Fighting back against hit-and-run in L.A., and a tree points the finger at the car that killed it

Not all victims of hit-and-run are human.

Hit-and-run is a serious problem in L.A.

And from what I’ve seen, pretty much everywhere else, too.

According to LAPD statistics, a driver flees the scene in a staggering one out of every three reported collisions in this megalopolis we call home.

Last year alone, the city saw 18,819 hit-and-run collisions. That includes 36 cases where someone — another motorist, a cyclist* or pedestrian — was left to die in the street. Along with another 134 people severely injured and 852 with less serious injuries.

I have my own thoughts on how to address it at a state level. Like automatically revoking the license of anyone who leaves the scene of a collision. And impounding the vehicle as evidence pending a trial — then seizing and selling it upon conviction, with any proceeds going to the victim.

After all, you don’t let a bank robber keep the gun he used.

State law already allows a car to be seized by the state if it’s used to solicit prostitution. And isn’t leaving a victim bleeding in the street a little serious than trolling for a blowjob?

Meanwhile, writing for KCET, L.A. bike advocate Don Ward — better known as Roadblock — has his own thoughts on how to address it on a local level.

  1. Elevate the status of hit-and-run against cyclists and pedestrians to that of assault, regardless of the severity of the injury.
  2. License numbers must be run immediately, and a patrol car deployed to the owner’s home to gather evidence.
  3. Saying “I didn’t see them” should be an admission of guilt, not an excuse — especially when it involves a pedestrian in a painted crosswalk.
  4. Speed limits must be enforced by all means possible.

He’s planning to take it up with the L.A. Police Commission at their next meeting at 9 am Tuesday at police headquarters, 1st and Main Street, across from Downtown City Hall. Ward is asking cyclists to meet him at the Starbucks one block east of police headquarters at 1st and Los Angeles Street before the meeting to discuss strategy.

You may think you have more important things to do that day.

But chances are, you don’t.

Especially if you don’t want to find yourself lying in the street one day, watching the car that hit you speed off into the distance.

*LAPD stats show four cyclists killed in hit-and-run collisions in 2011, while my records show three out of the city’s five cycling fatalities were hit-and-run.


The key to solving any hit-and-run is identifying the driver.

But sometimes, it’s a little easier than others. Especially when the victim grabs the license plate of the vehicle that killed it.

Photos courtesy of the LACBC's and CicLAvia's Bobby Gadda


  1. Opus the Poet says:

    What you want to bet that LAPD finds the person that wiped out the tree on the sidewalk faster than they found the guy that hit Roadblock?

  2. DG says:

    “automatically revoking the license of anyone who leaves the scene of a collision. And impounding the vehicle as evidence pending a trial — then seizing and selling it upon conviction, with any proceeds going to the victim.”

    Amen. Our driving laws are much too lenient, unless you’re poor and can’t afford expensive moving violations. If you can, you can do almost anything you want, it seems. Maybe we should go to proportional fines.

  3. Wes says:

    What is on the ohter side of the license plate?

    • bikinginla says:

      Looks like the mounting bracket to attach the license to the vehicle; you can see the screws are still attached on the front.

      Thanks for calling attention to that — I never noticed it.

  4. Eric W says:

    Go Bobby! Maybe we can track this one down.

  5. Ask Sgt Kumar to run the plate & notify City Atty + Street Services to get tree replaced.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 × four =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

%d bloggers like this: