Shoot the messengers, but ride with them first

This is gonna be short. (That’s what he said.)

On Wednesday, September 3, the LA County Bicycle Coalition is rolling out from the crash site on Mulholland to hand deliver a letter urging the Los Angeles County District Attorney to revisit the decision by assistant D.A. Rosa Alarcon not to file charges against Deputy Andrew Wood for killing cyclist Milton Olin, and to consider prosecuting him for vehicular manslaughter.

I hope you’ll join us for some or all of the route, which is:

  • 4:00 p.m. Meet at crash site (around 22532 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA 91302)
  • 4:15 p.m. Moment of silence
  • 4:30 p.m. Start ride
  • 6:30 p.m. Leave from the L.A. Zoo parking lot (5333 Zoo Dr, Griffith Park, CA 90027). Other riders can meet up here.
  • 7:30-8:00 p.m. Arrive at District Attorney’s office (210 W Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012)
  • 8:00 p.m. Candlelight vigil

See more information on the LACBC website: la-bike.org/milt-olin

It will be a slow pace, no-drop ride.

This is a great way to get off the Internet and venture out into the “meatspace,” where real shit happens. Let’s all take a stand for Milton Olin and the other bicyclists who have been killed because some cager decided that texting was more important than watching the road.

This one’s for Milton.

END

P.S.: While you’re at it, you can sign this petition demanding that the District Attorney file charges.

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I’d rather have you pedaling in person, but if you’d prefer to kick in a couple of bucks, well, that’s fine, too. Here’s the link: $2.99 per month to subscribe to this blog and support its randomness and biketivism, which is kind of a bargain. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

15 thoughts on “Shoot the messengers, but ride with them first”

  1. Penal Code Section 192(c)(2), driving a vehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, but without gross negligence, is vehicular manslaughter.

  2. Unfortunately can’t make the ride but signed the petition. This is much more blatant than the Simi officer who shared her perspective of how cyclists should be dealt with and was promptly removed. This act must not go unpunished!

  3. Here’s a great letter to the DA:

    District Attorney Lacey,

    I ride my bike almost every day sometimes just for fun, sometimes for transportation, and often for training as a cyclist. Every day I wonder if this will be the day I won’t make it home. I live on the other side of the country in NJ, but the situation is the same across the nation. In my experience, many drivers have caused near-misses because they are inattentive, or simply do not see a bike as a vehicle, or in fact don’t see a bike rider at all. Some other drivers are outright aggressive making me fear for my life–thankfully these are in the minority, but on rides of 20-50-70 miles or more, it is likely that I will encounter at least one. And it only takes one… I have been cut off, almost side swiped, had things thrown at me, and had drivers screaming that I shouldn’t be riding on the road (a particular woman this summer driving with her lunch on her lap, coffee cup in hand, yelling that she “pays insurance and is a registered driver”.) I’m the mother of 6 kids and I have 3 grandchildren, and luckily in the approximately 40 years of actively cycling (for many years with a child on the bike) I have not been involved a serious incident. I ride safely, but I am daily faced with the reality that I am taking my life in my hands when I get on my bike. I try to shake it off, get on the bike, and keep my 360 internal radar on. I tried recently to use a near-miss as a teachable moment with a truck driver who cut me off. I was able to hit the brake levers fast enough to stop with my front wheel touching his door, barely able to keep my head from crashing through his window. He had almost killed me as he cut across my path, yet he defended himself saying that I should have slowed down for him to make his right turn, and that I was “going too fast.” He argued with me that I had no right to be riding in the shoulder on the right side of the road impeding his right turn. Basically he asserted his right to continue this kind of driving behavior, and next time, when he cuts off another cyclist and (possibly) kills him or her, he will feel confident that he was within his rights. (In several recent incidents (deaths) in NJ there have been no charges.)

    Drivers of motor vehicles need to be made aware that there is no excuse for distracted or aggressive driving, and that there will be consequences. Bicycle riders are on the road to stay, and we all have to look out for one another to make this work.

    This is a copy of part of the letter that you may already have received, but I think is worth repeating:

    Milt Olin’s death hits very close to home for me. He was doing absolutely everything right: riding correctly in a bike lane in broad daylight. In contrast, the person who killed him was doing everything wrong: typing on a computer, texting his wife, speeding, and ultimately veering into the bike lane and hitting Milt from behind. As a result, Milt is no longer alive, leaving a grieving wife and two sons who will likely never feel comfortable riding a bike on the road ever again.

    As a community, it is critical that we work in a coordinated effort to reduce traffic violence. It is one of the leading causes of death for all age groups and communities across the county. We all must do our part to behave responsibly while driving or riding, and support infrastructure changes to our streets to make them safer for all. Your decision not to prosecute Milt’s killer undermines all of our hard work to make our streets safe and humane. As a result, we can no longer feel safe to move about our communities–no different than if you had chosen not to prosecute any other violent criminal.

    It is not too late to correct this injustice. Please reconsider your decision and file charges in this case so that those of us that bike and walk can again feel that we are protected by the justice system.

    Thank you.
    Polli Schildge

  4. And another great letter:

    Dear District Attorney Lacey,

    I have been an active bicyclist and have ridden all over the greater Los Angeles area for over 30 years. Also, for the past 7 years I have served my city, Rancho Palos Verdes in a volunteer capacity on the Traffic Safety Committee. We work closely with the LA County Sheriff’s department and continuously strive to improve roadway safety. I have the utmost respect for the Sheriff’s Department and appreciate all that they do for our community.

    That said there is no reason in my mind to not file charges in the case of Sheriff Deputy Andrew Wood who struck and killed Milt Olin in Calabasas on December 8, 2013. I have no doubt that if a citizen killed a Sheriff’s Deputy due to distracted driving charges would be filed – as they should! And I trust that if a citizen driver had struck a cyclist under similar circumstances charges would be filed in that case as well. I do realize that emergency responders are exempt from restrictions on using communication devices while on duty but that does not negate the broad statute that prohibits distracted driving. Electing to not file charges in this case gives the impression that there are two sets of laws, one for law enforcement and another for everyone else. It also gives the incorrect impression that bicycles do not belong on the roadways since it is ok if one happens to get in the way of a car.

    Please reconsider your decision and file charges in this case so that we can improve roadway safety for all modes of transportation. We must send a message that distracted driving under any circumstances will not be tolerated. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    David Kramer

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