Excuse me if I’m a little pissed off.
Not to mention more than a little heartbroken.
On Wednesday, I found myself in a room filled with LAPD traffic investigators to discuss bicycling issues in the City of Angels. And not one of them mentioned that yet another L.A. cyclist had joined that heavenly host as a result of a careless driver.
Maybe they didn’t know.
Maybe there’s a lack of communication within the department, and the people who should be first on the list to be notified about bicycling collisions — the bike liaisons representing the four Traffic Divisions, each of which was represented at that meeting — aren’t.
But either way, a bike rider has been dead for a full week as a result of a Hollywood dooring. And we’re just finding out about it now.
According to a press release from the LAPD, a 49-year old Los Angeles resident, who wasn’t identified in the release, was riding his bicycle in the southbound bike lane on Vine Street near Banner Avenue at 6:30 pm on Sunday, March 3rd, when a driver opened her car door into the bike lane. The rider reportedly collided with the door and was thrown into the roadway.
LAFD paramedics responded to the scene and took the victim to a local hospital, where he died of his injuries five days later, on March 8th.
The driver is identified only as 26-year old resident of L.A. in a 2009 BMW 328i. Police cite unsafe opening of a car door as the primary cause of the collision; drugs or alcohol do not appear to have been a factor.
The press release does not mention the nature of the victim’s injuries or whether he was wearing a helmet; however, this is exactly the sort of collision in which a helmet might have made a difference. The description of the incident suggests that the victim most likely suffered head injuries as a result of hitting the pavement; falling to the street after colliding with a car door is unlikely to result in fatal injuries to other parts of the body, though it is possible.
While dooring is one of the leading causes of bicycle collisions, both here in Los Angeles and elsewhere, it seldom results in fatal injuries. In fact, of the 145 bicycling fatalities in Southern California in 2011-12, only two resulted from a rider getting hit with a car door.
This is the seventh bicycling fatality in the seven county Southern California region this year, compared to 10 this time last year, and the fourth in Los Angeles County.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his family.