Cyclist killed yesterday at Canoga and Sherman Way

At yesterday’s Bike Summit, Mayor Villaraigosa began the meeting with bad news, saying that a cyclist had been killed in the San Fernando Valley earlier that morning.

After scouring the news feeds for the past day without finding any mention of a bike collision — let alone a fatality — I reached out to the LAPD’s bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer for whatever information he might have.

According to Krumer, a Hispanic man in his 20s was riding west on Sherman Way at Canoga Blvd. A truck traveling south on Canoga was preparing to make a left turn onto eastbound Sherman Way. The truck driver had the green light and was waiting for some pedestrians to finish crossing the street.

According to several witnesses, the driver pulled forward once the intersection was clear, just as the rider rode through the red light. Unaware he had hit anyone, the driver continued down the street after running over the cyclist, returning to the scene once he was flagged down several blocks later.

Evidently, the death of a single rider in the valley doesn’t merit a mention in the local media, even when the Mayor himself makes the announcement in a room full of reporters.

But take this as a warning. Red lights exist for a reason.

Bikes are required to stop for red lights in every situation, just as drivers are. While it’s never smart to run a light, it’s especially dangerous when other vehicles are present.

The saddest part is, this tragedy was entirely avoidable.

Yes, the driver should have looked to his left, where he may or may not have seen the rider in time to avoid the collision. But evidently, the cyclist gambled with his own life.

And lost.

Thanks to Sgt. Krumer for the information.

3 comments

  1. John says:

    This is so distressing. I live a few blocks away and when I stop for pedestrians and move out slightly to allow for cyclists (especially on Sherman Way) I get such an aggressive reaction from drivers. The driving community need to be fined heavily for not respecting pedestrians and cyclists.

  2. Richard says:

    I can not judge without seeing the situation for myself. In addition to running the light was the bicyclist traveling against traffic. I do no that in the last few months motorist making left turns through the cross walks in my area have been reckless. A neighbor was struck two weeks ago and my wife and I had to run back the way we came when somebody made an illegal left. I have been a cycling merit badge counselor. If we put everybody through this course at a young age then the motorists and bicyclists would be more attentive and civil toward each other. I would guess there would be less injury and fatalities.

  3. OverTheHill says:

    This is terribly sad. One block of my commute is on Canoga, between Victory and Vanowen. I dare not ride Canoga North of Victory because the lanes narrow for an LA river crossing, there is lots of dense high speed traffic in and out of Warner Center, and most of all, it’s a truck route through a necessary industrial and commercial corridor where there is a lot of high speed medium-duty (smoggy diesel) and heavy-duty (filling the lane out to the gutter) truck traffic.

    Owensmouth Ave, one block West of Canoga, is considerably safer North of Vanowen, but less so South of Vanowen due to heavy Topanga Plaza traffic, high speeds, and many narrow lanes.

    Vanowen Street, for much of its length in the same area, is similar to Canoga Ave — narrow lanes, dense industrial traffic, and high speed through traffic.

    When completed, the Orange Line extension will parallel cyclist-dangerous Canoga Avenue with its own bike path. Sadly not soon enough for our cyclist.

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