At yesterday’s Bike Summit, Mayor Villaraigosa began the meeting with bad news, saying that a cyclist had been killed in the San Fernando Valley earlier that morning.
After scouring the news feeds for the past day without finding any mention of a bike collision — let alone a fatality — I reached out to the LAPD’s bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer for whatever information he might have.
According to Krumer, a Hispanic man in his 20s was riding west on Sherman Way at Canoga Blvd. A truck traveling south on Canoga was preparing to make a left turn onto eastbound Sherman Way. The truck driver had the green light and was waiting for some pedestrians to finish crossing the street.
According to several witnesses, the driver pulled forward once the intersection was clear, just as the rider rode through the red light. Unaware he had hit anyone, the driver continued down the street after running over the cyclist, returning to the scene once he was flagged down several blocks later.
Evidently, the death of a single rider in the valley doesn’t merit a mention in the local media, even when the Mayor himself makes the announcement in a room full of reporters.
But take this as a warning. Red lights exist for a reason.
Bikes are required to stop for red lights in every situation, just as drivers are. While it’s never smart to run a light, it’s especially dangerous when other vehicles are present.
The saddest part is, this tragedy was entirely avoidable.
Yes, the driver should have looked to his left, where he may or may not have seen the rider in time to avoid the collision. But evidently, the cyclist gambled with his own life.
Thanks to Sgt. Krumer for the information.