Breaking news: bike lanes come to Beverly Hills

June 26, 2013
Looking east from just past Rexford Drive

Looking east from just past Rexford Drive

Okay, so it wasn’t a total surprise.

Recent news reports had indicated Beverly Hills would be installing their first bike lanes over the next week or so.

So when I saw temporary no parkings signs on Burton Way on my way to CicLAvia on Sunday, I assumed something was in the works.

Since a meeting of the LACBC’s Civic Engagement committee meant I had to ride through Beverly Hills on my way to Downtown LA Tuesday evening, I made a point of taking Burton Way just to check it out.

And sure enough, as soon as I passed Rexford Drive, after surviving the relative terror that is Little Santa Monica at rush hour, there it was. A sparking, capacious new bike lane — so new, in fact, that other riders were taking to the sidewalk in apparent disbelief of what was right there on the street in front of them.

And who could blame them?

Beverly Hills had long earned its moniker as the Biking Black Hole for being the only city in the area without a single inch of bikeway.

Until today.

Maybe we should call them the Biking Grey Hole now. Especially since the new lanes, along with bike lanes and sharrows due to go in on Crescent Drive, are only being installed on a one-year trial basis.

Still, the lanes felt good, more than wide enough to ride two abreast. And the eastbound lanes connected with the lanes on the Los Angeles section of the street, allowing a smooth, comfortable ride from Rexford to San Vicente.

With the slight downhill, I found myself easily riding at 29 mph; previously, I would have held my speed down for fear of traffic conflicts.

Although I might question the placement of sharrows where the bike lanes end to allow right turn lanes on some of the major streets. While they are placed according to standards in the center of the right through lane, few cyclists are likely to ride there, as there is more than enough room to ride next to vehicular traffic in the few feet before the traffic light.

Looking back at Beverly Hills City Hall, which suddenly looks just a little bike-friendlier.

Looking back at Beverly Hills City Hall, which suddenly looks just a little bike-friendlier.

At least, that’s where I rode, since stopped traffic blocked access to the center of the lane, anyway.

On the ride home, the westbound lanes skipped a block between where the L.A. lanes end just at Doheny, and the Beverly Hills lanes picked up a block later.

After all this time, it seems like a minor miracle that Beverly Hills finally has bike lanes. And maybe a warning sign of the apocalypse.

And of course, they installed bike lanes on one of the streets in Beverly Hills that doesn’t need them, since it was more than wide enough to ride outside of the traffic lane as it was.

But still. They’re actually here.

We all owe a round of thanks to Mark Elliot of Better Bike, who has been leading an almost single-handed, and finally successful. fight for cyclists in the Biking Grey Hole.

Which could take a little getting used to.


Reward in hit-and-run murder of David Granados, new video in Beverly Hills road rage attack

April 26, 2013

Maybe the city is getting serious about hit-and-runs.

Or at least, the kind that leaves an 18-year old bike rider lying dead in the street.

As you may recall, 18-year old David Alexander Granados was attempting to cross Oxnard Street in the crosswalk at Bellaire Avenue when he was hit by a speeding SUV that ran the red light, throwing his body nearly 200 feet according to witness estimates. A friend who saw the collision told police Granados had the right of way, and looked both ways before crossing the street.

In other words, despite doing everything right, he was murdered by a lawbreaking motorist who fled the scene like a heartless coward, rather than face the consequences of his actions. And his killer continues to hide despite numerous pleas for him to come forward, and offers of forgiveness from the victim’s family.

Now the L.A. City Council will vote Tuesday to offer a $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the suspect.

The LAPD has released security camera footage of the suspect vehicle, a white or silver Mercedes M Class SUV with likely damage to the passenger side, driven by a man in his 50s.

Anyone with information is urged to call Valley Traffic Division Officer M. Tucker at 818-644-8063.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

……..

On a related note, the Beverly Hills Police Department has released a pair of new videos showing the vehicle involved in the road rage assault on a bicyclist in an alley just off Wilshire Blvd on April 3rd.

The videos show a white, newer model BMW 3281; the driver is described as a white or Middle Eastern man in his mid-30s with dark hair and eyes, and a slender build.

Despite the lengthy delay in announcing the case to the public, the BHPD appears to be taking the case seriously, seeking the driver on suspicion of attempted murder.

Anyone with information should call Det. Eric Hyon at 310/285-2156.

……..

A letter on the Encinitas Patch site reports that fund has been established for the family of fallen Carlsbad cyclist Eric Ringdahl, who was killed by an allegedly sleeping driver while riding in the bike lane on El Camino Real last Sunday.

To make a donation to help support Eric’s family, please send checks to the “Eric Ringdahl Memorial Fund.” Checks may be deposited at any Wells Fargo Branch or mailed to Wells Fargo, 277 N. El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024.

The letter fills in the blanks in his biography, confirming that he worked in cell-based therapies at Cytori Therapeutics Inc. He leaves behind his wife Amy, an amateur triathlete, as well as three children ranging from five to nine.

In a tragic irony, the family has been active in efforts to improve road safety, working to get a new stop sign near their children’s school.

……..

Finally, a 25-year old Berkeley-area cancer patient leaves a note for the jerk who stole his or her bike, apparently attached to the one remaining wheel the thief left behind.

The note adds that the rider didn’t drive, and the bike was the only means of transportation to get to oncologist appointments.

And that “Biking made me happy.”

However, the first — and so far, only — comment to the story goes a long way towards restoring my faith in humanity.

i have a bike – you can have it.


Breaking news: Cyclist attacked in Beverly Hills road rage assault; rider not seriously injured

April 23, 2013

More bad news from the Biking Black Hole.

News is just breaking that a bike rider was deliberately attacked with a motor vehicle after the rider hit the driver in a road rage dispute.

According to the Beverly Hills Police, the incident occurred nearly three weeks ago, around 6 pm on Wednesday, April 3rd.

Evidently, they don’t feel an urgent need to keep the public informed of violent crime on their streets. Let alone for the prompt release of information that might lead to the arrest of a dangerous suspect.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, reportedly punched the driver of a white, possibly 2008 model year BMW 328i in the face. The motorist threatened to kill the rider, and followed him into an alley in the 9000 block of Wilshire Blvd, between Wetherly and Almont Drives; a Google satellite view shows alleys on both sides of the street behind the buildings facing Wilshire.

The driver then intentionally rammed the cyclist with his car, pinning him against a metal trash bin. Fortunately, the rider was not seriously injured; the fact that the trash bin was on rollers may have lessened the force of the impact.

The assault was captured on security footage; the attacker can clearly be seen reversing course in the alley and striking the victim, who clings to the mirror of the car as it backs away. Once he’s thrown off, he walks back to collect his bike.

There’s no word from the police on what caused the dispute.

Yes, the rider broke the law in striking the driver, regardless of what led up to it. It’s possible that he could face criminal or civil charges for assaulting the driver unless it can be shown that he hit him in self-defense; however, that requires that the action is necessary to halt a current or imminent physical attack.

The far more serious crime, though, is the motorist using his vehicle in a deliberate attempt to injure or kill the rider after the initial incident had concluded. It should be no different under the law than someone who gets into a fight in a bar, then goes out to the parking lot and shoots the person he’d argued with.

This is a clear case of assault with a deadly weapon. Any claim the driver may have had to self-defense ended the moment the cyclist initially rode away.

The suspect is described as a Middle Eastern or White male in his mid-30s, with dark hair and eyes, and a thin build; the Beverly Hills Courier has a somewhat sketchy sketch of the suspect. The car suffered possible minor front-end damage, although it may have been repaired by now.

Hopefully, the BHPD can overcome the delay in releasing this information and bring a violent criminal to justice.

And take this for fair warning.

As tempting as it may be sometimes to get even with the jackass that just ran you off the road, it’s never a good idea. There are some crazyass, and potentially very violent, people out there.

And it doesn’t take much to set them off.


What the f*** is wrong with Beverly Hills??????

April 11, 2013

Excuse me if I’m a little livid.

Okay, mad as hell, to the point that my head may explode.

Because once again, a story has surfaced of a cyclist seriously injured on the streets of Beverly Hills. And once again, the local gendarmerie is either incompetent, or just doesn’t give a damn about a bike rider bleeding on their streets as a heartless motorist just drives away.

It’s an all-too-common complaint I’ve heard from far too many bike riders. They get hit by a car in the Biking Black Hole, and there’s little or no follow-up by the Beverly Hills police.

And as a result, little or no justice.

The latest case comes courtesy of L.A. Streetsblog, as they follow-up with Paul Livingston, a rider so critically injured in a hit-and-run that he’s able to walk only through the miracle of modern medicine.

Let alone still alive.

The last thing Paul remembers that day is being put on a stretcher before he woke up in a hospital bed six days later. He suffered spinal and pelvic fractures. His pelvic bone, broken in half and pushed upwards into his bladder had severed blood vessels causing him to bleed internally. When he was first admitted to the hospital he was hypotensive, which means his organs were shutting down with the lack of blood and his body was going into shock. Paul underwent three abdominal surgeries within the first two days just to stop the bleeding. On the fourth day, the doctors were able to fix his pelvis and then he went through spine surgery only to have pelvic surgery once again to get it back to its original position. Paul also suffered from post-operative infection from the abdominal surgeries. Finally, with his fever gone, he was healthy enough to have his spinal fusion – as a result, Paul is a bit shorter now.

You’d think that any competent police agency would conduct a thorough investigation of such a serious felony, and do everything necessary to bring the near-killer driver to justice.

You’d think.

I ask him about the person who hit him, self-identified as Victoria Chin. He tells me that during the time of his recuperation, he had been in touch with the Beverly Hills Police Department to find out what was going on with the woman who hit him and then ran. Apparently, they were dropping the ball on his case as they never even processed her car for evidence. And her explanation for not stopping, as given to the BHPD, “There was no place to park.”

The technical loophole that Victoria Chin falls into is that no one could properly identify her even though the day after the collision she called the BHPD herself. The police officer she spoke to said she had to come in to the police station to turn herself in. She then called back saying she would be in tomorrow. The police officer reminded her to bring her car in for processing. The next day, Chin showed up without her car and with a lawyer. She only admitted to being Victoria Chin refusing to say anything else. Her lawyer asked the police officer if they were going to book his client. BHPD said no. So, the lawyer asked if they were going to arrest his client. BHPD said no.

They let Victoria Chin go. No arrest. No charges.

It’s far from the first time something similar has happened.

Beverly Hills police and courts have repeatedly dropped the ball on cases involving cyclists. And while they have responded to pressure from riders, it shouldn’t be up to us to force them to do their damn jobs.

Now don’t get me wrong.

I’m not anti-police.

In fact, I have a great deal of respect for most cops, and have often been impressed with the responsiveness of the LAPD when I’ve dealt with them on various issues. While there are always a few bad apples, I’ve found overwhelming majority of officers are caring and committed to doing their best to protect the public and bring justice to those who have been wronged.

With the obvious exception of the NYPD, who the Beverly Hills police are evidently trying to emulate in their lack of responsiveness in incidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians.

But there is simply no excuse for any department dropping the ball so badly in so many cases where bike riders are run down on their streets. And given that it happens so often, the question arises whether it’s the fault of a few incompetent cops, or if there is a willful, systemic bike-blindness within the department that emanates from the top down.

It’s not a question I can answer right now.

Fortunately, charges were finally filed in the Livingston case, despite the failure of the department to conduct the most basic investigation.

In late august 2012, over a year after the crime, Don Ward wrote about the crash here at Streetsblog and elsewhere informing people about Paul’s situation and called on the cycling community to join them at the Beverly Hills City Council Meeting to draw attention to his case.

For a moment, Paul pauses his story, speechless, he swallows and then tells me that four months later, after the public outcry and the persistency of his lawyer, Otto Haselhoff, the DA of Beverly Hills is finally pressing charges. The helplessness that Paul describes to me, all his suffering, mental and physical anguish, had begun to lift. He quit drinking, started jogging, he was able sleep through the night.

“Knowing that something can be done, that there will be some kind of justice, this changed my life.”

Maybe so.

It’s long past time for Beverly Hills Police Chief David Snowden and new Mayor John Mirisch to meet with bicyclists to find some solutions to the dangers we face on their streets. And the apparent lack of support we get from the police.

In the meantime, I will continue to avoid Beverly Hills as much as possible. Not just because of their failure to provide a single inch of bikeway anywhere in the city.

But because I don’t trust the police to give a damn conduct a thorough and honest investigation if I end up bleeding on their streets.


Maybe it’s time for a Beverly Hills boycott; confused Highland Park grocer opposes bike lanes

October 11, 2012

Let’s catch up on the recent news.

………

Beverly Hills declares war on L.A. transit users by actively opposing Measure J, which would speed up key transit projects throughout the county.

In other words, in order to keep it from going under Beverly Hills High, they’re more than willing to prevent the Subway to the Sea — and many other major projects that would serve transit users far from their over-privileged, Tiffany-crusted burg — from being built in our lifetimes.

Personally, I go out of my way to avoid spending money in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, thanks to their almost complete lack of bicycling infrastructure.

Although to be fair, they do have a handful of bike racks to accommodate the riders they don’t accommodate in any other way.

But I’ve never called for a boycott of the city.

Maybe it’s time to change that.

………

Talk about tone deaf.

An Highland Park grocer opposes the bike lanes on York Blvd in front of his store — as well as bike racks — in the name of safety. Despite the fact that he ran over a little boy riding on the sidewalk in front of his store just six months ago.

And despite the fact that bike lanes move cyclists out of the way of that high-speed traffic he worries about — and helps keep more timid riders off the sidewalk.

Just a slight disconnect there.

And never mind that it’s legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in Los Angeles — and yes, that is part of L.A. — despite what he says the boy’s mother was told by police.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Update: Evidently, the grocery owner isn’t the only one who’s confused; I originally misplaced the market as being in Eagle Rock, rather than Highland Park. And misspelled Erik Griswold’s name as Eric.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, maxima mea culpa. Thanks to bikingly for the corrections.

………

SoCal bike scribe Patrick Brady of the Red Kite Prayer website goes down hard on Tuna Canyon Wednesday, requiring nine hours in the ER and nearly 50 stitches from a skilled plastic surgeon. Cycling in the Southbay says it could have been a lot worse — and could have happened to any of us.

Let’s hope he heals soon.

And if you’ve never read Brady’s writing, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. No one writes more beautifully about the sport we love.

………

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department launches its own probe into the death of Alfonso Cerda, killed in a collision with a Sheriff’s patrol car early Monday morning; despite initial reports, Cerda was unarmed — and was a U.S. citizen. There’s still time to participate online in Malibu’s PCH safety study. A section of the L.A. River bike path near Griffith Park will be closed for approximately four months to make room for — what else? — more cars. The North Mason Avenue bike lane could be closed for six months to allow parking at a newly built school; God forbid they should encourage students to walk, bike or bus to class. The monthly Spoke(n) Art Ride rolls this Saturday. Better Bike looks at the newly forming Bicycle Crash Support Group. Claremont City Council has the courage to reject speed limit increases mandated by a highly flawed law. The L.A. County Bicycle Festival takes place at the Fairgrounds in Pomona this Saturday and Sunday, including the annual Spooky Cross cyclocross race and a Velo Swap Meet and Market to raise funds for the Pomona Valley Bike Coalition.

An Orange County perspective on the melting post that is CicLAvia. The Orange County Bicycle Coalition looks at traffic collision data for Newport Beach. A Newport Beach community group talks bike safety. Solana Beach approves traffic calming and bike lanes on a busy street. Why doesn’t anyone ever suggest calling out aggressive drivers? Ventura County bike ride will raise funds for a cyclist seriously injured by alleged DUI driver. Berkeley gets its first CicLAvia-style Sunday Streets event this weekend; thanks to Meghan Lynch for the tip. A Sonoma driver drops dead in his driveway one day after running down two cyclists, critically injuring one.

New study explains how bike helmets work to reduce brain injuries. Bicycling explores what it’s like to dope; as Cyclelicious points out, it’s not just the pros who dope, just different drugs. Seattle cyclists get a permanent bike counter on a popular bridge; it’s long past time L.A. had a few. Clearly, killer hit-and-run drivers aren’t just an L.A. problem; thanks to Rick Risemberg for the link. If a 90-year old Wisconsin driver who ran down a cyclist on a bike path is incompetent to stand trial, why was he considered capable of driving? New York mandates safety classes for delivery cyclists. Studies from Portland and New York show the economic benefits of bicycling; in the East Village, at least, they get that bikes mean business. A Brit cyclist is hit by a school bus just 65 miles from the finish of a San Diego to New York ride.

Lady Gaga plans a charity bike ride for her Born This Way Foundation; for once, spandex bike clothes may not seem garish in comparison. Toronto considers whether an e-bike should be treated like a bicycle. Jakarta cyclists love the city’s newly constructed longest bikeway, though some question the quality. Where will the next generation of affordable bikes come from, now that Chinese manufacturing costs are going up? A drunk Brazilian driver deliberately runs down a group of cyclists.

Finally, the Dallas Department of DIY has been hard at work installing bikeways — even if the local press doesn’t know the difference between a bike lane and a sharrow. And a Gilbert AZ cyclist pleads guilty to the illegal citizen’s arrest of a jogger running in a bike lane.

Tempting, I know.


The Biking Black Hole can’t get it right; no justice in Texas, and road rage is all the rage these days

September 8, 2012

A little news and a whole lot of links to wrap up the week.

………

Police in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills offer safety tips for cyclists, but can’t manage to get it quite right.

Bike riders are required to ride as close to the right as practicable, not as far right as possible, as they state. There’s a big difference, which any police officer should understand.

And which is scary as hell when they don’t.

Riding as far to the right as possible puts riders in the gutter and door zones, and gives police an excuse to ticket anyone with the audacity to take the lane. Riding as far right as practicable keeps cyclists out of the way of swinging doors and broken glass, and allows them to legally ride in the center of non-sharable lanes.

Which is basically the difference between being bike friendly and observing the law, and making sure riders know they aren’t welcome in your city.

Meanwhile, the city considers adding an handful of bike racks, but banning locking bikes to virtually anything else.

In other words, once again appearing to support cycling while actively discouraging it.

………

Amazingly, the Texas driver who ran down tandem cyclists Greg and Alexanda Bruehler in 2009 — resulting in the single saddest photo I’ve ever seen — has been acquitted in their deaths.

Clearly, there is no justice for cyclists in the state of Texas.

The driver was doing 79 in a 65 mph zone when he failed to see the riders wearing hi-viz vests, and drifted off the roadway onto the shoulder where they were riding. The defense won the case by arguing that anyone could have could have made the same mistake.

The scary thing is, they’re right.

Even scarier is no one really seems to care. Not even a jury.

………

There’s been a horrifying number of road rage and traffic violence stories in the news the past few days.

For instance, a Massachusetts driver punches a cyclist in the face after the rider’s bike falls over and scratches his car. Local police don’t get it when a Mass cyclist is deliberately doored. A Pittsburgh cyclist is chased up a flight of stairs, stabbed and cut from ear to ear in a brutal road rage assault. A Texas mixed martial arts fighter has been charged with the shooting death of a cyclist after they apparently argued last year; even in Texas, shooting someone because you feel disrespected is a rather extreme response. A former Florida police officer threatens two cyclists with a knife when one flips him off after he threw something at the riders. A Hamilton Ontario cyclist is beaten by a pickup driver after being yelled at, then grazed by the truck’s mirror. A road-raging Toronto cab driver faces up to five years in prison for backing into a cyclist following a dispute, causing the rider to lose a leg. A UK car passenger is sentenced to three years for jumping out of the car and beating a cyclist to a bloody pulp.

Proving it’s not just drivers, police find their suspect in a methadone clinic after a drunken Colorado cyclist pulls a knife on a driver. A Massachusetts cyclist bends a car’s antenna after an argument with a driver. A New York mob trashes a car after a collision with a cyclist during the Fashion’s Night Out celebration. A 16-year old cyclist breaks into a couple’s home after an argument over an open car door. And closer to home, the OC Weekly’s food writer gets into a little bike on bike action; thanks to David Bain for the heads-up.

So let me offer a little advice.

Having been the victim of a road rage assault, I would much rather get off my bike and let the jackass pass than have an angry, potentially violent, driver behind me.

And no matter how much you think the other party deserves it, violence is never justified — it’s far more likely to jeopardize your own life and freedom than teach the other person a damn thing.

One more bit of hard-earned advice.

Never flip off the driver behind you.

Trust me. I’ve learned the hard way that cars are bigger than me, and they hurt.

………

Some idiot jackass stole the bike Jerico Culata was riding as he lay dying on last week’s Critical Mass ride; there’s not a pit in hell deep enough for someone like that. Formerly bike-unfriendly Malibu has come a long way, now launching an interactive website to explore improving safety on PCH — for bicyclists and everyone else. The city will also be conducting public hearings on the subject the next four Thursdays. Rapper The Game comes to the rescue of a cyclist who was unresponsive after a crash with his bike on top of him — the cyclist, not The Game — no word on how the rider got that way. LADOT introduces new street signs for Bike Friendly Streets. A Sierra Madre driver sees a girl riding her bike, but steps on the gas instead of the brakes; local police say “oops.”

Bike Lawyer Bob Mionske looks at California’s recently passed three-foot passing law and CEQA exemption for bike lanes. San Clemente gets over $1 million in grants for bike and pedestrian projects. NPR looks at charges that Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital sent jobs from Santa Ana-based GT Bicycles overseas; seems like there’s some truth on both sides. San Diego plans to encourage cycling in the “fun” communities. A San Diego cyclist suffers major leg injuries in a crash with a delivery truck. A North San Diego County writer asks who owns the roads, and correctly concludes we all do. An 18-year old salmon cyclist is seriously injured in a Temecula left cross collision. A bike rider in Perris suffers major injuries in a collision with a minivan on a street that somehow seems to simultaneously run both south and west. Rancho Mirage tells cyclists to walk their bikes on the sidewalk across a bridge — even though it has a bike lane. Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious is run off the bike path by an overly aggressive rider. A Modesto cyclist is killed after both he and the driver who hit him run a four-way stop; guess which one will probably get the blame? San Francisco cyclists will get their own lane on The Embarcadero during next month’s America’s Cup races.

People for Bikes looks at biking to school. A cyclist watches an idiot bike rider from his position behind the wheel; thanks to Jerry Oser for the heads-up. Barbie rides a bike. New foldable bike helmet fits odd shaped heads. Suffering the emotional scars of urban cycling. A Portland man moves forward with a statewide initiative requiring bike license plates and licenses for bike riders. An Albuquerque court imposes the maximum sentence on a drugged driver who killed the bike riding manager of the local REI. The 13-year old Milwaukee girl who laughed about it after killing a cyclist while street racing in a stolen car has been ordered into mental health treatment; well no shit. Ohio suffers three cycling fatalities in one week. An Atlantic City cyclist is killed when he’s caught in the crossfire in a gunfight. An Alabama driver won’t be cited after colliding with a cyclist who was riding on the sidewalks illegally. Long Beach’s bicycling expats, now Portland residents, visit our buddy Zeke in North Carolina. A Florida driver with drugs in her system receives the maximum sentence for killing a cyclist — a six-month suspension of her drivers license; no wonder the Sunshine State leads the nation in bike and pedestrian deaths.

A Toronto writer is taken down by streetcar tracks while trying to maneuver around a truck blocking the right lane. A London magazine editor apologizes after writing that “the only good cyclist is a dead cyclist,” noting that he was merely being ironic with his heartfelt wishes that you and I would just die and get it over with. London considers, probably not seriously, a multi-million-pound network of elevated bikeways. UK driving instructors want bicycle awareness to be part of the driving test. Former Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi wins gold in the Paralympic handcycle time trial 11 years after losing his legs in a horrific crash. Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree cancels his attempt at a record setting 100 mph bike ride, saying his ride isn’t ready yet. An 11-year old French boy finds a brake lever imbedded in his thigh months after a bike crash; even my stomach turned a little writing that one. One of the better Vueltas in years is slowly coming to a conclusion, as Contador holds a seemingly comfortable lead after bouncing back from a drug scandal that stripped him of his 2010 Tour de France victory; maybe current and former dopers should form their own bike racing league so they can take whatever the hell they want and not have to worry about getting caught.

Finally, a UK cyclist apparently accomplishes the rather remarkable feat of rounding a corner on the sidewalk at 20 mph; even more remarkable is the arthritic pensioner who claims he managed to stop the speeding rider merely by putting his arms out.

Superman ain’t got nothing on him.


Urgent action needed on Expo bikeway and Beverly Hills; more breaking news on the legal front

August 20, 2012

Big news on the legal front to start your week.

Along with a call for urgent action on the Expo Bikeway, and to fight hit-and-run in the seemingly heartless biking black hole of Beverly Hills.

As well as your chance to be an ambassador for bicycling in your own neighborhood.

………

Let’s start with the long-awaited Expo Line bikeway, which appears to be rapidly turning into a train wreck for Westside cyclists.

Expo Bicycle Advisory Committee member Damien Newton offers a detailed background on just how and why the plan is riding off the rails. It’s a must read for anyone who cares about the safety of cyclists on our streets.

Which is where cyclists will end up when the planned bikeway forces them onto dangerous crossings. Or when they avoid the bikeway entirely because they feel safer on busy high-speed streets than on a badly designed, rushed and corner-cutting bikeway.

Fortunately, you still have a chance to put your foot down and demand the Expo Line Authority start listening to the BAC they appointed, rather dictating bad design from above.

The LACBC is calling for concerned cyclists — and yes, you should be very concerned — to attend the next Expo BAC meeting at 8 am tomorrow at the Skanska-Rados Joint Venture Field Office, on the 3rd floor at 11390 W. Olympic Blvd.

If you can’t make it, they — and I — urge you to email the list of Expo Directors on their website today to demand a safer bikeway from Downtown to Santa Monica. They also provide a sample email you can use as a template.

It will only take you a few minutes to write and send an email.

And the bikeway you save could be your own.

………

Meanwhile, Don Ward, aka Roadblock, calls on cyclists to attend the next Beverly Hills City Council session on Thursday to demand an end to their local — and hopefully unofficial —policy of letting hit-and-run drivers off the hook without even the slap on the wrist they get in most jurisdictions.

Ward points out a recent case in which a cyclist was severely injured, and the driver actually came forward to confess. Yet the case was so badly bungled by local authorities that no charges were ever filed.

According to Beverly Hills PD a break came the next day when the alleged driver, Victoria Chin, phoned in to confess her crime. Detectives arranged for her to turn herself in that day. They requested she bring the car in as well. This is where things apparently got complicated for the Beverly Hills Detectives. After flaking on her first appointment, Chin showed up the following day along with a lawyer but without her car. Beverly Hills Detectives acknowledge that they failed to process her confession and they sent her home without booking or arresting her.

Months later, citing issues not fully understood, the case was declined by District Attorney Steven Katz. Katz claims that since there was no car in custody, and the woman confessed on the phone and not in person, there was not enough evidence to move forward with a case. Questions arise of whether this is an isolated incident or part of a larger pattern of Beverly Hills apathy towards cyclists… Paul was not the first hit and run victim in recent memory to be denied justice by the city.

………

Brett Morin, the other driver charged in the road racing death of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado, has accepted a peal deal. He’s scheduled for sentencing on October 3rd; considering the gift of a sentence given the driver who actually killed Alvarado, don’t expect more than a slightly harsh caress of the wrist.

………

Our anonymous Orange County source reports that we finally have convictions in the case of two allegedly drunk Huntington Beach speed racers who flew off the road, critically injuring a cyclist riding on the beachfront bike path.

Yes, even separated bikeways aren’t safe from speed-crazed Southern California drivers.

And yes, both have once again gotten off with a relative slap on the wrist — even if one appears to be a tough sentence for that particular judge.

Which says far more about our SoCal court system than we should be willing to tolerate.

Glenn Michael Moore & Michael Dennis Roach are the scumbags who were skunk drunk at half past eight on a Sunday morning and racing each other down PCH (can’t be late for church!!!) when they clipped each other.  Both speeding vehicles flew down an embankment.  Moore’s car slammed into Richard Lauwers as he rode his bike on the completely segregated beach bike path.  The next speeding vehicle on PCH was the responding ambulance.

Lauwers was having a nice quiet ride after a leisurely weekend breakfast at our famous Sugar Shack.  He would’ve been home in another twenty minutes.  Instead he ended up in the ICU, where he spent six days.

On Wednesday, Moore pleaded guilty to all counts against him.  He was sentenced to fines & restitution, one year in jail (stayed), three years of formal probation, and a  “First Offender Alcohol Program.”  Oh, and his license was suspended for a year.  I can’t figure this one out, because I’m working with insufficient data here.  IF Moore was before Judge Adams, who generally presides over that particular courtroom and is lenient, AND had a good lawyer (and by all accounts his lawyer is very good), AND he doesn’t have an extensive rap sheet (he’s pretty clean in OC at least), then this is a surprisingly tough sentence.  It’s still insufficient, but it’s certainly on par for Judge Adams and our overtaxed justice system in general.

Meanwhile, Michael Dennis Roach appears to have three separate sentences for the single count of engaging in a speed contest with injuries to another: two sentences for 90 days in jail, and a third for 90 days of service in lieu thereof.  Also, three years of formal probation as well.  Dunno what this is about, but there’ll be further proceedings on the 28th. Also, the OCDA unearthed a DUI with property damage that Roach had committed in November 2001 (while driving on a suspended license, but never mind that); a second DUI within 10 years could have resulted in a stiffer sentence, but oddly, his DUI charge and its enhancement were dismissed.

Did I ever mention that I have a real problem with drivers who put everyone else at risk because they can’t keep their damn feet off the accelerator — let alone get behind the wheel when they’re drunk or stoned?

The good news is that Lauwers is okay, and back on his bike.

………

The LACBC is offering a way to become more active as a bicycling advocate in your own neighborhood. And make a real difference where you live and ride.

The new Neighborhood Bike Ambassador program is designed to empower you to influence the implementation of the L.A. bike plan, as well as programs developed by the LACBC.

The first kick-off meeting takes place tonight in the Valley, followed by four others throughout the L.A. area over the next 10 days. The meetings — and the program itself — are open to everyone; you can sign up to be a Bike Ambassador here.

………

Finally, a few other brief notes from the world of bicycling.

In a truly shocking case, a Santa Rosa driver takes his road rage off road, chasing a cyclist 100 yards onto a golf course before running him down with his car. The good news is, an arrest has been made; the bad news is, the 81-year old driver has done it at least twice before. And was still allowed to drive.

Thanks to Emily C for the heads-up.

………

The schmuck who kidnapped and murdered Louisiana cyclist Mickey Shunick pleads guilty to first degree murder in her death, as well as that of another woman. Hopefully they’ll shove him so deep into the living hell that is Louisiana’s Angola Prison that he’ll never see the light of day again.

………

Police may have solved the recent rash of Calnago thefts. The Orange County Bicycle Coalition reports hat two stolen Calnagos have been recovered when they were abondoned by the thieves outside an OC Dennys, and a third was recovered in a West Hollywood pawn shop through stolenbikeregistry.com.

No word yet on arrests in the case.

The L.A. Times offers a nice profile of Cypress Park’s Flying Pigeon bike shop and the eponymous Chinese bikes they love and sell.

………

And a PA cyclist moons a couple in a passing car, then threatens them with his bike seat before crashing into a police cruiser.

Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.


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