs your cognitive abilities such that you cannot ascertain how the drug impairs you. In the absence of quantification and/or memory, your brain just lies to you: “Everything’s fine.”

Why appropriate phrasing hasn’t been legislated, I don’t know.

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Streets For All is urging you to take action to support a couple of motions on the agenda for this afternoon’s meeting of the LA City Council Public Safety Committee.

Make your voice heard on two key issues this week.

There are two key issues being considered this week at City of Los Angeles Public Safety Committee.

1 – The first (Council File 21-0870) is a motion at the Public Safety Committee to consider re-designing streets to prevent illegal street racing. As much as we fight for lower speed limits, the best way to slow cars down is by redesigning streets all together.

2 – The second (Council File 20-1267) is a motion to reduce illegal exhaust noise in the City of Los Angeles. Modified mufflers disturb the peace and evenincrease our stress hormones and risk of heart disease. While we don’t want more armed officers doing traffic stops, we can solve this by clamping down on the shops that make these illegal modifications.

Here’s how you can help in 2 easy steps:

1) Make public comment using the council file system

If you are unable to make live public comment, the next best thing is writing a message in the council file management system. We have made this easy with a pre-filled template and links.

MAKE PUBLIC COMMENT IN ADVANCE

2) Make public comment live at the committee meetings

The Public Safety Committee is on Wednesday, September 1, at 330pm. Here is the agenda. Call into this meeting to comment on the re-designing streets to curb racing and the illegal exhaust noise issue.

CALL IN INSTRUCTIONS + TALKING POINTS

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Speaking of Streets For All, the political nonprofit is calling on you to fill a vacancy in your local Neighborhood Council if you live in any of the following areas.

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In a Twitter thread, the LACBC calls for accountability from the CHP for the hit-and-run that injured a 14-year old boy in East LA over two months ago.

Despite catching the crash on video, and multiple news reports, they’ve apparently done nothing to hold the officer responsible, or compensate the bike-riding boy for his injuries.

Click on the tweets for the full thread.

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This is who we share the road with.

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

Utah’s Zion National Park is looking for public input on new bike and ebike regulations that would allow bikes in groups of no more than six spread at least a quarter-mile apart, require riders to pull off to the side of the road for buses, and have a bell on your bike to warn people and wildlife. Because everyone knows cougars, skunks and bighorn sheep will politely move aside to let you pass if they hear the dulcet tones of a bike bell announce your presence.

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

San Diego authorities are looking for a bike-riding arsonist who set a series of small fires in the city’s North Park neighborhood earlier this month.

Probably not the best idea to leave a “sanctimonious, passive-aggressive” note on a Portland driver’s car calling out the expired plates, and suggesting they get rid of it and start riding a bicycle.

Police in Lincoln, Nebraska busted a man who stabbed another man in the back in a dispute over an alleged stolen bicycle, then tried to break into an apartment using lock pick tools.

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Local

Bloomberg considers UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup’s call to stop subsidizing drivers at the expense of everyone else, arguing that free parking is killing our cities.

Monrovia’s new “Biking for Bucks” program promises to reimburse people who live or work in the city up to $350 for the purchase of bikes and ebikes, whether for adults or children, as well as bicycle accessories, purchased between July 1st and September 30th of this year. So start shopping, already.

Active SGV teamed with Alhambra and SCAG to install a new popup bike lane, high viz crosswalks and curb extensions on Popular Boulevard in the city to gather public feedback. But hurry of you want to check ’em out, because they’ll be gone this time next week.

 

State

LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds teams with San Francisco Transportation Director Jeffrey Tumlin to pen an op-ed for CalMatters in support of AB 43, arguing that speeding drivers should not set speed limits.

 

National

It looks like Outside and VeloNews are joining Bicycling in hiding their stories behind a draconian paywall, on the mistaken assumption that preventing people from reading them will make more people want to. However, unlike Bicycling, the Outside and VeloNews stories don’t appear to be available on Yahoo.

Schwinn’s new I Am A Cyclist ad campaign focuses on marginalized members of the bicycling community to show what kind of people really ride bicycles.

Consumer Reports explains the steps they take to rate bike helmets, while InsideHook looks at the best commuter bike helmets for people who hate to wear one that won’t make you look like a total dork.

Best Buy is jumping head first into the ebike business by selling ebikes, e-scooters, mopeds and electric dirt bikes on their website, as well as in some stores.

A writer for Shape raves that her new Rad Power bike actually makes her comment enjoyable. And no, Best Buy doesn’t sell it.

Police in Colorado are looking for a hit-and-run driver who abandoned his SUV, then fled on foot before stealing a bicycle from a nearby school to make his getaway.

This is who we share the road with, part two. South Dakota’s killer Attorney General was hit with yet another speeding ticket — his seventh in seven years — just days before he was scheduled to go on trial for the hit-and-run death of a pedestrian while on his way home from a fundraiser last year. Yet he’s still allowed to stay on the roads to kill someone else, never mind that the $177.50 fine for a simple speeding ticket is nearly a fifth of what he was fined for actually killing someone.

A new Illinois law will require the state to pick up 100% of the costs for bicycle and walking infrastructure on state roadways; the state had previously required the local community to pay 20%.

A four-year old Michigan girl is able to ride a bicycle for the first time, after a fundraiser brings in enough to buy her an adaptive bike, and cover the cost to buy a bike for someone else, too.

Like drivers everywhere, motorists in Dayton, Ohio seem to have trouble figuring out how the city’s new parking protected bike lanes are supposed to work, parking in the bike lane next to the curb while leaving the parking lane empty.

 

International

Wired says Covid-19 means it’s finally time for the 15-minute city, where living, shopping and work are all within walking distance in the same neighborhood. Unless you live in Los Angeles, that is, where city leaders seem to be firmly committed to keeping everything within an hour and a half drive. Except at rush hour, of course.

Bosch says their new upgrades to ebike batteries and motors promise to make your new ebike ride smarter and farther.

Probably not the best idea to try to steal a bike from inside a British police station.

Life is cheap in Australia, where a driver was sentenced to seven years for the meth-fueled hit-and-run that seriously injured five bike riders last year — but with time served, he’ll be eligible for parole in less than a year.

 

Competitive Cycling

Twenty-year old American cyclist Quinn Simmons refuses to limit his options, dividing his plans for next year between the WorldTour and American gravel races.

Red Bull talks with two-time European mountain bike champ Lars Forster about how he went from riding with his dad to riding with, and beating, the world’s best.

 

Finally…

When your status in the local bicycling community hinges on finding the right bike basket. Get your very own bicycle umbrella for your next rainy ride.

And you’ll have to wait another year for a zombie bike ride in Key West.

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

Street racing drivers walk in death of bike rider, video of fatal North Hills hit-and-run, and killer Lambo driver’s dad says sorry

Apparently, life is still cheap in the Inland Empire.

It was nearly eleven years ago that Jorge Alvarado was fatally run down in San Bernardino County by a teenager who was allegedly street racing.

Sadly, the life of a Mexican immigrant who came to this country to fulfill his dream of becoming a pro cyclist didn’t seem to matter compared to that of the politically connected high school student who ended his.

His killer got away with just 90 days behind bars, and went on to play college soccer, thanks to a judge and DA who didn’t seem to want to jeopardize a promising young life just because he carelessly snuffed out another.

Now another judge, in nearby Riverside County, said hold my beer, and let a second pair of killer road-racing drivers walk without a single day behind bars.

According to KESQ-3 — and an identical story on Patch — Luis Armando Castaneda and Alex Isidro Quiroz pled guilty to a single count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the death of popular Coachella Valley bicyclist William Campbell in 2018.

The drivers, both in their early 20s, were allegedly street racing when Quiroz swerved into the Cathedral City bike lane Campbell was riding in, sending him cartwheeling 150 feet through the air in what was initially reported as a case of road rage.

Never mind that neither driver seemed to think the crash was worth sticking around for afterwards.

For reasons known only to them, Riverside County prosecutors alleged it was a case of hit-and-run, but never bothered to file the appropriate charges for fleeing the scene.

Which allowed both men to walk with just two years probation and 180 days work release, courtesy of an overly lenient judge.

But at least they won’t be allowed to drive for those two years.

And in a case of poetic, if not actual, justice, they’ll have to complete 180 hours of community service building bike paths in the Coachella Valley.

None of which will bring Campbell back to his friends and loved ones.

And all of which should serve as a warning to bike riders not to expect anything resembling justice in the Inland Empire.

Thanks to Victor Bale and Phillip Young for the heads-up.

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The LAPD released security cam video of the hit-and-run crash that took the life of an unhoused LA resident riding his bike in North Hills early Saturday morning.

Israel Ovando Vera was riding in a crosswalk at Sepulveda and Roscoe Blvds when he was run down by the driver of a 2007-2011 Toyota Camry at 4:20 am.

The video shows him crossing with the light, with his killer appearing to turn left off Sepulveda directly into him, then continuing on without stopping.

Regardless of what investigators originally implied about Vera possibly riding the wrong way, he clearly rode off the sidewalk into the crosswalk.

And there’s no right or wrong way on either one.

The actual impact on this video is hidden by a car stopped waiting for the light. But as always, be sure you really want to see it before you click play.

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On Tuesday, we reposted a comment from a Reddit user accusing a wealthy father of using his money and influence to protect his Lamborghini-driving son, who was allegedly driving at a high rate of speed when he slammed into a woman’s car in LA’s Westwood neighborhood last month.

Today, we finally heard from the boy’s father.

Thirty-two-year old Monique Munoz died when her car was totaled by the 17-year old driver; her father questioned why anyone would trust someone so young with a sports car capable of doing 190 mph.

The teen was arrested on on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter six days after the collision, but he has yet to be charged in the case.

His father, James Khuri, released this statement on Instagram yesterday.

“I am aware that the time it has taken me to communicate this has caused further pain for everyone affected. Knowing that this will never do justice for the family of Monique Munoz, I want to apologize to the Munoz family for the tragic loss of their daughter. There are no words I can say to alleviate the pain that you are experiencing. And I realize none of my words or actions will be able to bring back your daughter.

Still, I want to offer my support in any way you will allow me to. My family and I pray for the Munoz family.”

He certainly said the right things. But what happens next will tell how sincere he really is.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the tip.

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This is who we share the road with.

Many Angelenos watched in horror on Tuesday — myself included — as a rampaging driver attempted to evade police while deliberately smashing into other freeway drivers in a vain attempt to escape capture.

Making matters worse, after an hours-long standoff in which sheriff’s deputies fired numerous pepper balls into the car, a door finally opened, only to see the woman’s nine-year old daughter ran to the safety of a deputy deployed nearby.

Which raises the question of what kind of mother would do any of that with her child in the car, let alone what kind of driver.

Thanks to Larry Kawalec for the link.

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Stop wasting parking lots on cars.

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Why settle for a Slow Street when it can be an art exhibit, too?

https://twitter.com/sfchronicle/status/1368108868967006208

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Nope. No one’s whispered a word of this in the followup to Megan and Harry’s little confab with Oprah.

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

A British man complains about “brainless” bicyclists riding through the supposedly bike-free town center after experiencing a couple of near misses.

A woman from the UK complains about antisocial and unempathetic behavior from bicyclists after she was thrown from her horse when it was struck by a group of trail riders, causing the animal to leap over a hedge and a barbed wire fence.

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Local

The Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council will discuss a proposal for a pedestrian plaza on 6th Street between Normandie and Vermont at tonight’s virtual meeting.

Santa Monica is fighting the trend of bike-banning Orange County beach cities by approving the use of ebikes on the beach bike path; the city is also requesting bids for a second shared mobility provider.

 

State

The San Diego Bike Coalition is kicking off their annual bike scavenger hunt this Saturday.

A San Diego columnist says biking to school is the traffic solution we can no longer ignore.

A Ceres columnist tells a roundabout tale of how riding his bike to rummage through people’s discarded trash led to a career in journalism.

 

National

Popular Science chips in with their recommendations on the best ways to store your bikes.

Evidently, cheap is a relative thing. Bicycling says a new aluminum frame bike from a French sporting goods store’s house brand is a “cheap, no-frills roadie.” Which is probably true, if your idea of cheap is $1,500, although some would seem to disagree. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

A Las Vegas man faces charges for the alleged drunken hit-and-run death of a 60-year old bike rider after a witness followed him to get the car’s license number.

Great idea. A Wichita Falls, Texas bike advocacy group is hosting a seed bomb ride, where participants will ride to selected locations and toss a bundle of wild flower seeds.

A Massachusetts man can thank a dog for saving his life, after he fell through the ice while trying to ride his bike across a frozen pond.

New York bike riders take matters into their own hands after getting fed up with the state of the city’s bike lanes, and organize their own clean up of one in Williamsburg.

A year after New York Mayor De Blasio told Gotham residents to walk or bike to work, the answer to what did he do to make that safer and more convenient is, not much.

More proof that Vision Zero works if you actually implement it, as the mayor of Hoboken NJ says the streets are safer for bike riders, pedestrians and motorists as a result.

Florida considers a bill that would legalize riding a bike without a seat, but only if was originally built that way.

 

International

No, don’t use standard WD40 on your bike chain.

How to keep your road kit from turning into a bio hazard.

Vancouver makes a half-hearted commitment to return the park bike lane they ripped out a year ago, but only on a temporary, popup basis.

Motor vehicle traffic and collisions plummeted in Vancouver during the early days of the pandemic, while bicycling rates soared to as many as 10,000 riders a day on popup bike lanes. Which is exactly what Los Angeles has missed out on by failing to install any.

A Dutch website explains the sometimes confusing logic behind the country’s bike friendly street designs.

The bike boom has even hit the already booming Netherlands, where bicycle sales have soared during the pandemic.

Chinese dockless bikeshare giant Hello is preparing for an American IPO, reportedly in an effort to raise a whopping $1 billion.

An aspiring ballet and opera conductor is working as a Singapore bicycle delivery rider after the pandemic forced him to temporarily set aside his musical dreams.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Tips says keep an eye on 21-year old Belgian cyclist Mauri Vansevenan this season.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you buy a bike online, and the dealer says you can’t take it because you’re too fat. If you’re thinking of getting a bicycle tattoo on your chest using nipples for wheels, just…don’t.

And if a worker from a sporting goods store takes back the $4,000 bike you just stole, go back the next night and steal a $5,500 one.

And a grab a pair of helmets while you’re at it.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a damn mask, already. 

Injured Encinitas bike advocate wins $11 million settlement, SaMo crashes drop 50%, and boring street racers into quitting

It’s the very definition of tragic irony.

In December of 2018, the executive director of advocacy group Cardiff 101 Main Street was run down by a driver while riding her bike on the sharrows on the North Coast Highway in the Leucadia neighborhood of Encinitas.

Exactly where she had long fought for safety improvements, including a road diet and bike lanes.

Roberta Walker, a longtime bike and pedestrian advocate, and former professional snowboarder, suffered multiple catastrophic injuries that left her survival in doubt for some time after she was placed in a medically induced coma.

This week, she settled a lawsuit with Encinitas for a whopping $11 million to cover past and future medical expenses, as well as what will likely be years, if not a lifetime, of rehab.

Although something tells me she’d gladly give up every penny to avoid those injuries and have her old life back.

Her lawyer argued that the sharrows were a dangerous condition of public property and a direct cause of the crash, in which she was run down from behind by a pickup driver.

Which, sadly, is about as good a description as any for far too many sharrows.

Thankfully, that won’t be a problem much longer.

The long-awaited project began preliminary construction activities last month and features traffic calming measures, buffered bike lanes, raised medians, roundabouts and enhanced crosswalks.

“One profound irony of this accident is that Ms. Walker herself had advocated for a dedicated bike lane in multiple City Council meetings,” (plaintiffs’ attorney Ed) Susolik said.

There’s no word on whether the driver ever faced charges.

Or even got a ticket for nearly killing someone riding legally, exactly where she was supposed to be.

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Santa Monica saw a 50% drop in traffic collisions over the last year as more people stayed home during the pandemic, and a 70% reduction in drunk driving due to the closure of restaurants and bars.

The city also repurposed street parking for al fresco restaurant dining, and built another 18 miles of protected bike lanes — which equals half of all the bike lanes built in Los Angeles in the 2019/2020 fiscal year, despite being just a tiny fraction of LA’s size.

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Apparently, the Burbank Police Department plans to bore street racers into giving it up.

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Today’s common theme is a host of new bikes, e- and otherwise.

Who wouldn’t want an ebike inspired by the legendary Caroll Shelby?

When you need your powerful ebike camouflaged for hunting.

A 24-year old Irishman created a new ebike designed to replace your car, and turned to Vietnam for manufacturing.

Or maybe you’d rather have a cross between a teeny tiny car and a throttle controlled adult e-tricycle.

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

After London cop carelessly cut off a bike rider, the officer made a U-turn and came back — to lecture the guy on the bike.

It’s a sad commentary when even carfree British streets aren’t.

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

Tragic news from the UK, where a bike rider is on trial for allegedly jumping a red light and slamming into a 73-year old man walking home from work; the victim died days later as a result of severe brain injuries suffered in the crash; bicyclist turned himself in after initially fleeing the scene. Yet another reminder that pedestrians are the only people on the street who are more vulnerable than we are. So ride carefully around them, dammit. And stick around after a crash. 

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Local

LADOT is planning safety improvements to a 1.2 mile segment of San Vicente Blvd east of Beverly Hills when the street is scheduled to be repaved this June; options include a separated or parking protected bike lane.

Metro is hosting a virtual bike repair and flat fixing class this Saturday.

 

State

A San Diego bike rider was lucky to survive when he swerved suddenly to avoid a garbage truck in a parking lot, and was impaled through the neck and jaw by a hook hanging from the front of a pickup.

UC Santa Barbara talks with geography professor Trisalyn Nelson, who created BikeMaps to allow bike riders to report trouble spots after yet another too-close call on her bike.

Authorities identified the victim of Saturday’s Turlock hit-and-run as a 44-year old Turlock man; police are looking for the driver of a charcoal gray Mercedes sedan with visible damage to the front and/or side.

Streetsblog is looking for freelance help in San Francisco.

A Gold Country bike columnist says unless you make a living on it, your bike is a toy, so have fun on it. Evidently, he’s never heard of bike commuting or transportation riding. Which doesn’t mean he’s not right about the fun part.

 

National

The Verge looks at the growing DIY ebike movement, citing the birth of Rad Power Bikes as a prime example.

Tragic news from Phoenix, where a 22-year old man was collateral damage when a shootout erupted between a group of people standing in a field as he was riding by on his bike.

It may be illegal to park in a Houston bike lane now, but that doesn’t mean it actually stops anyone.

Chicago’s Goose Island beer is marking the release of their new 312 Lemonade Shandy by giving away new bicycles to anyone who can find one of 50 giant lemons hidden throughout the city on — you guessed it — March 12th, aka 3-12. And they make damn good beer, too.

The bike shortage induced by the bike boom induced by the pandemic has made its way to Bowling Green KY, home to the fighting WKU Hilltoppers.

Armed robbers are targeting New York delivery riders to steal the expensive ebikes they need to do their jobs.

 

International

The family of British motorcyclist Harry Dunn say they’re offended by an offer from American spy Anne Sacoolas to do community service for the wrong way hit-and-run that took his life, after she claimed diplomatic immunity to flee the country. Although you have to wonder about American intelligence services if they can’t figure out that Brits drive on the other side of the road.

A bike chain in the UK is facing well-deserved criticism for laying off 300 workers and shifting the rest to zero guaranteed hour contracts in an effort to slash costs, despite booming business from the bike boom.

 

Competitive Cycling

Vincenzo Nibali, who should know, says turn off those bike computers and power meters during a race and ride on instinct, like Strade Bianche winner Mathieu van der Poel.

Rouleur previews the upcoming Giro, the first of the three Grand Tours.

 

Finally…

Business up front, party in the back — a DIY mountain bike with a mullet. That feeling when the cops have you dead to rights for stealing a bike from a disabled person, and you somehow think you can do better in front of a jury.

And when you want to learn how to make a bicycle, among other things.

In Japanese.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a damn mask, already. 

2nd driver charged in double hit-and-run death of two young brothers, and US bike deaths may have dropped in 2020

One quick note before we get started.

Almost a year ago, just before the world went to hell, the LA Times did a story about the foster corgi we took in to help a homeless man get back on his feet. 

This weekend they did a followup story, with an update how man and dog are doing and the ripple effect it had on everyone, my wife and I included. 

Along with the corgi puppy we adopted last summer. 

………

The other shoe finally dropped.

A full month after 57-year old Grossman Burn Foundation co-founder Rebecca Grossman was charged with murder and vehicular manslaughter for killing a pair of young brothers in an alleged drunken street race last September, the other driver has finally been arrested.

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Scott Erickson was inexplicably charged with a single count of misdemeanor reckless driving, despite allegedly contributing to the deaths of the two young boys.

And despite the allegation of street racing.

Eleven-year old Mark Iskander and his eight-year old brother Jacob were crossing the street with their parents in a marked and well-lighted crosswalk when they were run down, one on his bicycle and the other on a scooter.

It easily could have been worse. Their parents were able to jump back with the boys’ younger siblings at the last second, barely sparing the family from being wiped out entirely.

And yet the 51-year old Erickson, who had a one-year stint with the Dodgers, faces a single lousy count of misdemeanor reckless driving.

Did I mention that both drivers are in their 50s, and should have effing known better?

Maybe prosecutors can explain their charging decision in this one, because it doesn’t make a damn bit of sense to me.

………

The good news is bicycling deaths may — repeat, may — have dropped last year, from an obscene 857 in 2018, and 846 in 2019, to 697 last year.

So says Outside Magazine, which tracked every bike rider killed in the US last year, much like I’ve been tracking Southern California bicycling deaths for the last decade.

Or rather, all the deaths they’re aware of; there are undoubtedly more that never crossed their radar, for whatever reason.

Of those, slightly more than 80% were men, and over a quarter of the victims were killed in hit-and-runs.

No surprise on either count. Especially not the latter, which tracks very closely with what we’ve seen here in Southern California.

And sadly, no surprise that far too many of those deaths occurred here in California.

Louisiana, New York, California, Florida, and Texas were the five deadliest states for cyclists in terms of total fatalities. The latter three have been the most deadly states for cyclists for years, and New York’s fatalities have been on the rise as well—in 2019, it reported 46 cyclist deaths, with 29 in New York City alone. While these three states are also the most populous in the country, Florida and California have among the most cycling deaths per million people, as well. And Louisiana recorded 7.3 cycling deaths per million people, the most of any state. Louisiana’s total fatal crash numbers have remained in the twenties and thirties for the past five years, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

No surprise that those deaths may have been driven in part by last year’s bike boom, either.

Though it’s too early to be certain, the cycling boom that took place after the COVID-19 lockdown orders may have contributed to the summer death rate. From January through November, $4.9 billion worth of bikes were sold in the U.S., according to the NPD Group. In Los Angeles and Houston alone, Strava found approximately a 100 percent increase in cycling trips in both cities in May 2020 compared to May 2019. More cyclists on the road seemed to correlate with more people on bikes being killed by drivers.

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Harrison Ford is one of us, as the once and future Indiana Jones star has a bike rack installed on his car for his new bicycle at the Santa Monica Helen’s.

New Bollywood sensation — and former porn star — Sunny Leone is one us, too, riding bikes with her husband and kids in Los Angeles before returning to India.

And new mother Katie Perry is still one of us, as is her fiancee Orlando Bloom, as they ride together in Santa Barbara.

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Consider this your periodic reminder that Bike Index works.

And it’s free. So what the hell are you waiting for?

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Mountain biking though a NorCal burn zone.

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Think you’ve got mountain bike skills? Trying riding downhill on a kid’s bike.

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GCN considers how to get your confidence back after a crash.

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

Just days after a Portland driver killed one woman and injured at least ten others in a 15-block rampage, another driver intentionally ran down a delivery rider; fortunately, this victim was able to bounce back up.

You’ve got to be kidding. Life is cheap in the UK, where a road raging driver was fined the equivalent of a lousy $549 for a fist-shaking punishment pass that caused a 68-year old man to fall off his bike, suffering life-changing injuries. But hey, at least he won’t be able to drive for a whole six months.

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

Santa Cruz police are looking for a bike-riding man who allegedly battered a motorist in an unprovoked attack. Although something tells me that unprovoked attack wasn’t.

A Dublin, Ireland bike rider suffered a severely lacerated face when a delivery rider cut him off, forcing him into a glass bus shelter.

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Local

Noticing the explosive growth in ebike usage during the pandemic, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach respond by cracking down on scofflaw ebike riders who are apparently terrorizing the local populace, on and off the beachfront Strand. Thanks to Margaret for the heads-up.

You only have until 3 pm today to urge Culver City to approve new bus and bike lanes, over the objections of local traffic NIMBYs.

 

State

Streetsblog talks with new California Assembly Transportation Chair Laura Friedman, including about her efforts to allow local communities to lower speed limits.

A kindhearted Santa Ana cop gives a pair of bike helmets to two young boys after they stopped her to ask if they had to wear one; she correctly noted that California law requires bike helmets for any bike riders under 18.

Carlsbad police busted a suspected drunken hit-and-run driver who ran down a bike-riding woman from Arizona; at last report, the 65-year old woman was unconscious with serious injuries.

San Diego County officials cut the ribbon on a new three-mile segment of North County’s Inland Rail Trail; the new segment means ten miles of the planned 21-mile trail is ready to ride.

Sad news from San Jose, where a man was killed when a wrong way driver slammed into his bicycle, then drove off like the murderous coward he or she is.

A new plan promises to remake San Jose’s Eastside into a more welcoming place for bike riders and pedestrians, while reducing the need for cars. Sadly, it comes too late for the victim above.

San Francisco bike shops say if you’re in the market for a new bike, you’ve got a long wait.

 

National

An engineering website examines the aerodynamics of bicycling to keep riding from being a drag.

Pink Bike wonders when, if ever, mountain bikes will be allowed in US wilderness areas.

A writer for Bicycling explains how he finally went carfree after he job went remote during the pandemic. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

An American Sign Language professor at an Arizona college has turned his daily bike ride into a fundraising campaign for his students.

He gets it. A Salt Lake City columnist says bike riders have a right to be safe in traffic. And that’s why he supports a bill that would legalize the Idaho Stop in Utah, even if people on bicycles will still have to be alert, because too many drivers aren’t.

The full route has been released for this year’s RAGBRAI bike ride through Iowa, after last year’s ride was cancelled due to the pandemic.

A Missouri couple decide to open a bike shop. And then figures, why not sell pizza, too? Toss in some decent craft beer, and I’m all in.

A Rhode Island letter writer pleads with drivers to stop giving bicyclists the “wave of death.”

Yes, please. New Haven, Connecticut officials are pushing the state legislature to approve a bill that would allow automated traffic cams to enforce speed limits and crosswalks.

Frank Sinatra’s hometown of Hoboken NJ will add protected bike lanes to the singer’s eponymous street.

A retired Maryland man spent the pandemic providing free bike repair services for the local community; he’s fixed over 650 bicycles since last April.

No bias here. Florida cops fall over themselves to absolve a killer hit-and-run driver of responsibility, saying he knew he hit something, but didn’t know it was a person on a bicycle. Because apparently, it’s just too much to expect someone to get out of his car to see what the hell he hit hard enough to cause front end damage.

 

International

Cycling Weekly looks at the clothes you’ll need to get through the coldest, wettest days on your bike. Or you could just do like most Angelenos, and stay home any day there’s a sprinkle or the temperature dips much below 70°.

Eight bicyclist-inspired songs for your bicycle playlist.

An entrepreneurial 13-year old girl in Edmonton, Canada turned her pandemic baking into a business, delivering fresh loves to customers by bike every weekend.

London’s popup bike lanes and Low Traffic Neighborhoods could be in jeopardy, after a judge rules that they could adversely affect disadvantaged groups, such as the elderly. Because apparently, older people don’t ride bikes. Or walk, for that matter.

They may have a point. A London paper questions whether a 300-foot bike lane in an English town is the country’s stupidest bike lane; the street with the contraflow bike lane — aka wrong way — is so narrow that even small vans don’t fit in the traffic lane and have to extend into the bike lane.

More on the British man who responded to the death of his brother and a diagnosis of stage 4 cancer by riding from the UK to Beijing on a tandem, sharing the other seat with people he met along the way.

I want to be like him when I grow up. After getting tired of people laughing at him, an 83-year old Pakistani man rode his bike over 1,100 miles to prove age is just a number; he’s been riding since buying his first bicycle 66 years ago.

An enterprising 15-year old Indian boy is too young to legally ride a Vespa-style scooter, so he turned his bicycle into one.

After her politician father was arrested on what she insists are trumped-up charges, an Indian teen refused to accept a free bicycle from a government-run program in protest.

A quick-thinking Indian bus driver is credited with saving the lives of two little boys after they fell off their bikes into the path of the bus.

Apparently, they take driving in a protected bike lane seriously in Qatar, as a driver has his car seized on the spot.

Here’s another one for your bike bucket list — a biking tour of old Taipei.

A Wellington, New Zealand bike rider says the city needs a lot more than just bike lanes.

 

Competitive Cycling

Fortune favored the Dutch in this year’s cyclocross worlds, as 31-year old Lucinda Brand and 26-year old Mathieu Van der Poel took the women’s and men’s elite titles. Riders from the Netherlands took four of the top five places in the women’s race, and two of the top five on the men’s side; the only American to finish in the top five in either race was Clara Honsinger, who placed 4th in the women’s race.

The New York Times examines how the horrific crash that nearly took the life of Dutch cyclist Dylan Groenewegen at the Tour of Poland has increased pressure on the sport’s governing body to make much needed changes to protect the riders in the peloton.

 

Finally…

Remember, kids, always pickle your bike lanes before a storm. Your next car could be an ebike. Or maybe the other way around.

And your long, dark wait for LEGO bike lanes is over.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a damn mask, already. 

Top Gear host says bikes are guests on the roads, street-racing Rocking Rod let off the hook, and LeMond gets his Gold

Welcome to Week Three of the 6th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Thanks to Jean C, Glen S, Phillip Y, Douglas M, Megan Lynch, Eric G and Luke Klipp for their generous donations to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy, from around the corner and around the world!

So what are you waiting for? 

Take a few minutes right now to help keep all the freshest bike news coming your way every day!

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No bias here.

British gearhead Jeremy Clarkson, the former host of Top Gear and the current Grand Tour host, claimed bike lanes are causing tension between the UK’s “normal people and its raving lunatics.

He’s got a point, as long as he thinks the people on two wheels are the normal ones.

But then he added this gem.

I sometimes ride a bicycle in London but I am well aware that when I do so, I am a guest in the world of the car.

Which is why I would NEVER cycle on Kensington High Street. It’s too bloody dangerous.

Even though the point of striping bike lanes on the street was to make the street safer for everyone.

Let alone that bike riders have the same right to the roadway that drivers do, in the UK and in the US.

More, in fact, since bike riders aren’t required to have a license, which can be revoked to take away a driver’s privilege — not right — to the road.

If more drivers thought of themselves guests in a world of humans, we’d all be better off.

Meanwhile, bike-riding British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly went ballistic after a bike lane was ripped out in London’s tony Kensington neighborhood, over the objections of the country’s cycling czar.

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This is why people continue to die on our streets.

Rod Stewart was stopped by a Beverly Hills cop for street racing with two friends on a residential street.

The three were driving cars from his sports car collection, including a right-hand drive Lamborghini Countach. And wanted to see how fast they could go between stop signs, hitting 60 mph in the process.

But instead of throwing them all in jail and impounding the cars, or at least ticketing the trio, the cop reportedly got flustered when he saw who was behind the wheel of a high-end Porsche, and let them all go.

So evidently, the law really is different for the rich and famous when they threaten the lives of everyone else on the street than it is for the rest of us.

Got it.

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It’s official.

America’s last remaining Tour de France champ is the first cyclist to be awarded a Congressional Gold Medal, and one of just ten individual athletes to receive the honor.

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Listen to CD5 city council candidate Scott Epstein’s appearance on Bike Talk.

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If you’re looking for a good cause to support, you could do a lot worse than this one.

And do a lot of good in the process.

https://twitter.com/philgaimon/status/1335450733345296393

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What happens when a couple of innocent motorist stumble into a bike bar.

No, the other kind.

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We all wish we could do this sometimes.

Or maybe all the time.

For the Spanish-challenged among us, like me, that translates to,

This would not have happened if this crossing had a speed bump.

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No surprise here.

The internet took that story about the $1,000 Specialized carbon balance bike and ran with it.

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Follow along as mountain biker Gee Atherton rides a ridiculous series of Ridgeline jumps.

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

After a Portland pickup driver subjected a bike-riding couple to a punishment pass, he got out of his truck and threatened to fight them when they tried to confront him at a red light.

An 18-year old New Zealand bicyclist was deliberately knocked off his bike by a driver who yelled and honked at him before swerving into his bike; it marked the third time in two years angry motorists have run him off the road.

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Local

Twitter may think Chris Pratt is a clown. But anyone who takes his kid out for a bike ride is doing oaky in the dad department.

 

State

Santa Barbara considers options to rebuild or replace a nearly 140-ear old bridge on Mission Canyon Road, including options for a new bike lane.

 

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says step away from your Zwift trainer and enjoy the lost art of winter riding, because it’s almost never too cold to ride.

A Kansas City woman rode her bike to get through her divorce; now she’s using it to cope with being newly jobless during the pandemic.

PeopleForBikes blames Chicago’s default 30 mph speed limit for the city’s mediocre bikeability rating, instead of 25 mph in most of the US. Unlike Los Angeles, where drivers universally ignore the 25 mph speed limit on most residential streets. Along with pretty much every other speed limit in the city.

A Syracuse NY bike shop owner couldn’t do any more than watch on security cam as a teenage boy tried to break into his shop on Thanksgiving Day, causing $6,000 in damage even if he wasn’t able to take anything; the kid was caught by police trying to break into another shop down the street.

‘Tis the season. A program developed by the former GM of Philadelphia’s transportation authority just gave away its 1,000th bike to children in need over the past eight years.

No bias here. After a Florida sheriff’s deputy crashed into an ebike rider, they immediately blamed the victim, insisting he crashed into the deputy’s massive SUV while riding in the crosswalk against the Don’t Walk signal. As if the driver had no responsibility to check for anyone using the crosswalk or sidewalk, regardless of whether he was crossing with the light.

 

International

The World Economic Forum says dockless bikeshare symbolizes the future of our cities.

Cycling Weekly takes a look at health warning signs for bicyclists. I’d also include an inability to maintain muscle mass, which was the first major warning sign of my diabetes and neuropathy, and could have led to a diagnosis and treatment years earlier.

Cycling News looks at the best luxury gifts for bicyclists. Although a decent bike cam is really more of a necessity these days, GoPro or otherwise.

They get it. The UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says that bike helmets won’t prevent a crash, but can be an important secondary safety feature if you get in one; the story goes on to address first aid for various bicycling injuries.

Nearly 60 years later, the iconic bicycle designed by Dr. Alex Moulton is still made in the English town of Bradford on Avon. Which is more than an hour away from that other famous Avon town.

Edinburgh bicyclists complain about having to ride in traffic after the city failed to plow the snow from protected bike lanes.

Horrible murder in the UK, where a man was beaten to death after allegedly pushing a 13-year old boy off his bike, when the boy rode too close to him as he was walking to the market. He may have been an ass for pushing the boy off his bike, but it shouldn’t have called for a vigilante death penalty.

A 60-year old Colombian man was killed in a Hong Kong wreck when a firefighter somehow lost control of the fire engine he was driving, striking the victim’s bicycle before crashing into a park car.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Weekly wonders how far Sepp Kuss can climb in the world of cycling, citing the 26-year old American’s rapid rise in the sport. 

Former Tour de France champ Geraint Thomas shared his X-rays to show he was okay after taking a bad fall on a training ride on Sunday.

Heartbreaking news, as 21-year old Italian cyclist Michael Antonelli died of Covid-19; his death came after two years of struggling to recover from major brain trauma suffered in a fall off a cliff in one of his first races after turning pro.

A group of ten cyclists were injured crashing into a police motorcycle on the first lap of an Australian race when a cop leading the peloton stopped to let a car out of a driveway, without realizing they were right behind him; the most seriously injured rider was okay following surgery, after he was initially place in an induced coma with severe leg injuries.

Cycling News recalls the 25 most compelling cycling personalities of the last 25 years.

Rouleur complains about pro cycling’s toxic masculinity problem, saying cyclists should be able to cry like a baby if they feel the need. Seriously? I’d rank podium girls, and pay and race inequalities for women cyclists, far ahead of “big boys don’t cry” on a scale of toxic masculinity in the sport.

Speaking of which, it’s about damn time a woman was named sports director, aka directeur sportif, of a WorldTour cycling team, as Cherie Pridham was hired to manage Israel Start-Up Nation, new home to former TdF champ Chris Froome.

An Aspen CO writer asks Lance to forgive him for being so hard on the former Tour de France champ for his doping, lying and bullying. Um, sure. Let’s go with that.

 

Finally…

If you want to be an internet sensation, just ride around the world with a cat on your shoulders. When the world gives you a pandemic pub lockdown, start a bicycle beer delivery service.

And that feeling when you find a giant fish carcass on your beachfront bike ride.

Or maybe a 5,000-year old whale.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Socialite kills brothers in alleged drunken street racing crash, more endorsements, and Burbank bike/ped overpass opens

This is who we share the roads with.

Two young boys were killed when they were struck by a driver in Westlake Village while crossing the street in a crosswalk.

KCBS-2 reports the victims were brothers, who were just eleven and nine years old.

The hit-and-run driver had apparently been drinking, and may have engaged in street racing at the time of the crash.

According to KCBS-2, she was identified as a 57-year old socialite and humanitarian, who should have known better.

Rebecca Grossman, 57, was arrested on two counts of vehicular manslaughter and is being held on $2 million bail. She did not stay on the scene, and her white Mercedes with front-end damage was towed away about a half-mile from where the boys were struck.

Grossman is the founder and chair of the Grossman Burn Foundation, and has also been recognized for her humanitarian work across the world.

Now two little boys will never grow up.

And if there’s any justice, it will be a long time before she sees the light of day again.

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Bike the Vote LA urges you to vote yes on Measure J, and offers their endorsements on council races in Santa Monica and South Pasadena.

Meanwhile, California Streetsblog offers their endorsements on this year’s extensive list of ballot propositions, as well as local issues in LA County and the Bay Area.

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Chris Buonomo reports a new Burbank bicycle/pedestrian bridge is finally open, complete with nifty curved fencing to keep anyone from throwing things over the side. Or jumping.

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More people are needed to sign up for California’s proposed bike-themed license plates; it will take 7,500 orders before the state will begin production.

Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

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This is why you need to register your bike.

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This is definitely not the bike rider’s fault.

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GCN offers advice on riding roadies in wet weather.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real. 

No bias here. The Daily Mail says proposed media guidelines for UK newspapers would ban the use of terms like Lycra Louts to describe bike riders, as well as the term “accident.” The Guardian’s Laura Laker responds that the Daily Mail’s story is “so riddled with errors, it’s hard to know where to start.

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

Pennsylvania police are looking for a pair of bike-riding jerks who defaced a memorial to a fallen officer.

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Local

No bias here, either. A new study shows 61% of low-level traffic tickets issued by the LAPD went to Black people, despite making up just seven percent of LA’s population.

The new replacement for the Gerald Desmond Bridge is scheduled to open to motor vehicle traffic next week, but the bridge’s walk and bike path could be delayed for another two years to allow time to build a connector bridge.

 

State

A major ruling from a California appeals court, which overturned one of the biggest limitations on damage awards for injured bike riders, ruling that encountering a giant pothole is not an inherent risk of long-distance bicycling. That could open the way for all kinds of damage awards for bike riders — especially if the people responsible for the roadway already knew about the problem. Thanks to Phillip Young and Richard Duquette for the heads-up.

Sad news from Davis, where a 77-year old woman was killed riding her bike on a private road.

 

National

Ebike prices continue to fall. You can now buy an entry level Pedego bike for less than $1,500.

Portland bicyclists will ride sans culottes — or anything else — to protest the rush to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

More on the Idaho Stop Law’s new home in Washington State.

A Missouri bike advocate calls for more defensive driving. And defensive walking and bicycling, too.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole an adaptive bike from a ten-year old Illinois boy with epilepsy. And one right next to it for the jerk who stole a handcycle from a disabled Ohio man.

Sad news from Michigan, where BMX legend Ronald McDonald — no, not that onepassed away from pancreatic cancer last week, just five weeks after he was diagnosed.

City Limits examines how to make New York’s open streets permanent and equitable, improving the quality of life while setting a world-class example.

No surprise here, as a New Jersey town rolls out new sharrows to underwhelming acclaim.

Kindhearted community members pitch in to buy a new three-wheeled ebike for a Virginia man after his bike was destroyed in a collision.

Miami Beach gets its first parking protected bike lane.

 

International

He gets it. A Vancouver-area writer says children need to be taken into account on any discussion of bike lanes, saying it’s even more important to separate inexperienced riders from traffic.

A new study shows new Toronto bike lanes have the potential to drastically prevent injuries and fatalities.

A Montreal website discovers that not all business owners oppose a new bike lane, and some actually get that it could be good for them.

An English letter writer says new plastic bollards on a protected bike lane look more like a slalom course. Which is probably exactly what I’d use them for.

The annual Eurobike trade show will take place in person this year, but with less than a third of the exhibitors and attendance limited to more people than actually attended last year.

South Korea eases restrictions on e-scooters, despite fears it could lead to more injuries.

A bike-riding Aussie family says not owning a car is worth it, even if it’s not easy.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews runs down the teams that will be competing in this year’s Giro d’Italia, which kicks off this weekend.

This year’s long-delayed Amstel Gold race has been officially canceled due to coronavirus restrictions in the Netherlands.

Trek-Segafredo cyclist Quinn Simmons may have committed career suicide with online comments suggesting his support fo President Trump, with the white rider using a black hand emoji to wave goodbye; the bike team was none too pleased, calling the comments “divisive, incendiary, and detrimental.”

 

Finally…

Maybe someone should tell them there are clothes that are actually made for riding bikes. These days, Daisy would probably prefer an electric bicycle built for two.

And forget U-locks, just put a little fake bird poop on your bike to deter thieves.

No, really.

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A special thanks to Matthew R for his very generous ongoing support for this site.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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

………

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.

………

‘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.

………

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?

………

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.

………

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.

………

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

………

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.

………

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

………

Nothing like a leisurely bike ride along the Nile.

No, on it.

………

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.

………

‘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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

 

 

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.

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