Are slow Los Angeles Fire Department response times putting your life in danger?

Now here’s a scary thought.

Whether or not you survive a cycling collision could depend on which side of the city limit line you land on.

That became clear when I considered the implications of my wife’s recent heart attack, in light of a recent report of on LAFD response times by the L.A. Times.

According to her co-workers, paramedics from the Beverly Hills Fire Department arrived within just two minutes of their 911 call. And got her to the hospital fast enough to avoid any serious permanent damage.

Had she fallen just blocks away in Century City, it could have taken the Los Angeles Fire Department precious minutes more to arrive; anywhere from six to 10 minutes, according to the chart prepared by the Times.

In fact, the Times reports that national standards require rescuers to respond within 6 minutes in medical emergencies — a standard the LAFD missed in the Westside’s hillside communities a whopping 85% of the time.

Almost makes me glad I can’t afford to live in them.

Now consider what that could mean when you ride your bike. Or just cross the street, for that matter.

You might actually be safer in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, without a single inch of biking infrastructure, than you are in bronze level bike-friendly Los Angeles.

Not because you’re less likely to get hit by a car. But because you may not get the help you need in time if you are.

(To be fair, Beverly Hills recently approved their first two bikeway pilot routes. Welcome to the 1970s, guys.)

I don’t blame the firefighters and paramedics. Having seen these men and women in action, I’d trust them with my life any day of the week.

In fact, I have.

I blame city leaders who absurdly thought they could cut back on the department’s budget and staffing levels and conduct rolling unit closures at one-fifth of the city’s fire stations without affecting performance. And department leaders who provided the misleading stats to justify it.

Los Angeles placed a losing bet on being able to maintain effective response times.

And what they’re gambling with is your life.

I’ve long been opposed to the city’s cutbacks at the Los Angeles Police Department. Especially the loss of civilian employees, which means more uniformed officers behind desks and fewer on the streets tracking down hit-and-run drivers and keeping us all safe.

But cutbacks at the LAPD mean the person who hit you might get away with it. Cutbacks at the LAFD mean you might not be around to care.

It’s time to put pressure on our city leaders to restore full funding to the fire department.

Your life, and mine, could depend on it.

In the meantime, if you get hit by a car anywhere near the L.A. city limits, I’d suggest falling on the other side of it.

………

Here’s your chance to say goodbye to one of the founders of the modern L.A. bike movement, as Streetsblog raises funds with an Engagement Celebration and Farewell Party for LACBC co-founder and former C.I.C.L.E. head Joe Linton. Santa Monica plans to install new striping and signage on the overly-popular beachfront bike path through the city. CLR Effect captures the reason we live and ride here in Southern California, and notices odd critters in hats on the side of the side; we can assume he was sober since he’s got the photograph, right?

Orange County will see a silent auction to benefit bike safety next Thursday. The popular San Clemente Coastal Trail gets a new surface. The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition is on board with the city’s new bike share plan. A Santa Barbara cyclist is severely injured after allegedly running a red light. A local paper says Porterville is on the right track in building more bike lanes. Rohnert Park police identify the hit-and-run motorcyclist who seriously injured a bike rider last month. The CHP is still looking for the hit-and-run driver who killed a Shasta County cyclist two years ago, with a $10,000 reward.

U.S. cyclists — and non-riders — are making fewer trips to their local bike shop. A Colorado driver pleads not guilty to harassment charges in a case caught on a viral bike cam video. Comparing the costs of building sidewalks versus roadways. Parts of Dallas bike lanes are turning green. Chicago cyclists get a new protected bike lane. Bike Portland looks at the art of New York bicycling. Instead of blocking bikeways, one New York precinct is actually improving them. Chattanooga’s bike share program burns its first million calories. A Memphis councilman says he’s got nothing against bike lanes, but those signs are butt ugly. A DC cyclist is convicted of groping women while he rode.

A Toronto writer makes his case for a mandatory helmet law. A 12-year old UK cyclist is making a name for himself against older riders in international competition. Town Mouse encounters a courteous, if rule breaking, truck driver. Graeme Obree tests his handmade, possibly record-breaking recumbent. A Kilkenny cyclist is killed after clipping the bike in front of her and falling into the path of an oncoming car. Ireland’s most versatile cyclist signs with a US team. The EU defines what qualifies as an e-bike. A cyclist is injured and a pedestrian killed by the motorcade for the first lady of Ghana. You’ve got to be crazy to deliberately run over and kill a cyclist — and get away with it as a result. Rescued by a professional trombone player while riding a red e-bike on the streets of China.

Finally, a judge inexplicably reduces bail to just $1000 for a Long Island driver who swerved across the road to kill a cyclist while high on methadone — and with his kids in the car. And a South Carolina letter writer says an immoral new bike path violates two of the Ten Commandments, while putting the county on the road to communism.

5 comments

  1. I am not sure how long it took the paramedics to get to the scene of my accident on Saturday. Jennifer Klausner may know. I was riding with the LACBC Regional Partners in Los Angeles when I hit some railroad tracks wrong and went down. They called 911 right away and the paramedics came and checked me out. It seemed like a long time, but it probably really wasn’t.

    WillSarge took me to Palmdale Regional Medical Center, where they relocated my dislocated 4th finger, buddy taped it to my broken 5th finger, and put me in a splint. On Monday, I saw an orthopedic surgeon, who put me in a pretty new purple cast. I won’t be writing for 4 to 6 weeks.

  2. Opus the Poet says:

    The Aussie didn’t get away with it, he was given life in the funny farm instead of prison. Having seen both I would say that the funny farm was the more comfortable physically but the treatment was better in prison. Either way he’s not getting out without major drugs (the kind that “flatten” the emotions and personality of the person taking them) and someone that will make him take them every day. Personally I would prefer a firing squad.

  3. JD says:

    Out here in the wilds of OC the paramedics arrive swiftly, but the trauma centers are few and far between.

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