Tag Archive for using cars as weapons

Vegas teens plead not guilty to Probst murder, Mo Wilson’s accused killer makes a run for it, and Newsom digs daylighting

Jesus Ayala and Jzamir Keys, the Las Vegas teenagers being tried as adults in the deliberate murder of a bike-riding former Bell, California police chief, both pled not guilty to several felony counts at their arraignment Wednesday.

The two teens, 17 and 16 at the time of their alleged August crime spree, are accused of at least three hit-and-runs while joyriding in a stolen car, including fatally running down 64-year old Andreas “Andy” Probst from behind as they laughingly filmed the attack.

Ayala and Keys are also accused of deliberately targeting another man riding a bicycle, although apparently he was not seriously injured.

They’re charged with murder, attempted murder, battery and residential burglary, as well as multiple counts of automobile grand larceny and possession of a stolen vehicle.

They each face up to life in prison if convicted on the murder charges, despite Ayala’s boast to the cops at the time of his arrest that he’d be out in 30 days.

Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova from Pexels.

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Kaitlin Armstrong, the woman accused of killing gravel cycling star Moriah “Mo” Wilson, made a run for it Wednesday, attempting to escape from sheriff’s deputies as she was being led back to a patrol car following a doctor’s appointment.

Armstrong is accused of fatally shooting Wilson last year in a jealous rage, in what she apparently perceived as a love triangle involving her then-boyfriend, pro cyclist Colin Strickland, who had been briefly involved with Wilson.

Armstrong was already considered a flight risk following her arrest in Costa Rico after a 43-day manhunt.

She had reportedly died her hair and undergone plastic surgery in an effort to change her appearance and hide her identity.

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After wielding his veto pen to strike down bike-friendly legislation, including a bill to allow sidewalk riding throughout the state, California Governor Gavin Newsom actually signed a safety bill yesterday.

Newsom added his signature to Assembly Bill 413, known as the Daylighting Bill, which will ban parking within 20 feet of a marked crosswalk to increase visibility and improve safety for pedestrians, as well as anyone else stopped at or using the intersection.

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Apparently, there really is an app for that.

Yesterday, I learned there’s an app to help organize bike buses to help kids get to school safely.

Which could probably be used to arrange bike commuting rides to find greater safety in numbers, as well.

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

We missed this one when I was out of commission with eye problems a couple weeks back, as a driver in a massive SUV attempted to terrorize a velomobile e-recumbent rider in El Cajon, California last month, which was compounded by a lecture from a cop who didn’t know the law.

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Local 

Streetsblog says Metro didn’t follow its own designs, let alone city-approved, CEQA-approved street standards, in providing access to the new Downtown Connector stations, implementing undefined changes focused on getting drivers onto freeways instead of providing the promised bike and walk facilities.

A letter from longtime LA-area bike advocate Kent Strumpell says Los Angeles can alter the course of the automobile’s role in climate change, and meet the pope’s call for bold climate action, with the rapid installation of a fully functional, citywide, protected bikeway network. From his keyboard to God’s ear. Or at least the mayor’s. 

 

State

The CHP has received a federal grant to support its education and enforcement efforts to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety throughout the state. Although we’d all be better served if they used the money to train their officers in bike law, and how to investigate bike crashes without their usual windshield bias.

San Diego Magazine lists eight of the city’s best bike events to attend each year, starting with next month’s Bike and Beer San Diego.

A young Frenso girl was lucky to survive with minor injuries when she was struck by a pickup driver while riding her bike, and ended up pinned under the truck.

Manteca is just the latest California city calling for a crackdown on reckless teenage ebike riders.

San Anselmo will conduct a study of the downtown area on how to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Sad news from Sierra County, where a Berkeley man was found dead after apparently riding his mountain bike off a trail; his body was found about a hundred yards downstream from where his bike was recovered.

 

National

AARP offers a pretty extensive tutorial on the different types of bikes for different riders and situations. And since they include balance bikes, it’s probably safe to say they’re not all aimed at their target market.

Trek has launched the industry’s first bicycle trade-in program, accepting used bikes made by the company for trade at their eponymous stores. Which makes me wonder what they’d give me for my first-gen mass production 1980 Trek roadie. For a change, read it on AOL if Bicycling blocks you. 

Bicycling introduces Bivo founder Carina Hamel, saying she’s disrupting the bicycling water bottle market one stainless steel water bottle at time. This time, you can read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you. 

At least one Portland hotel now approves of a recently contested downtown bike lane, insisting they want the hotel to be a welcoming space for bike riders, after the hotel’s former GM criticized the bike lane for what she termed dangerous conditions.

There’s not a pit deep enough for the bike thief who stole an adaptive tricycle from a 23-year old special needs man in Arizona.

The building that formerly housed my not-so-local Denver bike shop, which I traveled across the city to frequent, caught on fire last night, but it was quickly extinguished by firefighters; developers plan to raze the former local icon to build an 18-story mixed-use tower.

It takes a special kind of scumbag to drive off and leave a bike-riding five-year old Colorado kid bleeding in the street.

The highly anticipated movie Bike Vessel, which premiers this week at the Chicago Film Festival, tells the story of a father who took up bicycling after surviving three open-heart surgeries, and the son who joined him on a “rigorous” journey by bike from St. Louis to Chicago.

New York’s Black-owned Amsterdam News says there’s no going back, as ebikes continue to make inroads into neighborhoods of color throughout the city.

New York bike riders rallied to protest the city’s second-highest number of bicycling deaths ever, while calling out the mayor’s apparent lack of concern, even though he was considered a consistent ally when he served in the state senate.

That’s more like it. A 19-year old Richmond, Virginia man was sentenced to spend the next ten years and a month behind bars, after a judge suspended most of a 30-year sentence for plowing into a pair of bike-riding women while driving drunk and stoned, killing one and critically injuring the other.

 

International

A British man, who was placed in a medically induced coma for nearly two weeks after suffering major injuries when he was struck by a driver while riding his bike in 2017, is now planning to take part in a fundraising hill climb challenge to benefit the air ambulance service he credits with saving his life.

 

Competitive Cycling

A new report accuses pro cycling of putting profits over safety, saying elite cycling has a “profound safety problem,” with safety “taking a backseat in the pursuit of performance or profit.”

The Intermarché-Circus-Wanty cycling team abruptly pulled Madis Mihkels from China’s upcoming Tour of Guangxi, after the 20-year old pro was shown making a racist gesture on social media by pulling back his eyes in mockery of Asians.

Three-time US Pro crit champ Luke Lamperti will join L39ION of Los Angeles as a guest cyclist at the inaugural invitation-only CRIT Championship in St. Petersburg, Florida later this month.

 

Finally…

That feeling when a minor suffers minor injuries after getting hit by a deer that was hit by a driver. If you were stopped by a motorcycle officer in East Valinda, you may have gotten a fake ticket from a fake cop.

And apparently crappy bike infrastructure is a problem everywhere.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Killer Make-A-Wish driver convicted, and Orange driver pleads guilty to intentionally running over bike-riding boyfriend

That didn’t take long.

Mandy Benn, the Michigan driver accused of killed two men participating in a three-day Make-A-Wish fundraising ride while stoned on prescription meds, was found guilty on all 15 counts by the jury, including second-degree murder, after just three hours of deliberation.

Which works out to about 12 minutes a charge.

Benn was attempting to pass a UPS truck when she went onto the wrong side of the road and slammed head-on into a group of riders, injuring three others in addition to the two men who died at the scene.

A detective investigating the crash said she appeared disoriented, and “like she was on a different planet.”

Benn had two painkillers and an anti-anxiety drug in her system at the time of the crash, as well as bottles of prescription meds in her car. The defense tried to blame her disorientation on a concussion suffered in the collision — an excuse the jury clearly rejected.

She could now spend the rest of her life behind bars once she’s sentenced on the murder charges.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

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Maybe she should change her relationship status to “It’s complicated.”

A 29-year old Orange woman will be sentenced later this month after pleading guilty to intentionally running over her then-boyfriend as he rode his bicycle away from her home in December, 2020.

Diana Rodriguez pled guilty to felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon and corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, with sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury in a domestic violence incident.

Prosecutors dropped a felony count of mayhem, as well as three misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance, as part of her plea deal.

The victim was scorched a hot vehicle part after being pinned under her car, but survived when a neighbor used a jack to lift the car off him.

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The family of Joshua Cervantes Drayer called for justice and closure more than a year after the 40-year old Dana Point man was killed in a hit-and-run while riding his ebike.

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

The head of Brompton’s bikeshare program criticized UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s new “proudly pro-car” policies, describing Sunak’s attempt to halt the mythical “war on motorists’ as “wedge politics” and an “artificial construct” which will “hopefully blow over given time.”

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

A sidewalk-raging English delivery rider went over his handlebars attempting to get at a delivery driver who had called him a dick, among other less-than-friendly terms, for complaining about on the sidewalk, after pointing out that he wasn’t supposed to ride there, either. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail, apparently believing two wrongs do, in fact make a right, clearly sided with the foul-mouthed driver.

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Local 

A letter writer in the Los Angeles Times pleads with government officials not to take away the cherished right-turn-on-red that so many SoCal drivers seem to assume is their God-given right, arguing that if drivers and pedestrians both obey the law, it’s perfectly safe. Which is about like saying guns are perfectly safe if owners use them properly, and people don’t step in front of the bullets.

The Beverly Hills Courier considers the city’s plan to add bike lanes to a third-mile section of Beverly Blvd.

 

State

San Diego’s commitment to building an actual bike lane network is paying off, after our neighbor to the south was recognized as America’s “greenest” city.

I want to be like him when I grow up. Holocaust survivor and age-group world cycling champ Leon Malmed celebrated his 86th birthday with a South Lake Tahoe bike ride.

 

National

A 53-year old woman was charged with careless driving for killing a ten-year old boy riding a bicycle in a small town near my Colorado hometown; police concluded she was driving distracted, after initially blaming the victim.

Hundreds of Houston bicyclists turned out for a memorial ride through streets lined with green ribbons to honor a 14-year old boy who was killed by a driver while riding his bike to school last week.

Bloomington, Indiana hamstrung an award-winning bikeway by installing new stop signs, slowing bike riders as well as the intended drivers.

A Cambridge, Massachusetts letter writer calls attention to a recent USDOT report that says bike lanes protected with car-ticker plastic pendy-posts reduced crashes by 50 percent when compared to bike lanes without them.

Police in New York are looking for a man who beat a 66-year old woman with a collapsable baton, knocking her off her bicycle, after the two nearly collided in Central Park.

Echoing a statement we’ve all heard too many times, North Carolina bicyclists say a 61-year old man was doing everything right when he was run down from behind and killed by a driver while attempting to make a left turn.

 

International

Insider Monkey — no, that’s not a typo — lists the world’s 20 most bike-friendly countries, and somehow includes the United States, where bikes and all other forms of transportation take a back seat to cars, at number 13, ahead of Japan, England, Spain and Italy; the Netherlands and Denmark naturally lead the rankings, with Australia — which is even more bike-unfriendly than the US — coming in third.

A Toronto college student got his stolen ebike back after launching his own investigation, and finding it for sale at a “really sketchy bike shop with no name.”

Life is cheap in Jersey, where a 51-year old driver walked without a day behind bars, as if a lousy six-month driving ban and community service is sufficient punishment for seriously injuring a bike rider in a “momentary lapse of concentration.

A stoned truck driver in Edinburgh, Scotland will have to find a new line of work after he was sentenced to two years behind bars and banned from driving for eight more, for killing an intensive care nurse who was biking to work during the pandemic.

An 85-year old Scottish woman rode her bicycle to cope with her grief over the deaths of her adult children, riding 1,000 miles around the country while raising the equivalent of nearly $88,000 for charity in the process. I have no idea how many hundreds of miles I rode to cope with my father’s death.

The leader of the Cyprus Green Party calls for an end to the country’s mandatory bike helmet law.

A writer for Taiwan News wants you to put the island on your bike bucket list.

Speaking of Australia, The Guardian says more Australian families are ditching cars for ebikes, in part because they pay for themselves. To which Californians who have waited more than two years for the state’s long-delayed ebike rebate program, respond “We wouldn’t know.”

 

Competitive Cycling

Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar became just the third cyclist to win three consecutive editions of Italy’s Il Lombardia, after Alfredo Binda won three in 1925-1927, and the great Fausto Coppi won four in a row from 1946 to 1949.

Fellow Slovenian Matej Mohorič won his first senior world title at Sunday’s Gravel World Championships, apparently while riding an as-yet unreleased Merida gravel bike.

Australian cyclist Nathan Haas was forced to ride a bike quickly pulled from Colnago’s in-house museum at Sunday’s gravel world championships after his bike was lost by the airline.

New Zealand’s 34-year old “Flying Mullet” Shane Archbold calls it a career after a decade in the pro peloton.

Mountain bikers from 19 states and three countries set off from downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas Saturday for the 1,000-mile Arkansas High Country race.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could come wrapped in 24 karat gold and cost more than a Rolls-Royce. Nothing like riding your bike to Hell and back. No, literally.

And that’s a very good question.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Sidewalk parking and bike helmets, the fame and infamy of ebikes, and violent robberies target bike riders

This is what I ran into while walking home with my dog yesterday. 

This driver couldn’t be bothered to park at one of the open meters around the corner, and somehow felt entitled to park on the sidewalk just to run into 7-11.

Just for a minute, I’m sure. 

But sure, tell me again about all those entitled cyclists.

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This comes up from time to time on here.

So here’s my take on bike helmets in a nutshell, in response to a question from Eban about whether I wear one, after I questioned someone’s misuse of helmet safety stats in yesterday’s post.

I never ride without one, and recognize that it may have saved my life in a solo crash. But I also know that they are designed to protect against relatively slow speed falls like mine, not high impact collisions, and don’t protect any other body parts. Too many studies cite fatalities in relation to helmet use, without indicating whether the victims actually died of head injuries. I also know that stats on helmets tend to vary widely, are often misrepresented, and tend to cited in a way that represents the perspective of the author. My take is that you are far better off avoiding a crash in the first place than relying on your bike helmet to save you, and it should always be seen as the last line of defense when all else fails, not the first.

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Today’s common theme is ebikes, in all their fame, glory and infamy.

Forbes calls this the year of the ebike — if you can manage to get past their paywall.

America’s only remaining Tour de France winner has introduced a lightweight, carbon fiber, drop handlebar ebike designed to be used on any type of road, while coming in at a relatively svelte 28 pounds.

I don’t even know what to make of this. Punk rocker and rapper Machine Gun Kelly got out of his chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce to confront DJ and social media personality Kerwin Frost on the side of a Sherman Oaks street, standing in front of the influencer’s ebike to prevent him from leaving the heated confrontation.

They get it. The Orange County Register says local cities are overreacting to ebikes, arguing that sensible regulation is fine, but enough with the hysteria. Amen, brother.

A 25-year old San Diego man was seriously injured when he crashed his ebike into the back of a parked pickup truck in the city’s Sorrento Valley; police blamed the victim for “riding at an unsafe speed for conditions.” Then again, it’s hard not to blame the victim when someone rides into a legally parked car.

A Santa Barbara wrench calls for parents to check and maintain their kid’s ebikes, saying the heavier, faster bikes could pose a danger otherwise.

The Urbanist offers tips to potential ebike buyers, as Seattle ebike sales are soaring and the state prepares to offer a rebate. Which will probably come long before California’s long-delayed ebike rebate program finally gets here.

Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest is asking for public input on a proposal to allow Class 1 ebikes on a measly 27.5 miles of existing trail in the Teton Pass; Class 2 and 3 ebikes would be prohibited.

Long Beach — no, the one in New Jersey — struggles to implement rules for ebike riding, because local residents complain about too many signs. No, really. 

Porsche is driving a stake through the Croatian ebike brand Greyp, in which they own a majority stake, while shifting the bikemaker’s technology to its own in-house brand.

A pair of French bikepackers were lucky to escape injury when their ebike battery exploded as it was being charged in an Aussie hostel; the blast was caught on security cam as they fled into the hallway.

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Today’s other common theme is armed robbery.

Never mind the shooting I just hear outside my Hollywood window at 2:30 in the morning.

A Norfolk, Virginia man captured an armed robbery attempt on his rear-facing bike cam, as four men ran up from behind as he rode on a narrow bridge bikeway, pulled guns on him and sprayed him with pepper spray while demanding his bike, then ran away just as quickly; police arrested two adults and two juveniles the next day.

A pair of masked men were caught on security cam attempting to steal a man’s bike in a small English village, after using their SUV as a weapon to run the victim off the road; the bikejacking attempt ultimately failed when the homeowner came running out armed with a shovel.

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

Canadian Cycling Magazine shares what they say may be the scariest close-pass ever, as a speeding bus driver appears to come within a foot of a bike rider, and observes that buzzing bicyclists is one of the worst things a driver can do.

London’s Metropolitan Police tweeted out a victim-blaming call for bike riders and pedestrians to “be seen,” using an edited and discredited photo.

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

A Scottish bike rider was caught on video yelling and swearing at an elderly woman who had the audacity to ask him to dismount on a narrow pedestrian walkway, including using the C word. Seriously, don’t do that. Show a little respect for others, and for women, and for the aged. And for yourself, for that matter. 

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Local 

Rather than following through on it’s climate and Complete Street commitments, Caltrans is doubling down on highway construction, announcing a nearly $300 million project along the 605 Freeway from Long Beach to San Gabriel, to “improve overall ride quality along the route while bolstering safety for drivers and for state highway workers.” Meanwhile, Car-Light Long Beach discusses the minuscule multi-modal component of the first segment.

Long Beach approved a $2.5 million contract extension to keep their existing 100-hub bikeshare program going for another year.

Jennifer Garner is one of us, going for an LA bike ride with her 14-year old daughter.

 

State

A man who spent three months in a coma following a DUI crash pedaled a hydro-bike nine hours from Catalina to Newport Beach to call attention to brain injuries.

A retired economics professor calls for removing San Diego’s popular Coaster train, rather than moving the tracks off a crumbling Del Mar cliff, and converting it to a bike and pedestrian trail.

 

National

Bicycling lists their Gear of the Year, with a nifty 50 products you can buy right now. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

A Streetsblog podcast considers what livable street means in the coming era of driverless cars.

A Minnesota man is attempting to raise a half million dollars to fight prostate cancer and schizophrenia by riding 11,000 miles around the US, all while battling stage 4 prostate cancer himself; so far he’s raised a little more that $100,000.

You’ve got to be kidding. Life is cheap in Michigan, where a convicted drunk driver walked with just two days behind bars — and credit for time served — for the hit-and-run crash that seriously injured a 36-year old man riding a bicycle; he was sentenced to three years probation and a lousy $1,200 restitution.

A church in West Lafayette, Indiana has made it part of their mission to loan bicycles to international students at Purdue University, and will tune and repair recipients’ bikes for free; they currently have a waiting list of over 100 people. Thanks to Melissa for the heads-up.

Louisville KY will throw in the towel on its municipal bikeshare system after six years.

Three months later, police in Niagara Falls finally charged the alleged hit-and-run driver who left an 84-year man to die alone in a ditch after rear-ending the victim’s bike.

Massachusetts passed a $1 billion tax cut retroactive to the first of this year, including expanded deductions for transit and bicycle use.

Life is cheap in Florida, where police refused to charge a van driver who killed a 14-year old boy riding his bike to school, after the driver played the universal Get Out Of Jail Free card by saying he just didn’t see the kid. Well, okay then. It’s not fair to expect motorists to see a human being directly in front of their vehicle, right?

 

International

Bike Radar offers advice on how to make your bike more comfortable, while Road.cc recommends the best and brightest rear bike lights for day and night use.

Life is cheap in British Columbia, where a red light-running driver was fined a whole $167 for the crash that left a bike rider seriously injured — and could have that reduced to $147 if it’s paid within 30 days. And that’s in Canadian dollars, which works out to the equivalent of about $107 in US dollars.

After posting helmet cam video of a typical bike ride through the city, a London bicyclist asks readers if they’d be comfortable riding there.

A British group projected a video promoting a 20 mph speed limit on the Houses of Parliament, after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged to end the mythical war on motorists.

The UK’s rolling rave returns to Sheffield, with a DJ pumping out drum and bass from his bicycle-mounted sound system.

The European Commission has released a document promoting bicycling as a safe and sustainable mode of transport, while seeking to unleash the full potential of bicycles as a “sustainable, accessible, inclusive, economical and healthy” mode of transportation.

A growing number of French companies are giving employees the chance to ditch driving by providing a company bicycle.

 

Competitive Cycling

Mark Cavendish announced he’ll be returning next year in an attempt to set a new record for Tour de France stage wins; he’s currently tied with the legendary Eddy Merckx at 34.

A British man just three days shy of his 86th birthday became the oldest person ever to compete in the historic Monsal Hill Climb, and plans to do it again when he’s 100.

Another British man set a new record for riding coast-to-coast across the UK from Pembroke, Wales to Norfolk, England, covering the 350-mile course in 14 hours flat, and beating the previous record by one hour and 20 minutes. One day, I hope to take our Pembroke Welsh Corgi to her ancestral home, so she can run with herds of wild corgis on the Welsh Serengeti. And yes, I only included this item so I could get that joke in. 

Competing in a Mexican double deca triathlon that includes a 47-mile swim, 2237-mile bike ride, and 524-mile run is hard enough, without encountering a bike-riding ghost passing in the opposite direction.

 

Finally…

Sometimes, you just want a streetwear-inspired bike that screams F you to the world. We may have to deal with wild LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about getting tackled by a rogue deer while riding with your parrot.

And that feeling when you don’t realize you just won the race, so you just keep going.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

2nd Vegas teen busted in Probst vehicular murder, Gutierrez convicted of murder, and Caltrans fires sustainability advocate

We’re learning more about the vehicular rampage in Las Vegas that led to the intentional hit-and-run death of 64-year old retired Bell, California police chief Andreas Probst.

Including that Probst wasn’t the first bike rider attacked by the two teens.

ABC News reports that the attacks began when the driver deliberately slammed into a 72-year old man riding a bicycle; no word on whether that victim was injured.

They then sideswiped a car, and moments later attacked Probst.

The second person in the car, who videoed the attack, was arrested Tuesday, although no charges appear to have been filed against him at this point.

Neither juvenile has been publicly identified, but that’s likely to change if they are charged as adults.

The Black Wall Street Times reports Probst’s killers may have been inspired by a TikTok hit-and-run challenge, in which “teens show others how to steal certain vehicles without a key and go on joyrides.”

If that’s the case, it could cast a frightening shadow over the recent hit-and-run rampage in Huntington Beach, where a teenaged driver faces charges for intentionally slamming into three people riding bikes, resulting in the death of 70-year old Huntington Beach resident Steven Gonzales.

Then there’s this.

Despite being the first reporter on the scene following Probst’s killing, and encouraging a school resource officer to turn the video of the attack over to the police, Las Vegas Review-Journal crime reporter Sabrina Schnur became the subject of violent and anti-semitic comments from people who falsely accused the paper of downplaying Probst’s death.

Not surprisingly, X/Twitter owner Elon Musk drove much of the attacks, after accusing the media of a lack of sufficient outrage to meet his demands.

On Sunday morning, Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, amplified one of the screenshots, posting “An innocent man was murdered in cold blood while riding his bicycle. The killers joked about it on social media Yet, where is the media outrage? Now you begin to understand the lie.” That post had 68.2 million views as of Monday evening…

The Review-Journal’s social media accounts and other staff also received vicious attacks. When Schnur shared that she’d received 700 notifications on X and an onslaught of angry emails and voicemails, editors jumped in to support her and make sure she was safe.

Executive editor Glenn Cook said that during his 30-plus years in journalism, he’d never seen vitriol of this volume or intensity. “It’s like a fire hose of hatred to the face,” he wrote in a column about the social media outrage.

The attacks were also driven by other rightwing sources, including far-right commentator Laura Loomer and Fox News host Greg Gutfield.

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As long as we’re discussing the murder of innocent people with motor vehicles, 33-year old Sergio Reynaldo Gutierrez was convicted of murder Tuesday for intentionally running down a man walking his bicycle in a 2021 Riverside hit-and-run.

Forty-six-year old Benedicto Solanga was walking with a friend when Gutierrez drove by in his pickup, flipped the men off for no apparent reason, then made a U-turn to come back and slam into Solanga from behind. He died in a hospital three days later.

The Riverside jury also convicted Gutierrez a sentence-enhancing allegation of using his truck as a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony.

There’s no word on whether Gutierrez knew Solanga, or if this was a case of road rage. Or if there was some other reason for his murderous attack.

Gutierrez is currently being held without bail at Riverside’s Robert Presley Jail, with a sentencing hearing scheduled for December 15th.

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Streetsblog’s Melanie Curry calls it a troubling sign that Caltrans’ staunchest advocate for safety, sustainability and sanity has apparently been fired, in what Politico calls a “shakeup.”

Deputy Director of Planning and Modal Programs Jeanie Ward-Waller, the former Advocacy Director for the California Bicycle Coalition, is reportedly being “reassigned” in the department.

Curry speculates that the move may have come because Ward-Waller argued too strongly for incorporating the state’s climate plan in highway projects, as “some Caltrans planners are still pushing strategies to get around changing state regulations.”

If so, that is troubling. But sadly, not surprising.

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That white smoke coming from LA City Hall yesterday means we now have a new LADOT General Manager, as uninspiring as the choice may be.

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We have a new “protected” bike lane in the San Fernando Valley.

Even if bollards won’t keep out abandoned mattresses, or food truck customers.

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In my efforts to catch up from my unexcused diabetic crash and burn a few weeks ago, I have been remiss in not mentioning next month’s LA Bike Fest, hosted by BikeLA, the former Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

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Huntington Beach is the latest city to consider overwriting state traffic laws to regulate bicycles, including a ban on riding against traffic on the sidewalk.

Even though sidewalks aren’t directional, and a newly passed state law will legalized sidewalk riding throughout the state, if it’s signed by Governor Newsom.

The regulations would also ban going around stopped of slowed traffic, and includes a vague ban on riding in an unsafe manner, and a provision allowing impounding bikes belonging to juvenile scofflaw riders.

Any and all of which could be tossed out by the courts, since the state, not cities, is responsible for regulation all forms of traffic under California law, on two wheels as well as four.

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

The founder of Streets For All is reminded that plastic bollards are no protection against LA drivers.

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

Police in New York has released video of the hit-and-run ebike rider who killed a 69-year old woman as she crossed a street on the Lower East Side earlier this month.

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Local 

Los Angeles is asking the federal government for up to $10.3 million in grant funding for a series of new active transportation and public open space projects, including proposals to reconnect bisected MacArthur Park by closing Wilshire Blvd, and studying the possibility of capping the 101 Freeway in Hollywood to build a new park over it; the city is also teaming with Metro to request another $86 million for new bus lanes, bike lanes, and other active transportation and transit infrastructure projects.

When is a bike lane not a bike lane? When seniors using walkers have to use it to get around a Venice homeless camp.

The Cities of Los Angeles and San Fernando are hosting a non-CicLAvia open streets festival from 10 am to 2 pm this Saturday “promoting an active lifestyle and community engagement, all while celebrating the joy of biking, walking, and rolling.”

 

State

San Diego’s annual Bike the Coast ride will return on November 4th, allowing “participants of all levels to enjoy a memorable course that takes them along the scenic views and quaint communities along Highway 101.”

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a 39-year old woman was killed by a driver when she allegedly rode her bike in front of the oncoming car. Although what actually happened hinges on whether there were any independent witnesses, or if investigators are relying solely on the driver’s statement, since the victim can’t give her side of the story.

Palo Alto parents are demanding steps to improve traffic safety after two children were struck by drivers in separate incidents, including a middle school student who was critically injured while riding his bike.

San Francisco traffic safety advocates are calling on the city to protect bike riders and pedestrians by banning right turns on red lights.

Stockton suspended its e-bikeshare program after it was plagued by vandalism and theft.

 

National

Santa Monica-based Bird has taken a dominant position in the US micromobility market with its acquisition of Spin from European provider Tier.

A writer for Cycling Weekly explains why he prefers to ride alone 95% of the time. I do, too, though in my case it’s a case of cycling weakly.

Bike-friendly Portland suffered the year’s first bicycling fatality when a man was struck by a driver Tuesday morning; that compares to four bicycling deaths in the city last year.

A Seattle driver agreed to plead guilty to vehicular homicide and felony hit-and-run in exchange for a recommendation of just under three and a half years for fleeing the scene after killing a man riding a bike. Let’s hope that also includes a length driving ban once he’s released.

Life is not so cheap in New Mexico, for a change, as the estate of a fallen bike rider agreed to a $1 million settlement with his killer, a state district judge who originally walked with just $82 in court costs after invoking her right to remain silent.

A Denver-based nonprofit gave the entire second grade class at a Colorado Springs CO elementary new BMX bikes and helmets.

Tragic news from New Hampshire, where Dartmouth College football coach Buddy Teevens died of complications from a bicycling collision on Tuesday, seven months after he lost a leg and suffered a spinal chord injury when he was struck by a speeding driver as he rode his bike home from a Florida restaurant with his wife; he was 66.

A Hartford website accuses the state’s ebike rebate program of an equity failure, with just 2% of the 468 vouchers reaching the state’s most financially challenged residents.

New York Magazine highlights “comfy and cool” bike helmets kids will actually want to wear.

DC became the latest city to approve ebike incentives, offering vouchers up to $1,500 for an ebike, or $2,000 to buy an e-cargo bike. Meanwhile, potential California ebike buyers continue to wait. And wait. 

 

International

A new survey ranks the UK’s worst cities for bike riders, with London a surprising third behind Bradford and Leeds.

London’s Fire Brigade called for “proper regulation” of ebike batteries and chargers after a man suffered life-changing injuries when his ebike battery caught fire

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has introduced a new 12-point ‘code de la rue’ (street code), in addition to France’s existing code de la route (highway code), to help bike riders, drivers and pedestrians better share the city’s streets; the rules include giving pedestrians priority and banning all two-wheeled vehicles from sidewalks, as well as a ban on drinking before driving, biking or scooting.

Belgian ebike maker Cowboy teamed with a Parisian designer for a dramatic cruiser bike designed to fit “in with women’s busy lives.” Evidently, men need not apply for the $3,700 ebike.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling says none of Sepp Kuss’ friends back home in Colorado are surprised at his victory in the Vuelta. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you. 

Not only is Kuss king of the Vuelta, he’s also king of the KOMs.

LA-based former pro Phil Gaimon topped 370 other riders to win the 2023 Mount Baker Hill Climb, in what Essentially Sports called a “stunning display of cycling prowess.”

Bicycling also reports that the sports director for the Lotto Dstny Development Team has been suspended for deliberately running over a course marshal during Belgium’s GP Rik Van Looy bike race. Once again, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you. 

 

Finally…

Cars of the not-too-distant future could communicate with rooftop emojis. That feeling when you end up chatting with the newly crowned king on a Scottish bike ride.

And repeat after me. When you’re riding your bike under the influence, while carrying controlled substances and already wanted on an outstanding warrant, put a damn light on it.

The bike, that is. Not the warrant.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin