Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Months after Bicycle Accident U2’s Bono Still Unable to Play Guitar in Paris

So of course, being a Gen X er, I am a child of the 80's, when America was feared, the economy was rocking, and patriotism was en vogue. And of course, I was also an anarchist, punk rocker living in Anaheim Hills when U2 broke the album "War." Best album ever, especially considering MV3 with Richard Blade, and MTV.

Songs like Gloria and War made my life better, and clearly not just mine. As my readers all know, I ride almost daily, and was floored when I saw that Bono, a bicyclist himself, had been downed in a Los Angeles bicycle accident. Five months ago U2’s front man Bono was involved in a bike crash and has said he is still having problems with his arm broken during the crash.  The lead man of U2 broke his arm in six places, fractured his shoulder, elbow, left hand and eye socket in the November, Central Park crash.  The guitarist said even after surgery, intensive therapy he is still trying to get back to normal and is unable to play the guitar.

And all those facts were revealed as truth and not fiction, last night in Paris. Bono looked exhausted, tired, and ready to retire in my honest opinion. I felt so bad, for my life and all its injuries are so interconnected to his own malaise. Many may be unaware, but prior to the concert, the Irish U2 front man said in an interview that it feels like he has someone else’s hand attached to his wrist, and he is unable to bend his fingers comparing it to rigor mortis. Bono went on to explain he was told the nerves heal approximately a millimeter per-week and said he should know in about 13 months if he will be able to continue playing the instrument.

"Titanium Elbow" is Not a Song

He said his shoulder’s better and face, but he has titanium and numbness and the most difficult is not being able to play his guitar. Though he stated the members of U2 do not appear to mind. Bono said if he could not “finger the frets of his green Irish falcon or Red Gretsch” he would miss it because of the pleasure he gets from playing, just as he does from writing songs. The rocker said he doesn’t know any other guitarists that have a titanium elbow.

Bono said he isn’t sure of the details about the bike accident he has learned lesions from his mistakes and realizes he isn’t an “armored vehicle.” He said on his 50th birthday he was injured by over doing it with bicycling and boxing as an over compensation for consuming alcohol on his birthday. Bono said he “promised himself” that he would be more careful of his limits, but then he had his cycling accident.

Bono's Bones Were 'Sticking Out'

The Irish rocker said he can’t blame anyone except himself for the injuries and has no memory of being transported to New York Presbyterian Hospital after impact, but his humorous bone  was sticking through his leather jacket.

On the U2 website under Iris Pride the singer commented that recovery has been harder than he thought it would be. The website does have a large list of play dates for the upcoming tour.  Even without being able to play Bono is not sitting back, the 54 year old Irishman is headed on tour with the band kicking off in Canada later in December with their Beautiful Day tour.  Was terrible that Bono did not strike a single guitar, and that at times, he looked crippled.

My wife and I personally saw U2 at the Rose Bowl playing to a record crowd, and we are both praying to Christ that he will mend, and be back. But just in case he is on his last legs, we wanted to thank Bono for giving us a beautiful life. Thanks Bono for enduring the pain and exhaustion in Paris last night. And keep on riding bikes mate. Surrender to the fun.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Truth About Los Angeles Bicycle Accidents

The truth about Los Angeles Bicycle accidents is a scary thing. The car turns into your path as you ride my bicycle down to the Marina del Rey pier and a car turns left in front of you without looking. The driver was talking on her cell and putting on make up. Cyclists call it getting "T-boned."

In Los Angeles County alone, at least 34 cyclists die every year in car crash collisions. At least 2,900 cyclists are injured in LA every year. Many car drivers don't know or simply do not even care that bicyclists have the same rights and are governed by the same regulations as motor vehicles.

Wearing a bicycle helmet is the first step for cyclists to avoid serious injury or death, according Arline Dillman, who is a Traffic Safety Manager at the Automobile Club of Southern California. Statistics from the California Highway Patrol, prove that only two of the 28 cyclists killed in LA in 1999 wore their helmet. Bicycles are used on the road for many purposes.

A study by of bicycle accidents in LA suggests that children from 5 to 14 years old have the highest bike crash incidents. This is despite the fact there is a legal requirement in California for bicyclists under the of 18 to wear bicycle helmets.

Safe Bicycling Information:
  • Wear a helmet approved for bicyclists by the state.
  • Ride with the flow of traffic.
  • Obey signs and traffic signals.
  • Use hand signals.
  • Stay in the bike lane if safe to do so.
  • Don't weave in and out of traffic and keep an eye out for swinging doors of cars that could cause you to flip.
  • If no bike lane provided, ride to the right side of motor vehicles.
  • Do not share narrow lanes - ride in the center. This is called "taking the lane" and it is in fact legal.

Bicycle Statistics:

  • The first car crash in the United States involved was an 1896 motor vehicle v. bicycle.
  • The fatality rate for bicyclists from 5 and 15 years old is almost double that of adult cyclists. For every youngster killed on a bike, at least 100 were seriously injured.
  • Alcohol involvement, either driver or cyclist, is often a factor in at least 1/3rd of bicyclists fatalities.
  • 112 cyclists were killed in California back in 1999.
  • At least 64 percent of all bikers wrongfully killed by cars in California were riding bikes while riding in their neighborhoods.
  • From 1986 and 1995 cars in Los Angeles County killed at least 340 bicyclists, and out of that, 29,920 were injured in motor vehicle accidents involving a bicycle.
If you were seriously injured or someone you love was killed in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles call our personal injury hotline at 888-400-9721.

Bar's Insurance Company to Pay over One Million for Fatal Bicycle Crash Caused By Alcohol

A lawsuit filed by the parents of the rider has been settled in amounts over one million dollars against the driver and a bar’s insurance company that served a bicyclist who was fatally wounded in December of 2006 after being hit by a drunk driver.

John Osborne, the plaintiff’s attorney said Robert L’Ecuyer and Barbara Nordlund agreed to the offer from Berky’s in the amount of $1 million dollars for the death of Paul L’Ecuyer. $25,000 is to be paid on Monday by Melissa Arrington’s insurance company, being just one day prior to the trial that was to be held in the Pima County Superior Court.

The death of Paul L’Ecuyer’s death resulted in a 10.5 year prison sentence for Arrington, decided in January 2008 by a jury who found her guilty of aggravated DUI and negligent homicide.

Jurors were told by prosecutors that about 8:40 p.m. 45 year old L’Ecuyer was in the bike lane on his Schwinn when Arrington struck him after swerving off of the road and finally coming to a stop after going 800 more feet.

Already driving on a license that had been suspended, Arrington’s blood-alcohol level showed to be 0.156 in a test that was performed 2 2/3 hours after the accident occurred, being twice the level for a DUI. Witnessing the crash, a witness stated that before the collision occurred Arrington had swerved off of the road two other times.

Arrington’s lawyers stated the collision was just a tragic accident.
Arrington stated in testimony that she had recently signed an agreement for lease to purchase on her home located in Vail, and stopped at Berky’s located at 5769 E. Speedway to celebrate with her friends, where she had three drinks. She also stated that as she was reaching for hand sanitizer is when the accident occurred.

Osborne stated that L’Ecuyer’s parents filed the lawsuit against Arrington and Berky’s as a reminder to everyone how important the need is to continue “working tirelessly to do away with drinking and driving and to over-serving at bars."
Osborne said that the plans for the settlement are going to be used for the funding of a scholarship named after their son shortly after he lost his life, and for the education of their nephews’ and neices’. Part of the money might also be donated to Phoenix College and the University of Arizona.

When Arrington was being sentenced, Judge Michael Cruikshank stated the reason an aggravated sentence was given to Arrington was because of a recorded phone call that he found between a friend and Arrington to be "breathtaking in its inhumanity." Instead of being silenced from shock, Arrington laughed during the call that was made from Pima County jail where the gentleman told Arrington that someone they were both acquainted with said she deserved "a medal and a (expletive) parade because she had taken out "a (expletive) tree hugger, a bicyclist, a Frenchman and a gay guy all in one shot."

When the man stated it was a terrible thing for him to say, after laughing Arrington simply responded with "No, it's not." During the proceedings of the hearing, siblings and L’Ecuyer’s mother described him as being being a person with "enormous ideals" who helped pass out Martin Luther King Jr. Day fliers and urging others to write down their goals and dreams, who rode in other charity events and handed out baskets to needy people for the Thanksgiving holiday.

L’Ecuyer held degrees in counseling and career development from Phoenix College and the University of Arizona, as well as degrees from Chapman University.
A phone call for comment was not returned by Martin Claire, an attorney from Phoenix that represents Berky’s.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Update On Bono Frontman for U2 Being Seriously Injured in Bicycle Crash

Bono age 54, suffered serious injuries in a Bicycle crash and will be out of action for an extended amount of time. As our readers will recall, the lead U2 band member sustained a broken left humerus bone in his left arm, shattered shoulder blade and facial fracture that included the orbit of his eye.

In total, Bono sustained six fractures at the elbow. Bono underwent five hours of surgery and orthopedic trauma surgeon Dean Lorich, MD stated his elbow was cleaned to remove debris and a trapped nerve. The bone was repaired with three metal plates and 18 screws. The band member underwent a second surgery for damage to his left pinky finger at the New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Medical professionals stated the singer’s worst injuries were the facial fracture involving the orbit of his yet and the broken bone that tore through his skin. According to doctors the singer will require intensive and progressive therapy to fully recover. Bono is an avid cyclist according to reports. As I have warned my readers before, riding injuries do not discriminate.

No matter how safe you are, no matter what the laws are regarding looking our for riders, passenger car drivers still run us over. Read my tips on staying safe, and hope for the best. In the meantime, Bono may never play guitar again. So make sure you understand the risks versus the reward when riding on city roads and streets near motor vehicles people. Being thrown from a bike usually means bad injuries, or even a death.

With distracted driving, and the low silhouette of bikes and small size, we riders are at a particular risk and one must consider this before pedaling down the road.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Anaheim School Sued by Bicyclist Hit by School Bus

Negligent entrustment can sometimes border on intentional conduct. When conduct is intentional, it is typically not covered by insurance, because it goes against public policy to insure someone so they can go and intentionally beat people up, or engage in some other nefarious conduct and not personally suffer the consequences of their actions.

An example of a case that probably borders on intentional conduct, and is definitely reckless conduct, would be the recent case of the AUHSD ignoring the terrible driving history of a bus driver they hired. The Anaheim Union High School District has had a lawsuit filed against the school in Orange County Superior Court by a bicyclist who was struck by one of their school buses. In the negligence lawsuit filed it is claimed the school district officials ignored the traffic violation history of the bus driver. The suit alleges the school district ignored traffic citations of the driver due to under-staffing and budget limitations. 

The lawsuit was filed against the Anaheim Union High School District by Jose Medina, who was struck by the bus while on his bicycle in the intersection of Crescent Avenue and Valley Street on July 19th. The bus driver has been identified as Paulina Hernandez and the lawsuit claims Hernandez failed to come to a complete stop at the intersection stop sign. Alleging Hernandez did not check for pedestrians or other vehicles.

A nearby apartment complex surveillance camera has been obtained and shows the bus slowly going through the stop sign without the driver coming to a complete stop or checking for pedestrians and other vehicles. In the video Medina is seen curling into a fetal position as the bus ran over his body.

According to attorney Masih Kazerouni in the crash Medina sustained fractures to the spine, jaw, nose and right leg. During the past three years according to court records Hernandez has received a several traffic tickets prior to the current lawsuit, but was not prosecuted. According to reports in at least two of the incidences the police officers involved failed to show up at the scheduled hearings. Her record shows Hernandez has been involved in collisions with two bicyclists while driving a school bus and received three traffic tickets during the three years.

It remains to be seen how budget cuts or under-staffing would lead to hiring a bus driver with a bad record. But clearly, in this case, there is and was a policy and procedure to check the records of potential new employees to drive the buses. After civil discovery, perhaps we will be able update the story. If you hear of, or learn anymore about the case, please contact us. Ehline Law Firm PC (213) 596-9642.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Does the Three Foot Safety Act Make Roadways Safer for Bicycle Riders?

As most of my readers know, I am an avid bicyclist, and try and keep my readers up on the latest news and laws. My friends at the California Bicycle Coalition seem to have hit a home run for a lot us, especially the ones riding around Admiralty Way in Marina del Rey, California. I credit these guys with shedding a spotlite on a real problem for us riders.

Passenger cars in particular, either ignore us, or go out of their way to crowd our cushion of space as we traverse the mean streets of L.A., in particular. The result of bicycle and vehicle collisions is never good with tons of metal colliding with the bike frame and unprotected rider can mean serious harm or fatality. The data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2012 shows nationwide there were 49,000 bicyclists injured and 726 riders who died in this type of incident (More.)

Enter the Three Feet Safety Act

The Three Feet Safety Act is legislation that was written by Democratic State Assembly Member Steven Bradford, who stated he has been hit three times by motorists who did not stop after the mishaps (More.) This has happened to me me on numerous occasions in the Venice Beach area, so I get it. For me it was sideswipes, where drivers simply pushed me into the curb, throwing me off my bike. Bradford is hoping the bill will make a difference for bicyclists, since it has a three foot rule, in which if it is not safe to pass a cyclist without having a three foot distance from the rider, then the driver must slow to a reasonable speed until a time when they can pass the rider safely. This kind of reminds me of the school bus stop rule, where drivers must yield to stopped buses.

In any event, most bicyclists appear to be in favor of the new law, while many drivers claim that it is not possible to adhere to the new legislation especially on congested streets. Drivers are also concerned about the ticket they could incur of $35 for drivers who break the established law and a fine of $225 for a driver who hits a bicyclist. Obviously, this could even lead to more serious charges for repeat offenders.

In order to test the bill regulations a local ABC new station used a car with cameras and a yardstick to drive around San Francisco streets finding it was not easy to keep a three food distance while still remaining in the traffic lane (Check it out.) According to this test a vehicle would be required to remain behind the bicycle for blocks, which could lead to traffic congestion. They also found it difficult to determine the distance without measurements.  At the end of the day, we also see stories about bicyclists ignoring traffic regulations altogether. Many drivers fear that this rule will simply embolden bad riders, and lead to more injuries and deaths on the road such as what just happened in New York (Read More.)

San Francisco Police Commander Mikhail Ali stated the law is not written only for the San Francisco area, but for the entire state. He said San Francisco streets are narrow compared at 8 feet, while other roadways in the state average 10 feet. Ali stated bicyclists and cars are too close in general.

California Mandates Three Foot Traffic Rule

The state of California with this legislation is joining twenty-two other states in the distance motorists must keep between their vehicle and bicyclists to ensure safety. Twenty-one states have a three foot law, while Pennsylvania is the only state requiring four feet. Florida between 2006 and 2010 has issued 337 tickets to drivers violating their three foot bicycle rule out of the 14 million registered drivers in the state.

In San Francisco the police department plans to increase the number of police officers on the street who will determine when drivers should be ticked for violation of the law.  Ali said if harm is caused to “another” due to a collision the at-fault party will receive a citation. Though other police officers have commented off the record they will not enforce the three foot law unless there has been a collision.  For cash stricken cities, this will certainly be a money maker.

Executive Director Dave Snyder of the California Bicycle Coalition said awareness of the legislation is even more important than enforcing the regulation. The coalition was instrumental in assisting in the passing of the law, though they agree enforcement of it in San Francisco will be difficult. Bradford said the buffer of three feet is a way to educate drivers to share the road with bicyclists.

Only time will tell if this was the right solution to making the roadways safer for riders. I for one, would rather break the law and ride on a sidewalk, than trust any driver, law or not. But I do applaud the efforts and effect this will have on bringing awareness when it comes to looking out for bicycle riders on the mean streets of California.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bicyclist Courthouse Protest Fails to Advance Charges Against Cop in Napster Rider's Death

The Los Angeles Courthouse was the destination of bicyclists last Wednesday, calling for the LA County District Attorney to file criminal charges against a police deputy who struck and killed a former Napster executive. As a rider, and as an attorney, I can definitely tell you that I have seen an uptick in close calls and over all accidents not just with cops and riders, but with ordinary passenger cars and cyclists. This just seems to be the new trend.

Honestly, I have personally seen cops talking on cell phones more and more. Of course, they have a carve out in the law that let's them be distracted, apparently because they are some sort of super citizen that was never authorized under the Constitution. Of course officers need to operate equipment and such, as they perform their duties, but the police unions have done much over the years to hold officers to a standard of "master," when in reality, municipal police are supposed to be the "servant."

In a more recent case of distracted driving, the crash involved an Ex-Napster executive Milton Olin Jr. in December, who was riding his bicycle in Calabasas when he was struck and killed by a police deputy. The deadly collision occurred on December 8, 2013 at approximately 1:00 p.m. while Olin was traveling eastbound.

Olin was struck while he was riding in the bike lane, when Deputy Andrew Francis Wood was distracted from driving due to typing on his patrol car computer according to authorities.
Last week prosecutors stated they would not be filing criminal charges against the deputy.

Friend Cristin Zeisler said that the district attorney wrote a memo stating the deputy was not culpable. The district attorney’s office and sheriff’s office declined making any comments in the case.
The bicycle riders met where Olin was struck and killed on Mulholland Highway. They road to the Los Angeles Zoo and then to the Criminal Courts Building in Los Angeles where later a candlelight vigil was held.

Can you imagine an ordinary citizen getting away with that? NEVER happen right? According to prosecutors, deputy Wood was acting lawfully and within his duties when typing a response on the vehicle’s computer. Are you kidding me? Nice carve out for one of your own Mr. District Attorney. As I was suggesting above, they stated there is no evidence the deputy was using a personal cell phone or was engaged in any other personal activity at the time of the collision. You see, police get a carve out to use their personal phones for "official business." Although that is not what happened here, apparently there is a new rule that LEO can run over bikers in the bike lane, and are not "culpable" in driving like morons, if they are engaged in their official duties.  You following me so far?

Olin’s family filed a lawsuit against the county for wrongful death July 16th and are represented by attorney Bruce Broillet, who has not commented on the case. In July when the lawsuit was filed Broillet said the deputy acted negligently. Eric Bruins planning and policy director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and one of the organizers of the event stated if law enforcement officials can be distracted without consequences what to this mean for everyone else.

Milton Olin stated that he and his family intend to seek justice. He said the accident should have never occurred.  In a statement made by the family during the vigil, Olin was a chief operating officer for Napster and was 65 years-old. The statement went on to state his loved ones were moved by both the cyclists and the community. So in the case at bar, the survivors can sue for money damages, which I am sure money was not something the family really needed, considering their breadwinner was well off. So the DA probably figures the family has its remedy, and cops now think they have a green light to run people over, so long as they can allege it happened while they was distracted from an "official duty."

This is why precisely consumers need to elect politicians that put people over police unions. In fact, many pro consumer groups are now arguing that people need to make sure that no public servant is above the law, by preventing public employee unions from lobbying. What is your take? Sound off.


"Distracted Driving: Law Enforcement’s Achilles’ Heel" - Ashton: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_22964071/why-cops-are-exempt-from-hands-free-cellphone

"Why Cops Are Exempt": http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_22964071/why-cops-are-exempt-from-hands-free-cellphone