You already knew hit-and-runs were a problem for cyclists.
But maybe none of us realized just how bad it’s become.
According to the LA Times, overall injury and fatal hit-and-run rates have actually declined since 2000. Except for those involving bike riders, which have increased a whopping 42% since then.
It’s easy to lay blame for the increase on a rising rate of bicycling over the same period, which has grown 61% since the turn of the century, according to a recent report from the League of American Bicyclists. But the fact that overall rates have gone down while bike-involved hit-and-runs have gone up just raises the question of why so many drivers think it’s okay to leave a bike rider bleeding in the street.
Then again, maybe it’s just that a collision with a bike rider is less likely to leave the driver’s car too damaged to flee than a wreck with another motor vehicle.
Regardless of the reason, nothing will change until the law is changed to make the penalties for hit-and-run greater than the potential reward for running away.
And that won’t happen until someone can get it through our out-of-touch governor’s head that hit-and-run is a serious — and deadly — problem.
Especially for those of us who aren’t protected by a couple tons of glass and steel.
The Times piece also notes that an overwhelming 80% of all hit-and-runs go unsolved. And only half of the cases that do get solved result in a conviction.
In other words, drivers have a 90% chance of getting away with it if they hit the gas instead of the brake after a collision. No wonder hit-and-run remains at epidemic proportions.
In addition, the story profiles some of the victims of fleeing drivers — at least, the ones still able to tell their own story, including Paul Livingston, whose story was told here last June.
There’s a great interactive map, as well, that drives home the obscene number of bike-involved hit-and-runs every year, and where you need to be on the lookout for fleeing drivers. Including Long Beach, Santa Monica, DTLA, Van Nuys and North Hollywood — in other words, the places where you’re most likely to find people on bikes.
And the paper offers a video interview with Finish the Ride’s Damian Kevitt, who barely survived the gruesome hit-and-run that took his leg.
Then again, it’s not just an LA problem, as a Florida paper asks what kind of driver doesn’t stop after hitting someone.
Or more to point, what kind of pond-sucking scum would even consider it?
No surprise, as prosecutors have declined to press charges against the South LA bike rider allegedly beaten by cops while being held down after a brief pursuit.
Police had reportedly ordered Clinton Alford to stop while he was riding his bike on the sidewalk along Avalon Blvd, but he kept going because he says they failed to identify themselves as police officers. Then he ran when someone grabbed his bike from behind, which lead to the alleged beating.
Based on the description of events, though, the police appeared to lack probable cause to make the stop, since sidewalk riding is legal in Los Angeles. Which makes everything that followed, including alleged evidence of drug possession and accusations of resisting arrest, inadmissible in court.
Never mind that filing charges would stand in the way of reaching a settlement with the city over the beating.
Unbelievable. A Paso Robles cyclist is dead and her riding partner severely injured because the jerk behind the wheel dropped his effing cell phone and bent down to pick it up. Then had to swerve to avoid the stopped car ahead of him, slamming into the riders in the process.
Never mind that using a hand-held phone while driving is illegal in California.
Or that taking your eyes off the road to pick it up is idiotic.
CicLAvia offers a narrative guide to Sunday’s event (pdf) from the real voices of South LA.
An Aussie travel writer takes a 32-mile bike tour of LA in — gasp! — a single day.
West Hills’ Spoke N’ Wheel Bicycles bounces back after a summer fire nearly put it out of business.
An important bike route through the UCLA campus is needlessly blocked by construction. And Porta Potties.
Santa Monica sees a dramatic increase in bicycling since 2000, nearly six times the national growth in cycling. And yes, this story is where I got that stat about the 61% increase in bike riding nationwide.
Riding for a great cause. The Midnight Ridazz annual All City Toy Ride takes place on Friday, December 9th. Thanks to James Hawkes for the link.
The Eastside Bike Club is hosting a family-friendly Slow ES Cool — Cypress Park Ride to explore some of LA’s and the San Gabriel Valley’s beautiful sites and diverse eateries on Saturday, December 13th.
Riverside police plan to offer a $10,000 reward in the hit-and-run death of fallen rider D’Andre Sutherland.
A San Bernardino man is the victim of a bike-by shooting; he’ll survive, but may have trouble walking for awhile.
Evidently, they’re just a bunch of old softies, as a group of Hell’s Angels — yes, the notorious motorcycle gang — buy up all the bikes at a Fresno Walmart and donate them for needy kids. And not for the first time.
San Jose prepares to ban all bikes on the sidewalk because of a few overly aggressive riders.
The popular East Bay Bike Party has been cancelled for December due to out-of-control and disrespectful riders.
Evidently, bad research never dies, as the press continues to report on that highly flawed Governors’ report on bike safety.
Rails to Trails offers 10 great bike movie moments.
Your next GoPro could offer overhead shots, as the company is reportedly developing its own line of drones.
A Maine man admits to fatally running down his bike riding friend while driving drunk, after initially claiming he found him lying in a ditch.
New York City cuts the speed limit in Central Park to reign in all those dangerous bikes.
New York police use faulty, or perhaps made-up, data to justify a crackdown on bike riders.
A Vancouver writer says motorists must take more responsibility for keeping cyclists and pedestrians safe.
An Ottawa paper goes for major click bait, asking their readers whether an idiot on a bike or a moron behind the wheel is worse. How about the idiot editor who approved the piece?
A new association of the top pro cycling teams plans to bring a little more rationality to the sport.
A London writer offers up five mistakes that cancel out even the best bike lights.
London’s mayor Boris considers holding open streets events in the city after seeing similar events in Jakarta. If he thinks that’s impressive, we should invite him to Sunday’s CicLAvia.
Bike cams are being accepted as evidence in cases against Scottish motorists.
An American man and his 12-year old son tour Amsterdam by bike, including the Red Light District.
Caught on video: A Polish rider participating in a bikejoring competition — racing with dogs pulling her bike — is tackled by, not 10 Lords a Leaping, but a leaping herd of deer.
A Chengdu, China bike rider invents an air purifier that fits in a very big backpack.
Florida cyclists connect through Facebook to get a man’s $5,000 Cannondale back before he even knew it was stolen. Lance just can’t keep away from the sport, as he admits to motorpacing BMC’s Tejay van Garderen.
And they must make ‘em tough Down Under, as a 13-year old boy rides his bike back home after being bitten by a shark.
One quick bonus video: Michael Eisenberg forwards what may be the most inspirational video you’ll see this year, featuring former race car champ and champion paracyclist Alex Zarnardi, who lost both legs in a car racing collision.
Seriously, if he can get back on a bike, so can I.
And so can you.