It wasn’t a good Thanksgiving in Venice Thursday evening.
The Los Angeles Times reports that a 39-year old Venice resident was riding the wrong way on South Venice Blvd just east of Speedway when she was struck by a car turning left onto the one-way street from southbound Speedway.
According to the paper, the collision occurred around 5 pm.
Venice 311 reports the victim, who has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, was riding without a headlight shortly after sunset, which occurred at 4:44 pm. The website says she lost balance before being struck, and fell under the car before being dragged roughly 10 feet until the driver was able to stop.
The driver reportedly did not see her riding the wrong direction in the gathering dusk. The visitors from Spain remained at the scene, and immediately called for help.
She was not breathing when firefighters dislodged her from the car, and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
The Venice 311 story includes a number of photos from the scene, including shots of the bike with the rear racks full and the contents of the handlebar basket spilling onto the street.
This collision serves as a tragic reminder to always ride with traffic, even on quiet streets; drivers won’t be looking for you coming from the wrong direction.
This is the 79th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 30th in LA County. It’s also the 11th in the City of Los Angeles.
Sadly, those numbers will grow, as I’m aware of one more recent fatality in the County of Los Angeles; more on that Friday.
Update: John Montgomery visited the site and offers his insights in the comments below, questioning why the driver took so long to stop, and observes that, as always, the victim is unable to give her side of the story. And notes that the LAPD has conducted a thorough investigation at the scene.
Meanwhile, I’ve received some criticism for using the term salmon; Patrick Miller calls it a “condescending slur” to describe a cyclist riding against traffic — and New York’s famed Bike Snob, who some credit with originating the term, agrees.
While he undoubtedly popularized the term, it has been in use by cyclists for some time; I first heard it decades ago, and have been using it in conversation with other riders ever since. That is not to say Bike Snob did not come up with the term on his own; his original use of the term could easily have been the first time he and many others had heard it.
I have never considered it to be condescending or a slur in any way. It is simply an apt description of an act that is both dangerous and illegal, and one of the leading causes of bicycling collisions.
No offense was intended. If any was taken, I apologize.
Update 2: The Free Venice Beachhead has identified the victim as 39-year old Summer Baker.
My deepest sympathy and prayers Summer Baker and her loved ones.
Thanks to Joe Ryan and Venice 311 for the heads-up.