Tag Archive for Susanna Schick

LAPD rules no contact in closing Pinkyracer investigation; manslaughter charges against SF cyclist

The LAPD has concluded their investigation into the Susanna Schick/Pinkyracer case. And concluded that she fell on her own while riding at a near miraculous 30 to 35 mph.

Don’t get me wrong.

I really, really want to believe that the police have conducted a full and fair investigation in this case, and ruled out any other possibilities before coming to the conclusion that her injuries were the result of an unaided solo fall.

But as long as they continue to insist that she was riding up to 35 mph — just moments after stopping for a red light, no less — it only goes to show how little they understand bicycling. And by extension, how to investigate bicycling collisions.

Which does not bode well for any of us.

I’m not saying they didn’t conduct a full investigation. Or that their conclusion is necessarily wrong. But their insistence that Schick was riding at a world record pace defies plausibility.

Schick herself doesn’t buy it either, insisting that she was riding at a more reasonable 18 mph when she fell. And that she’s sure there was another car involved.

Meanwhile, I’m told that the confusion over the lack of a police report when news broke about Schick’s injuries stemmed from the fact that the officers on the scene filed an injury report, rather than a collision or crime report.

As a result, when the press started calling looking for information on a road rage assault and hit-and-run, the police didn’t have any idea what they were talking about.

Only when they connected Schick’s name with the injury report did they put the two together.

The good news is, she’s reportedly working hard in rehab, and making good progress in recovering from her injuries.

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Vehicular manslaughter charges will be filed against San Francisco cyclist Chris Bucchere in the death of 71-year old pedestrian Sutchi Hui.

Bucchere was caught on security camera entering the intersection on the yellow, but apparently made no attempt to stop before hitting Hui. According to witnesses, he was riding in a reckless manner for several blocks before the collision, speeding in a downhill 25 mph zone and blowing through stop signs and red lights.

Consider that yet another reason to stop for signals; it could come back to haunt you if anything goes wrong later.

The San Francisco Examiner reminds us all to keep this case in perspective.

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I’ve gotten word from 4th District L.A. City Councilmember Tom LaBonge’s office that a section of the L.A. River Bike Path will closed for a 5K fun run on Sunday, May 6th.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge will host a 5K Fun Run on May 6, 2012 in celebration of the Los Angeles River. The route will take runners (and walkers!) along the banks of the river, in celebration of its beauty. Cyclists should note the closure of the Los Angeles River bike path from 4:00 AM until 11:00 AM. on May 6th from Los Feliz Boulevard to Marsh Park. lariverfunrun.com

Meanwhile, the USC racing team invites you to join them for the rescheduled Trojan Cycling Benefit Ride this Sunday. Riders of all abilities are welcomed, and coffee and pastries will be served prior to the 9:30 am roll out at Bike Effect at 910 West Broadway in Santa Monica; there’s a suggested $20 donation.

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Amazingly, a San Diego police lieutenant says a driver can’t be charged with a crime for a collision if the victim survives; if you want justice down there, evidently you have to die first.

I was shocked when I heard O’Hanlon state that no charges were filed against the drivers responsible for two cases where the bicyclists survived.

O’Hanlon responded, “to be charged with a crime, there has to be a death.” Thus, the only recourse for the party injured is to pursue the case in Civil Court for damages. In order for a case to go to the District Attorney’s office the case has to be a felony – and the criteria for a felony includes intent, malice, gross negligence or substance abuse. But in a case that is not a manslaughter, “the law is very restrictive. We don’t have a misdemeanor.” Intentional road rage acts have “malice and premeditation and you have assault with a deadly weapon.”  Absent that, “you have a vehicle code violation”.

Evidently, misdemeanor charges aren’t an option in San Diego.

Nor, evidently, is justice for victims who survive.

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Advice on how to safely ride the new Expo Line bikeway. Joe Linton explains why the Bicycle Kitchen wants a new home and how you can help. Why volunteer at the Bikerowave. Better Bike recounts the second Bike Route Pilot Meeting in the biking black hole of Beverly Hills. A writer for the Daily Trojan says USC should discourage bike use rather than develop a new bike plan; the solution, according to her — more skateboards and scooters. Ride the final stage of the Amgen Tour of California before the pros. No, really. Mr. Bicycle Fixation says you don’t have to join the Navy to see the world, just get on your bike and ride. The current LADOT Bike Blog meister talks with the previous one. A virtually invisible Agoura speed bump takes out yet another cyclist. The Claremont Cyclist offers beautiful views of a ride up Marshall Canyon. What happens if you bike to work and an emergency calls you back home?

California cyclists could see another attempt to ban distracted cycling; Cycleliscious says it could ban your Panda pictures. The San Diego cyclist who confessed to slashing a local cop, among other charges, now wants to withdraw his guilty plea. Everyone who felt taken in by Floyd Landis’ ultimately losing defense against doping charges can take comfort in news that he is now the subject of a grand jury investigation; the Feds couldn’t get Lance, so maybe they’re going after an easier target. A 25-year battle to build a bikeway between an Louis Obispo and Pismo Beach. Another band is touring the Bay Area by bike. Alta selected to run a Bay Area bike plan. Frightening first person bike cam view of a Berkeley hit-and-run that took out two cyclists.

Ten tweets to help boost cycling in cities. Once upon a time, authorities actually took traffic deaths seriously. A new series of stamps will honor bicycling. A well-lit cyclist is hit by a car at 70 mph due to driver inattention, yet the driver isn’t charged — resulting in a Powerpoint on how to be seen. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske says Durango CO police made up a law, then did the cycling collision victim a favor by not charging him with it. The University of Utah plans to increase bike usage. Former President George W. Bush hosts a Wounded Warriors ride. An Ohio cyclist is killed after running into a post designed to keep cars off a bike path; I’ve come within inches of those myself. A Michigan group adapts the Bike League’s Smart Cycling course to help cyclists with disabilities. The media says Detroit is becoming surprisingly bike friendly. New York bike lawyers unveil a bike crash app. A bike riding perp fakes a collision in an attempt to get away. A look back at 25 years of a multi-town Rhode Island bike path. DC authorities clearly get it, expecting three out of every four area trips to be made car-free within 20 years. An autopsy shows a North Carolina cyclist died of head trauma after a police officer used a stun gun on him as he rode his bike; what the hell did they think was going to happen?

England’s iconic Raleigh bike brand is now a Dutch bike. A UK cyclist keeps the camera running as he’s forced off the road by a double-decker bus. London bike bloggers play a role in the city’s upcoming mayoral election. How a planned bike paradise apparently failed. A Westmoreland writer encourages cyclists to stay off area roads if they don’t want to get killed. A legless Scot war vet plans to compete in this year’s Race Across America (RAAM). A look at 23-year old Eritrean pro cyclist Daniel Teklehaimanot.

Finally, the Department of DIY opens a motor vehicle chapter in Studio City, as someone has repeatedly painted over a red curb on Colfax. Bikeyface looks at how the big kids ride. And the Onion offers their own eye-watering bike safety tips; thanks to Where to Bike Los Angeles co-author Jon Riddle for the heads-up.

The 30 mph LAPD fail, Sunday’s CicLAvia and L.A. bike politics from the 1890’s

A few quick — or maybe not so quick — updates on the ever-changing Susanna Schick/Pinkyracer case before we move on to other matters.

Schick’s friend Jennifer Beatty offers an update on her condition, along with the off-and-ongoing investigation on her ChipIn page, which is now up to nearly over $6000; seriously, you guys rock.

KPCC’s always excellent Patt Morrison interviews LAPD Chief Beck, asks him about the case and gets exactly the sort of non-specific answer you’d expect. But hats off to Patt for asking the question.

Meanwhile, KCRW’s Warren Olney discusses hit-and-run and the Pinkyracer case with Don Ward, aka Roadblock, and LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer; thanks to Mike for the heads-up.

Mike also sends word that police say Susanna Schick told them she was travelling at 18 mph before she fell; fast enough to get hurt, but hardly enough to account for her extensive injuries. Schick, who is now communicating online, confirmed on Twitter that her bike computer showed she was travelling at 18 mph just before the fall.

Or at least, that’s what they said to MSNBC.

The police officers who claimed to be following her — and who assisted her after they say she fell on her own with no provocation — insist she was riding at 30 miles per hour, according to KNBC-4.

That’s quite a speed differential.

Yes, a fall at 30 mph could very well result in the injuries she suffered. Only problem is, a top pro cyclist would have a hard time accelerating from a full stop to 30 mph on level ground in a few hundred feet. And no one has suggested that Schick was engaged in a mad sprint away from the light.

The mere fact that police investigators would believe she fell at 18 mph and suffered such severe injuries — or that she miraculously managed to hit 30 mph in such a short distance — demonstrates just how desperately traffic investigators need specialized training in bike collisions.

The MSNBC story that Mike referred to also says Schick was riding without lights and reflectors, which could help explain why the driver cut into the bike lane while she was in it. However, Schick has said she was at least using a rear blinkie, which the police should have seen.

And which seems to be visible — to people with better eyesight than I have these days, at least — in security footage posted online Thursday by the L.A. Times.

The pair of videos show a car exiting a parking garage on the 200 block of South Spring Street shortly before midnight, then what looks to be the same car swinging into the bike lane on Spring, barely missing a cyclist riding in the lane.

By barely, I mean it looks to be by inches, though camera angles can be deceiving.

Any cop who witnessed that and failed to stop the driver needs some serious retraining. Which doesn’t even come close to what I really want to say right now.

And after initially suggesting that Schick may have been drinking, LAPD Lt. Vernon now says there’s no evidence that alcohol played a roll in the incident.

It would be nice if he said that in the form of a public apology after so publicly smearing her.

He also says he examined the bike on Thursday, but didn’t see any sign of damage. But doesn’t mention who let him in, since the victim is in the hospital and her friend didn’t do it.

Then again, the police also said there was no damage to my bike after I was the victim of a road rage attack, even though I had to walk it two miles home because it wasn’t in ridable condition.

There’s that little matter of better police training in bike collision investigations again.

Meanwhile, LAist offers a great comment from Gary Kavanagh about the improbability of Susanna Schick suffering her injuries in a solo fall. As well as one from someone who witnessed the immediate aftermath of Schick’s fall, if not the fall itself or what caused it.

One more thing.

I’ve heard from a reliable source that police detectives have collected security camera footage from a building at 5th and Spring, which I’m told offers a clear view of the intersection in question.

So maybe, just maybe, we might actually find out what really happened last Friday night.

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This weekend’s CicLAvia allows Angelenos to experience our city in a whole different way; and yes, it matters. Zev says it’s time to slow down, get off your bike and smell the CicLAvia. There will be a number of Westside feeder rides headed to the event, including rides from the Bikerowave and back again, too. LACBC offers tips for safe and happy riding this Sunday.

My advice?

Remember CicLAvia isn’t a Gran Fondo, it’s a moving street fest. And it belongs to every Angeleno and visitor willing to spend their Sunday without a motor, bike riders, pedestrians and skaters, older walkers in walkers and toddlers in tiaras. So slow down, enjoy the day and make room for everyone.

Seriously, don’t be a jerk. And have fun.

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The LACBC is in the process of forming a new Civics committee to offer a non-partisan look at local political candidates and help ensure the election of bike friendly politicians, to be co-chaired by board members Efren Moreno and myself.

We’re just looking for an open date for our first meeting, after our first two proposed dates failed to work out for various reasons. I’ll let you know as soon as we set a date and location, probably within a couple weeks.

The meeting, not the notification.

Meanwhile, a reader sends word suggesting that this may not be the city’s first non-partisan cycling organization.

In November, 1898, the East Side Cycling Club held its annual pre-election “smoker” party to which all the local political candidates were invited to speak before the wheelmen.  The ESCC’s own platform basically had one plank (“Good Roads!”) and the club members themselves were of assorted political leanings.

So imagine the club’s surprise when the local Republicans mailed out post cards announcing that “there will be a Republican meeting at the hall of the bicycle club,” signed (oh so ironically) “Yours respectfully” by the Republican campaign secretary.

Think of the social media uproar this would have caused if only they’d had the technology back then!  But instead, the club made do with chalk and fury.

On the evening of the smoker, all attendees were greeted with a conspicuous chalkboard.  On it, the offending postcard was affixed next to a brief and  unequivocal statement signed by the club’s board of directors, including Republican Owen McAleer, who himself was just a few years away from being L.A.’s mayor.  Though concise, the message conveyed the ESCC’s staunch nonpartisanship, and to the club’s further credit, neither Republicans nor non-bikers were turned away from the event.

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My friends Sarah Amelar and Jon Riddle have written a new guide to Los Angeles bicycling, offering routes, tips and other useful information for locals and tourists alike; find it soon at your favorite local bike shop.

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The cyclist who killed a 71-year old pedestrian in San Francisco apparently lied about laying his bike down to avoid a collision, while a bike commuter says it’s time to grow up and start acting like we belong here; I couldn’t agree more. However, while a cyclist killing a pedestrian is national news, pedestrians are killed by cars on a daily basis with hardly a peep.

And no, I don’t mean the candy kind.

Then again, bike cops don’t always seem to follow the law, either.

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That Cypress Park kid who wrote to his councilmember asking for bike lanes in front of his school may be a lot older before he gets them. LADOT makes improvements to a key intersection along the new Expo bikeway. New buffered bike lanes will soon make their bow on Winnetka Ave. Caltech busts a bike thief. A Long Beach crime scene technician raises funds to replace an 82-year old cyclist’s stolen bike. A singer from Long Beach is planning a bike-based concert tour of the West Coast.

Cyclelicious asks who are all these legal drivers we keep hearing about, in contrast to all us scofflaw cyclists. A San Diego cyclist reflects on last month’s death of bike rider David Ortiz; thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up. Moorpark struggles to find room for cyclists at the city’s skate park. Levi Leipheimer says he had a premonition that he was going to be hit by a car just moments before it actually happened; a Santa Rosa writer says a three-foot passing law, like the one currently under discussion in California, could have made a difference for Levi. A Sequoia mountain biker avoids death by millimeters when he’s impaled on a tree branch that just missed his jugular vein and cranial nerves. A hit-and-run driver kills a Richmond cyclist. A father and daughter are remembered after being killed by a speeding and possibly texting teenage driver in Concord, so why does the press insist on calling it an accident?

Bad bike shop marketing and service could be contributing to the lack of women riders; Bikeyface probably wouldn’t argue with that. Lovely Bicycle concludes cities do need bike lawyers. Five things drivers need to understand about sharing the road with cyclists, and 10 things you don’t need for bike touring. The makers of my favorite beer are the new official beer sponsor for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge; I guess Coors isn’t Colorado’s favorite anymore. Chicago cyclists support speed cameras for motorists. A Massachusetts cyclist is killed after his bike fails, possibly due to a recalled Cervelo fork.

Canada prepares for fair-weather bike traffic jams. Toronto’s Deputy Mayor urges city residents not to vote for cyclists. British Columbia police accuse a cyclist of staging fake bike collisions for a quick financial payout; damn, why didn’t I think of that? Looks like London’s cycling mayor won’t get the support of the city’s cyclists. A UK driver admits to screaming abuse at a pair of cyclists and obstructing them with his car; nice to know it’s not just American drivers who do that. New Zealand bike shops are warned that if you’re going to have a Going Out of Business Sale, you actually have to, you know, go out of business. Australia’s Global Mail offers a very nice, in-depth look at cycling in the City of Angeles, including quotes from several people you might know.

Finally, a New York pedestrian asks what the f*** is wrong with the city’s spandex-clad cyclists, among other Gothamists. Dave Moulton asks when did society decide that we don’t want dangerous and deadly driving to be a crime?

And I don’t think I ever got a chance to mention this great Spanish language PSA, courtesy of the LACBC’s City of Lights, LADOT and REI.

Update — LAPD drops, then reopens investigation into Pinkyracer case, blaming the victim for her injuries

According to KNBC-4, the LAPD has closed its investigation into the road rage assault of cyclist Susanna Schick. And shifted all the blame for the incident onto the victim.

Based on the descriptions of two on-duty officers who claimed to have seen the whole thing — yet remarkably, failed to do anything to prevent it — Schick merely fell over, resulting in numerous broken bones as well as a significant concussion.

According to police spokesman Lt. Paul Vernon, speed may have been a factor in the collision, noting that Schick is a long-time motorcycle racer.

Yet she wasn’t riding a motorcycle on Friday night. And the severity of her injuries are inconsistent with a solo fall from a bike; even at high speed, she’s unlikely to have suffered six broken ribs and broken her pelvis in three places in a fall on level ground. Let alone been knocked cold for upwards of 15 minutes, despite wearing a helmet.

The fact that she has raced motorcycles is entirely irrelevant to this investigation.

Excuse me, former investigation.

Yes, it’s possible that she suffered such severe injuries in a simple fall.

But it is so far from likely that to ignore them suggests a desire on the part of police to just close the books and get this case over with.

As of now, no one other than the officers at the scene have examined Schick’s bike for evidence of a collision that might be beyond the ability of a patrol officer untrained in bike collision investigations to spot. And to the best of my knowledge, no one at the department has made any effort to contact the driver of the Lexus to get his side of the story.

If they had, he might have denied everything. Or he may have blurted out, as did the infamous Good Doctor, that he was just trying to teach her a lesson.

We’ll never know, because the department has inexplicably closed the investigation without apparently bothering to talk to him.

Then there’s Lt. Vernon’s apparent attempt to discredit the victim, suggesting that Schick may have been drinking — despite failing to present evidence to support that.

… He also questioned whether she had been drinking, and said officers could have insisted on a blood test at the hospital.

Yes, they could have requested a blood alcohol test at the hospital, but apparently didn’t. They also could have requested a virginity test, but failed to do that, as well.

It’s entirely possible that Susanna Schick had a drink or two — or maybe 20 — before riding home on Friday night. There’s clearly no shortage of bars Downtown where she might have stopped.

But given that she lives just a few blocks from where the incident unfolded, she could have just as easily been on her way home from church, a movie or an AA meeting.

If the police have any evidence that she’d been drinking, they failed to produce it.

As I’ve said before, we have no way of knowing what really happened that night. Maybe the police are right, and she was the aggressor in the road rage dispute, then simply fell off her bike.

Or maybe they’ve once again let a dangerous driver off the hook, as they did when they accused Andres Tena of riding his bike backwards into a Hummer, or cyclists of milling in the middle of a dark street waiting for a driver to mow them down.

I’m not, as a friend of mine accused me, accusing the police of lying.

I would sincerely like to believe that, from their perspective at least, they have followed the evidence and come to what they believe is the right conclusion, however much I may disagree with it. And however repugnant it may be to speculate that the victim may have been drunk without offering evidence to support it.

But to me, this appears to continue the same old windshield perspective, anti-bike bias that Los Angeles cyclists, and cyclists throughout the U.S. — and around the world, for that matter — have fought for years.

And which I thought was finally gone for good thanks to a bike friendly mayor, and the efforts of LAPD Chief Beck, Sgt. David Krumer and the bike community members of the LAPD Bike Task Force.

This investigation may be over as far as the police are concerned.

But that doesn’t mean it passes the smell test.

Update: Evidently, someone at LAPD headquarters doesn’t think it passes the smell test, either.

According to KNBC-4, the department is reopening the investigation, just hours after they reported the case had been closed. 

Police are reopening the investigation into what caused a cyclist to severely injure herself Friday night as a potential aggravated assault case, citing growing community concern and a second interview with the 42-year-old cyclist Susanna Schick.

Must have been some interview. Or maybe it’s thanks to KPCC’s Patt Morrison, who questioned LAPD Chief Beck about the case in an on-air interview Wednesday afternoon.

Of course, they don’t say who is suspected of the assault. The way this case is going, it wouldn’t surprise me if they charged Schick with assaulting the Lexus.

This case is starting to look more like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride than a serious police investigation.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says the department’s conclusion — or previous conclusion, at least — in the case strains credibility.

You could say that.

Either the department has badly bungled this investigation, or they have conducted the one of the worst public relations exercises in recent memory.

Or both.

In less than a week, the credibility of the department has been badly eroded within the cycling community. 

In fact, I’ve received messages from dozens of cyclists questioning just who was in that white Lexus, and whether some members of the department are trying to protect them.

Yes, it sounds crazy.

Then again, so does everything else about this case.

LAPD reportedly dismisses hit-and-run in Pinkyracer case — in the middle of an ongoing investigation

Today we saw a turn of events so credibility straining it would get most Hollywood screenwriters fired.

And that’s not exactly a group known for believability.

An exchange of emails with LAPD Sgt. David Krumer shed light on the investigation into last Friday’s traffic incident that left Susanna Schick, aka Pinkyracer, broken and bruised in the ICU of a local hospital. Yet still raised as many questions as it answered.

And then it got strange.

Sgt. Krumer, the department’s highly respected liaison to the cycling community, had been out of the city through the holiday weekend, returning to his desk Tuesday morning. And was forced to immediately jump into the controversy surrounding the Schick case.

He reported that, contrary to earlier information, the LAPD did respond to the collision, and that a report was taken.

He said that the police were actually on the scene before the paramedics arrived, and that they were the ones who had called for an ambulance. And in fact, the officers were the ones who dropped Schick’s bike off at her home, rather than the paramedics as we had previously been told.

He said that there were conflicting reports that a collision had occurred, so the investigators were looking for video evidence to confirm exactly what had happened.

According to Krumer, the police also tried to interview Schick at the scene; perhaps due to the confusion caused by her injuries, she didn’t say anything about a collision. He said police would try to re-interview her again to clarify the situation.

It’s also possible that Schick doesn’t remember the collision itself due to her concussion; nearly four years later, I still have no memory of the solo fall that put me in the ICU.

He hinted that he had more information that would explain everything, but was prohibited from releasing it due to the ongoing investigation.

If only everyone else had such high standards.

Friends of Schick report that two detectives did in fact stop by to interview her in her hospital room — although interview might not be the best way to describe it. Instead, I’m told they put in at least as much effort trying to convince her she was wrong about the hit-and-run as they did asking what actually happened.

Then Tuesday morning, reports started to leak from police headquarters indicating that Schick wasn’t hit by a car after all; apparently there were witnesses who could discredit her entire story.

Witnesses in blue, no less.

And members of the department wasted no time in releasing the information Sgt. Krumer was prohibited from sharing.

I guess ongoing investigations don’t count when the department’s reputation is at stake.

I first heard rumors that a female detective was leaking information that Schick’s wreck had been witnessed by two officers who reportedly saw the entire event, and that they were the ones who called for the paramedics.

And they denied that any hit-and-run had occurred. Or that there was even another car involved in her fall.

By afternoon, a police spokesman was speaking to Blogdowntown on the record. LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon denied anything illegal had happened.

“There’s a great deal of discrepancy,” Lt. Paul Vernon of the Los Angeles Police Department said. “There is no crime here. She fell down on her bicycle.”

Remarkably, the police claimed that an experienced cyclist simply fell down. And somehow suffered multiple broken bones, as well as a shattered helmet, despite what would have been a relatively slow speed impact.

Blogdowntown reports that there is no dispute that the previously described white Lexus pulled out of a parking garage and swerved into the bike lane Schick was riding in on the opposite side of the street.

According to the report filed by the two officers who claim to have witnessed the events, Schick pedaled up to the car at the next red light, hit the passenger side mirror and started yelling at the people inside; the people in the car responded by rolling up their windows.

The officers said Schick continued riding for another block or two before the car turned right, and she simply began wobbling on her bike before falling over.

This semi-official version of events raises a lot of questions.

Not the least of which is why two police officers would witness a car serving across the entire width of a roadway and into a marked bike lane, jeopardizing the safety of a cyclist riding in it, and do absolutely nothing.

Repeat, nothing.

Which is exactly what they did when allegedly following an ongoing roadway dispute, even after they supposedly witnessed a cyclist striking a motor vehicle in anger.

Call me crazy, but wouldn’t that have been the time to light up the reds and stop both parties before the situation escalated?

Now, it’s entirely possible that Schick did strike the car’s mirror to get the attention of the people inside. I’ve slapped fenders, trunks and windows for the same reason, as it can be almost impossible to get the attention of music blasting, cell phone-using drivers these days.

And so far, no one has mentioned whether the officers had an unobstructed view of the situation. Schick has stated that the car followed her for at least a block, possibly in the bike lane itself —which would be yet another violation the officers failed to address, and which would have obscured the view of anyone following behind.

It’s possible, if not likely, that the Lexus could have hit Schick’s bike before or during its turn without the impact being visible to the police officers who supposedly saw everything.

It’s also possible that the car might have caused her fall without ever actually coming into contact with her bike. Which would still qualify as hit-and-run if it could be determined that the driver’s actions directly contributed to the wreck.

And the Department’s version of events fails to explain why, if a police report was filed over the weekend, no one in the department seemed to know anything about it on Monday morning. Or even knew a crash had occurred.

I’m not saying the police are wrong.

I wasn’t there. I don’t know what actually happened.

And they were — even if the information released so far doesn’t exactly add up.

But if the department is going to release information about an ongoing investigation, they need to be a lot more honest and open about it. And explain the apparent discrepancies in what we’ve heard so far, rather than falling over themselves to blame the victim.

Unfortunately, Schick’s bike may not be much help.

As it turns out, the supposedly tacoed rear wheel is actually a relatively minor bend. While it could still offer evidence of an impact, it may take an expert examination to determine exactly how it got that way.

Something else the police have yet to do, despite concluding that no impact occurred.

Meanwhile, the LACBC is calling for the LAPD and the City of Los Angeles to devote more resources halting the epidemic of hit-and-run; even if this turns out not to be one, drivers flee the scene in a full one-third of all L.A. collisions.

And writing on Streetsblog, Damien Newton calls on the LAPD to train a group of officers in the physics of bike and pedestrian crashes, so maybe in the future they can fairly assess blame without resorting to blaming the victims.

I couldn’t agree more.

But let me leave you with one final thought.

The LAPD investigators say they’ve ruled out hit-and-run, even though they’re still in the middle of an ongoing investigation. And despite continuing to look for video evidence or examining other physical that could prove that premature conclusion wrong.

So just how fair, open and honest can we really expect that investigation to be when, they’ve already announced the outcome in advance?

For a department that offers firearm training for all its officers, they certainly seem to have shot themselves in the foot.

LAPD never responded to Susanna Schick road rage assault — and aren’t sure it was one

My worst fears about the Susanna Schick collision were realized today.

Despite being run down by a road raging driver just blocks from LAPD headquarters, the police were never notified that a cyclist was lying facedown in the street for upwards of 15 minutes Friday night.

Or if they were notified, they never responded.

And no police report was ever filed.

I spoke with a reporter from the L.A. Times Tuesday morning, who mentioned that he’d been calling the police all morning. And everyone he spoke with said this was the first they’d heard of the hit-and-run road rage collision that put Susanna Schick in the ICU with a concussion and multiple fractures.

Absolutely horrifying.

At best, the call fell through the cracks on a holiday weekend. Maybe the paramedics were notified, and the call never got to the police. That’s scary enough.

Far worse is the possibility that any of us — cyclist, pedestrian or motorist — could be left lying in the street waiting for police who might never come.

Hopefully, Schick’s family managed to work their way through the police bureaucracy and get an investigation started today — giving a dangerous driver nearly three full days to cover his tracks.

We may all be a lot less safe on the streets than we thought.

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Just received word that a police report was finally filed today. But without witnesses or video evidence, police are treating Schick’s injury as a solo fall, and ignoring — or at least downplaying — the allegations that there was another vehicle involved. Let alone that it was a case of a road rage assault and hit-and-run.

Evidently, we really are on our own out there.

And while they appear to be downplaying Schick’s allegations, I’m told that a cyclist was ticketed in the same area for riding without reflectors on his pedals, despite having both front and back lights.

Yes, it’s illegal.

But probably the most technical, BS violation they could write a rider up for, rather than focusing their efforts on keeping us safe from the drivers who want to run us down.

In light of the LAPD’s massive failure in the Schick case, this is just rubbing salt in the wound.

……..

As for a medical update on her condition, word is that Schick’s doctors are trying to avoid surgery if possible. But she’s looking at a minimum of two months in the hospital or an assisted living facility before she gets back on her feet.

Her family also asks that friends refrain from visiting for the next few days so she can get her rest; too many visitors — and reporters — have worn her out.

The other burning question has been how her bike got back home; I’m told the paramedics dropped the bike off after delivering her to the ER.

And people continue to open their hearts and wallets, as 105 people have contributed $3700 to help defray her medical expenses as of 11 pm Monday.

There are days I’m really proud of my fellow cyclists.

……..

Several news sources have picked up the story, including the L.A. Times, KTLA-5, LAist — including a follow-up —  KNBC-4 and KPCC public radio; ESBK offers a personal reflection, as does Gas 2.0 and Net Impact Los Angeles, where Susanna Schick is part of the leadership team. Even the L.A. Weekly had a surprisingly even-handed report, while KCRW’s Shortcuts blog picked up my own posts (thanks Kajon). Toronto bike blog Bike Lane Diary reported on the collision, as did our own Claremont Cyclist.

Meanwhile, KCBS-2 ignored the family’s wishes and invaded interviewed Schick in her hospital room; the hospital has been instructed to keep the press out in the future while she recovers.

……..

A couple other quick notes on other bike-related subjects —

The first public workshop on the proposed Beverly Hills Bike Route Pilot Project will take place Wednesday evening; Better Bike’s Mark Elliot offers his thoughts on the subject.

Central Coast cyclists are fighting ill-advised rumble strips on Highway 1; thanks to Al Williams for the heads-up.

In case you missed it, a Bay Area cyclist could face manslaughter charges after blowing through an intersection and killing a pedestrian in the crosswalk. The rider reportedly posted online that he had entered the intersection on the yellow and that the light had turned red before he could get all the way across, and that he had done everything he could to avoid injuring anyone. Right. I’ve laid my bike on its side to avoid hitting someone else, knowing it was going to hurt like hell. And it did. But the other guy walked away, and that was all that really mattered. Thanks to Stanley E. Goldich for the tip.

Meanwhile, Streetblog SF points out that cars still kill a lot more pedestrians than bikes do.

A speeding teenage driver loses control in Concord, and kills a father and daughter riding their bikes on the sidewalk, leaving a second daughter with less serious injuries.

The recently founded West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition has started documenting hazards to cyclists in the city, and wants your help to add to the list.

My favorite non-L.A. bikewear designer offers a look at her new spring women’s line, which somehow manages to be practical, stylish and sexy at the same time. Hey Nona — you know us guys need clothes too, right?

And finally, Chris Willig sends a photo of the ghost bike that was installed for Mulholland bike victim Carol Schreder; let’s all be grateful we didn’t need another one this past weekend.

Update: Susanna Schick improving — but where are the police?

Good news about Susanna Schick.

And possibly frightening news for all of us.

Schick, the cyclist who was the victim of an apparent road rage attack while riding in the Spring Street green bike lane last Friday night, is reportedly improving. Her friend Jennifer Beatty says that she’s awake and talking, and was allowed to eat on Sunday for the first time since she was admitted to the ICU.

She also reports that members of Schick’s family have arrived at her bedside, and are beginning to look into the police response to her assault.

And that’s where it gets scary.

As of Sunday night, no one from the department has apparently made any attempt to speak to speak to Schick. And her family has no information to indicate that the police even responded to the wreck that left her lying face down and unconscious on one of the Downtown’s busiest streets for as long as 10 to 15 minutes.

She reportedly has no memory of police officers at the scene of her collision, and no information about a police report being filed.

And that’s scary as hell.

It’s possible that the police were there, and she simply has no memory of them; clearly, she would have been in a lot of pain and barely conscious at that point.

Though you’d think that if the police did respond, they would have asked her what happened once she woke up. Or that someone — anyone — within the department would have followed up by visiting her in the ICU over the weekend.

Then again, this did happen over a holiday weekend, with both Easter and Passover undoubtedly affecting staffing levels at the department. And it may have looked like a solo bike collision — though you’d think someone might have asked how a rider could fall with enough force to cause such serious injuries in between red lights on such a level street.

But in a case like this, a prompt response is vital, as the driver is likely to attempt to get rid of any evidence that he may have hit a cyclist.

In addition, the two-block area where this unfolded contains countless security cameras that could shed light on exactly what happened. But those digital files and videotapes often aren’t kept long, as many systems are designed to record over older video files.

I also haven’t received any word on what happened to her bike, which may show evidence of a strike-from behind collision. Presumably, it should be held by the fire department or in police custody — but again, only if they responded to the collision.

We should find out a lot more today when her family begins what can often be a long, difficult process to work through LAPD bureaucracy to not only get information, but to get the department to take a hit-and-run case involving a cyclist seriously — let alone an accusation of an assault with a deadly weapon.

Hopefully, her family can get the ball rolling this morning, and get an investigation up to full speed before it’s too late. If it isn’t already.

But it’s frightening to think that something like this could happen without police involvement from the very beginning.

Hopefully, that’s not the case here.

Or ever.

Update: I’ve just been informed that Schick’s bike is currently at her home. And yes, the rear wheel is bent, indicating a hit-from-behind collision. No word yet on how it got there. Meanwhile, her ChipIn fund is up to $1700 as of 10:20 am Monday.

Update — L.A. cyclist Susanna Schick seriously injured in DTLA hit-and-run road rage attack

Susanna Schick, aka Pinkyracer, resting in ICU; photo courtesy of Jennifer Beatty

Just getting word of a horrible — and possibly deliberate — hit-and-run assault that left a popular cyclist seriously injured.

Several sources report that Susanna Schick, also known as Pinkyracer, was chased down and apparently struck by a white Lexus while riding in Downtown L.A. around 11:30 Friday night. Details are still sketchy, but it appears to have been road rage attack; the driver fled the scene following the collision.

According to the victim’s own words from her hospital bed, relayed by her friend Jennifer Beatty, the incident started on Spring Street between 2nd and 3rd — just half a block from the new LAPD headquarters — when the driver reportedly swerved across two lanes of traffic and into the bike lane where she was riding.

They exchanged words at the next traffic light until the female passenger rolled up her window; once the light changed, the car continued to chase her down 1st Street along Downtown’s new green bike lane.

After that, her memory is foggy; she remembers an “inexplicable extreme wobble” of bike — apparently a result of her bike being rammed from behind —  then nothing until the paramedics woke her up just past 4th Street, face down on the pavement and unable to move.

Schick reportedly suffered a concussion, broken collarbone, six broken ribs and a shattered pelvis, along with facial lacerations, all to the left side of her body, suggesting a high impact collision. Fortunately, she is conscious and speaking, though confined to the Intensive Care Unit at a Downtown hospital.

The car is described as a recent model, white midsize Lexus, either two or four doors, with tinted windows. The driver is described as a well-dressed, olive-complected man around 6′ tall, with a well-dressed female passenger.

If you see a car that matches the description, do not attempt to stop him yourself. Call the LAPD Central Traffic Division at 1-213-972-1853 and let them handle it. Or if you witnessed any part of the incident or have any pertinent information, you can email me at the address on the About page and I’ll forward it to the right people.

Best wishes to Pinkyracer for a full and speedy recovery, and thanks to Joe Anthony and Jennifer Beatty for the information.

Update: I’ve named Susanna Schick as the victim after getting permission to publicly identify her, and added a link to her Facebook page. I’ve also clarified where the incident occurred, and used her description of the wobble, based on additional information from Schick.

Update 2: A ChipIn fund has been created to raise money for Susanna Schick to help pay for her expenses and the costs of recovery.

Update 3: More information has been added to ChipIn page, including the time and additional details of the collision, which I’ve added above. As of 9:30 Sunday, the ChipIn account has raised $240. In addition, the story was picked up by LAist Sunday evening; thanks to Blog Downtown for prominently featuring the story, as well.

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