I could just scream.
For the fifth time in the last seven days, a bike rider has been killed on the mean streets of Southern California,.
According to the Daily Breeze, a 57-year old man was killed in a collision with a passenger van around 5 pm at the intersection of Avalon Blvd and Gardena Blvd in Carson. The victim, who is believed to be a resident of the city, was declared dead at the scene.
The driver remained at the scene following the collision; no other details are available at this time.
This is the 36th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, a horrifying half of which have occurred in L.A. County – which compares with 23 cycling deaths in L.A. County for all of last year.
My deepest sympathy for the victim and his loved ones.
Meanwhile, despite the lack of any information, KCBS-2 seems to think it’s important to question whether or not the victim in this case was wearing a helmet — without any details on how the collision occurred or whether a helmet would have made any difference.
Or, evidently, if the victim even suffered a head injury.
Despite popular opinion, bike helmets are not magic devices that can ward off serious injuries or death for the wearer.
While they are designed to protect against catastrophic head injuries in slow speed collisions, they offer little protection in high speed crashes, little or no protection against concussions, and no protection for any other part of the body.
I never ride my bike without one.
But it is simply irresponsible for any journalist to bring up the question of whether the victim was wearing one with no information to support it.
The green bike lanes on Spring Street, popular with everyone but Hollywood filmmakers, will see a significant reduction in paint coverage — and possibly safety — thanks to an unpopular compromise passed today in a unanimous vote of the L.A. City Council.
You can read my report here on LA Streetsblog.
I’ve never heard of a motorist facing a similar charge after running a red light, though, even if someone is killed as a result. And to the best of my knowledge, a charge of Assault with a Deadly Weapon requires intent to cause harm, which would seem highly unlikely in a traffic collision — and which the police say was not present in this case.
Yes, cyclists who cause harm by breaking the law can and should be prosecuted, just as drivers are. Or should be, anyway.
But at first glance, this would seem to have been a significant overreach by prosecutors. Even if they did get away with it.
And don’t get me started on the promise by the Santa Monica police to focus on bicycling violations this summer, which sounds a lot like selective enforcement. Let alone the opposite of the bike-friendly city that SaMo aspires to be.
I’ll be writing about this for Streetsblog on Friday. If you have any inside knowledge of this case, or you’re a lawyer or police officer who can offer insight into the matter — on or off the record — email me at bikinginla at hotmail dot com.