A bloody few days in Long Beach — two cyclists critically injured, one intentionally

This has not been a good few days for Long Beach cyclists.

Two riders are critically injured — one because a driver ran a red light, the other because he was intentionally run down by a driver following a dispute.

In the first case, a 67 year old man, who has not been publicly identified, was riding east on Bixby Road at Cherry Avenue around 11 am Friday when he was hit by a pickup traveling south on Cherry. The Press Telegram reports that the driver of the pickup apparently ran the red light.

The rider was rushed to the hospital, where he remains in critical condition. The 66-year old driver was not charged at the scene; however the investigation continues. Anyone with information is asked to call Long Beach Police Department Accident Investigation’s detectives at 562-570-7355.

In the second, and in some ways, more serious case, the Press Telegram reports that a cyclist is clinging to life at a local hospital after being intentionally hit by a motorist, who then fled the scene.

The incident occurred around 3:20 Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Bellflower Blvd and 23rd Street, following a dispute between the cyclist and a driver.

According to KCBS-2, there’s no word on what caused the dispute. However, the victim, who again was not publicly identified, was described as a homeless man who was known to be aggressive and violent.

The station says some accounts — they don’t say whether from the driver or independent witnesses — have lead police to believe that the victim may have attacked the driver by reaching into his van.

The Press Telegram writes that witness followed the van for several blocks before flagging down a police officer who detained the driver and eventually arrested him for assault with a deadly weapon.

Remarkably, KCBS disputes that account, not only reporting that the driver turned himself in, but that he may not face charges.

Running an unarmed man over with a van is not self-defense, and even belligerent homeless people have a right to live. Unless the driver can prove he was attacked in an unprovoked assault, then inadvertently struck the victim in an attempt to get away, he should face an assault charge.

Or murder if the rider doesn’t make it.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Long Beach Police Department’s Accident Investigations Detail at 562-570-7357.

Meanwhile, the KCBS story is so different from the Press Telegram article that it raises serious questions, going out of their way to paint the driver as the real victim.

Did they uncover the story that the local paper missed? Or are they letting a bias against the victim — the real victim — color their story?

It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds.

Thanks to Rex Reese for the tip.

5 comments

  1. I was deeply disturbed (but sadly not surprised) by the bias both for the motorist and against the injured party inherent in both the preliminary police statements and KCBS’ reporting of the Tuesday afternoon hit-and-run. Unfortunately for the cyclist (unless there are witnesses to the contrary), it appears the motorist can “prove” he was attacked without provocation and acted in self defense simply by saying so.

  2. Opus the Poet says:

    CBS affiliates in most of the country have been demonstrating a strong bias against bicycles with this and WCBS in NYC being among the most blatant (remember the “Terrorists in the Bike Lane” story from last year?). I think this may be corporate policy as both K- and WCBS are network-owned stations.

  3. bikinginla says:

    Unfortunately, one of the big problems we face in incidents like this is that the driver gets to tell his side of the story, while the victim is often too seriously injured to speak; sometimes police never even bother to talk to less seriously injured cyclists after they’re taken away by ambulance.

    Hopefully, the witness(es) who followed the driver saw what preceded the collision, as well.

    It would be unfortunate if CBS is following Fox News in intentionally injecting bias into their reporting, this time against cyclists.

    Hopefully, the Press Telegram will follow up with their more objective reporting and clear up the confusion caused by the KCBS story.

  4. Dan says:

    I was unfortunate enough to witness this incident as were several children. The bicyclist was extremely aggressive and for reasons I do not know attacked the van driver (possibly with a hammer). I heard but did not see this as I was trying to park my car to hopefully assist the driver. What I saw next was the van driver turn left pull over a planter curb onto the sidewalk where he ran over the bike and the bike owner before backing up and fleeing the scene.
    Since I do not know what precipitated the initial attack it is hard to judge the state of mind of the van driver. He may have felt he had no option in order to protect himself but he was able to back up after he struck the bicyclist.

    • bikinginla says:

      Thanks, Dan. I really appreciate the information, as there are a lot of gaps in the story that has been reported by the press.

      If the driver was being physically attacked, he did have a right to protect himself. However, it should be noted that he could have driven away, rather than pulling onto the sidewalk to intentionally hit his victim.

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