Maybe I shouldn’t let it get to me.
But the news reports that a cyclist has been killed or seriously injured. Then you never hear another word about it.
No follow-up. No ID of the victim. No effort to examine what happened or why. Or to look at the lifebehind the news, or the shattered lives left behind.
That’s the way it stood on October 2nd, when a barebones report broke that a 17-year old bicyclist had been killed on Laurel Canyon Blvd in Pacoima.
For days afterward, there was no other mention in the news; no name to put to the tragedy. But as too often happens, it seemed to be forgotten by the media the moment it was reported.
Just one of the 93 people who left home that day who would never return. One more statistic in the annual tsunami of traffic deaths.
Then a week ago, I stumbled on a story in a local Valley paper, the San Fernando Sun.
A senior at Kennedy High School, a ‘”good kid from a religious family” with good grades, “mild-mannered” and a “great looking kid with a smile that would light up any room…”’ according to the paper.
Finally, the statistic had a name. And I assumed that was the end of the story.
But the Sun wasn’t done.
This week, they followed up with another story that went beyond the first to draw a portrait of who Daniel was, and why he was on the street so late that night. And why his death will leave such hole in the lives of those who loved him.
On the night he was killed, Marin said his son had gone to a football game at San Fernando High School with his uncle and cousins. His cousin is a cheerleader at the school. Afterward Daniel went back to his uncle’s house to eat and then he got a call from his friends to get together for an evening bike ride.
“Daniel got a flat tire earlier and we ended up at Ritchie Valens Skate Park, and we all spent time hanging out and talking,” said his friend Jorge Lopez.
Daniel’s best friend, Angel Lopez said it’s been very hard for him and all of his friends. “When I was told what happened, I didn’t believe it. I had to ask four different people before I believed it. I saw Daniel every day. His absence is noticeable for all of us and really hard for me because I’m used to seeing him everyday.
A regular rider on Critical Mass, Daniel had worked with his father to build his own bike, a fixed gear bike he rode everywhere.
“This has been very hard on us,” Marin said, “Daniel has younger brothers and sisters, and it’s hard for all of us. My son was always so respectful to me, he never argued with me. I took him to work with me, doing construction and he decided that he wanted to do something else. He wanted to work in health, giving dialysis treatments to people. You expect that your kids will bury you, not the other way around.
“He was on his way home,” Marin continued. “He was less than a half mile away from home when he was killed.”
I’ve read that last sentence a dozen times. And every time I feel the pain contained in those words.
And that’s exactly how it should be. Any traffic death is tragic; any loss should hurt like hell.
We shouldn’t hide behind minimal news coverage to mask the pain. Unless we feel it, we’ll never do anything about it.
The victims deserve to be remembered with more than just a tombstone and white bike. They should be carried with us in our hearts and in our memories.
Daniel Marin was not collateral damage.
He was a loved and loving son and friend. And as the Sun makes clear, he will be very missed.
I never met Daniel. But after reading about him, I feel like that was my loss. And that our entire community lost someone special that night.
It’s a story that’s definitely worth reading; thanks to the Sun’s Diana Martinez for caring enough to tell it.
Rest in peace, Daniel.
The CicLAvia story just keeps on going. LACBC looks back at Sunday and asks why CicLAvia can’t be every day. Rolling interviews with bike community leaders at CicLAvia, while This Girl’s Bike offers more photos of the day. The City Council commends CicLAvia for a job well done; think you can wait another 6 months for the next one?
Explore the effects of bicycles on art and culture at the Grand Opening of Re:Cycle — Bike Culture in Southern California, October 7th – 9th, at U.C. Riverside’s newly relocated Sweeney Art Gallery at the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts, 3834 Main Street in downtown Riverside. A reception will be held from 6 – 10 pm Thursday, October 7th; the exhibition continues through December 31st.
Bike the Long Beach Marathon course starting at 6 am on Sunday the 17th.
Glendale will host meetings to get public feedback on the proposed Safe & Healthy Streets Plan on Monday, October 25 at the Glendale Central Library Auditorium, and Wednesday, October 27 at the Sparr Heights Community Center; both meetings will run from 7 pm to 8:30 pm.
The city’s next big bike event take place in one more week, when New Belgium Brewery’s Tour de Fat makes its first L.A. stop on Saturday, October 23rd.
The Times profiles UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup. More on the success of the LACBC’s City of Lights in getting bike parking for the city’s invisible cyclists. Streetsblog interview’s LACBC’s new Planning and Policy Director Alexis Lantz. The Claremont Cyclist rides to Crystal Lake, with photos. No Whip looks back on 508 merciless miles through the desert. LADOT Bike Blog looks at this weekend’s Fat Tire Fest, not to be confused with next weekend’s Tour de Fat. A Long Beach firefighter finds his life changed by the 525 mile Arthritis Foundation’s California Coast Classic. Riding in Riverside reports on our inland neighbor’s latest Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting. The hit-and-run epidemic strikes again the San Diego area. Plans for a bikeway in Santa Cruz’ Arana Gulch fall one vote short of success. San Francisco puts bike counters in bike lanes; hey, why didn’t anyone here think of that? Dealing with the trauma of killing a cyclist.
Peter Jacobsen explains his vision for zero traffic deaths. Calling all LAB member — Cyclelicious says it’s time to reform the board. Why is AAA picking on cyclists, when so many cyclists are drivers, too? Bicycling rates 16 essential bike tools. Riding a bike for perfectly selfish reasons. Evidently, there’s nothing suspicious about running down a cyclist from behind. The anti-bike backlash rears its ugly head in NYC. Buffalo Bills Safety Bryan Scott rides his bike to practice. Biking through the drive-through window. Dave Moulton encounters cyclists who seem to have no idea how to ride in traffic, or a bike path. Bob Mionske offers advice on riding in poor light conditions following the death of a popular cyclist. A Connecticut man pedals to the hospital after being shot in the ankle. Baltimore doubles its rate of bike commuting. An Army Major remains in critical condition more than two weeks after a distracted driver plowed down five riders on a group ride, saying he just didn’t see them.
So much for Omerta, as Danilo di Luca’s two-year ban for doping is cut to 15 months for cooperating with investigators. Pro riders plan to protest at Saturday’s Giro de Lombardia over the Italian anti-doping chiefs recent comments that all riders already dope; maybe it only seems that way. Stiffer sentences for crimes against cyclists in England than north of the border in Scotland. Brit cyclists are up in arms over a needless warning stripe marring a bikeway. Belfast cuts its cycling budget by 98%. Park your bike illegally in Copenhagen, and you could get your tires pumped and your chain oiled. Wellington, New Zealand’s new mayor says she’d rather ride her bike than trade it for the $70,000 official mayoral car. Good advice on riding in traffic; just remember it’s written for the UK, so substitute right side for left. Or you could just check out this American refresher on how to share the road.
Finally, a Bay Area dog earns a merit badge for bicycling. No, really.