Bike rider killed in Hollywood collision

This is not the news anyone wants for Bike Week.

Or any other time for that matter.

Reports started coming in yesterday evening that a bike rider had been killed at the intersection of Hollywood Blvd and Hobart Blvd in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, it took until this afternoon to get official confirmation.

According to the police report, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding north in the west crosswalk on Hobart at approximately 3:07 pm Wednesday when he was struck by a car headed west on Hollywood.

The impact apparently knocked him into a parked car on the north curb, before falling back into the street. He died at the scene.

LAist reports that the crosswalk has a blinking yellow light to warn drivers that someone is crossing. However, it’s unclear if it was working at the time, or if the rider had activated it.

They also quote a comment from a Reddit thread indicating that the driver was taking an 84-year old grandmother to the hospital; however, while there are several hospitals nearby, they are all in the opposite direction from which the car was headed.

It’s unclear from the description who might have been at fault.

It’s legal to ride on the sidewalk in Los Angeles, which means it is also legal to ride in the crosswalk.

However, the LAPD interprets the law as requiring cyclists to ride in the direction of traffic when they enter a crosswalk. In this case, that would have required the victim to cross on the east side of Hobart, but the only crosswalk is on the west side.

On the other hand, unless the victim was traveling at a high rate of speed, the driver should have had time to see him and react before he reached the opposite side of the road.

If there’s a lesson to learn from this, it’s that you should never count on drivers seeing you and stopping in time, in a crosswalk or anywhere else; always wait until they actually stop before trying to cross in front of them.

This is the 19th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in Los Angeles County; it’s also the fifth in the City of Los Angeles.

That compares with 41 in the seven county SoCal region this time last year, and 17 in the county. However, it’s one more than in the City of LA on this date in 2014.

Update: The victim’s granddaughter has identified him as Thomas Galvan Munoz, a resident of the area for 30 years who rode his bike through the streets of LA every day. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Thomas Galvan Munoz and his loved ones.

Thanks to Michael MacDonald for the heads-up.

13 comments

  1. CiclaValley says:

    That is probably the worst intersection along Hollywood Blvd. when I’ve cycled it or driven it. The traffic from the mini-mall to the north makes drivers impatient. This is a design that needs to be improved.

  2. JD says:

    We offer up our prayers for the family and friends of the victim.

    • Leonor Villicana says:

      Please, accept our gratitude for your words of condolences on hehalf of the Galvan family and friends.

  3. Joshua Cohen says:

    Wow. This could have been any of us. Please be careful out there. We’re so much less visible in the rain.

  4. R says:

    I used to work near there, and walked that area often at lunch time, as well as riding it for my commute or to take work packages to the post office on Vermont. It is probably one of the most dangerous stretches of road in LA. I personally have seen a pedestrian killed in front of my eyes, and often saw change, cards, and shoes scattered in the middle of the street. Car-on-car crashes are frequent as well. Bad driving culture in that neighborhood.

    A good friend of mine lives a block from the scene of the crash, so I’m worried about him. It’s a corner he would often ride to get home.

  5. Jay Williams says:

    I am seeing some victim-blaming going on already around the web. Where this accident occurred (blocks from my home), it is legal to ride on the sidewalk and crosswalks by extension.

    In my opinion he was riding lawfully and was hit by a car that was going at least 5-10 mph over the speed limit (to cause this kind of trauma). I admit that I am speculating.

    I certainly don’t advise cyclists to ride through crosswalks under any circumstance for this very reason however. If this had happened in Santa Monica proper for example, then the cyclist had no legal right to ride through the crosswalk and should have dismounted [“… But if, where the accident occurred, there is no local, county or state ordinance that makes it unlawful to ride a bicycle along a crosswalk or sidewalk, the bicycle rider has a right to ride his or her bicycle on the sidewalk or crosswalk.”] – CA VEHICLE CODE SECTION 21650(g).

    There is also some confusion as to whether the cyclist activated the crossing light button which highly influences the outcome here. IF he rode at speed off the sidewalk and into the path of the car(doesn’t seem likely)without pressing the button to activate the flashers, I can find no blame with the driver.

    The motorist seems at fault here(speeding)but without full details it’s just speculation and my bias as a non-driving, commuting cyclist zealot.

    At any rate, this stretch needs a road diet and needs it sooner than later. It’s not uncommon for motorists to hit 50-60 mph on the very wide lanes there.

    • bikinginla says:

      Hollywood Blvd is scheduled for a road diet and bike lanes. However, with LA’s anti-democratic system in which a single council member has the power to stop any project scheduled for their district, there’s no guarantee it will happen.

  6. Kate says:

    Does anyone know whether or not he was wearing a helmet?

  7. Mark Collins says:

    I saw this accident on my way to lunch. It was a terrible sight but I can say for sure that it was the cyclist’s fault. He cut through the intersection on his bike without looking. Now you have a dead man and a driver who will have nightmares the rest of his life.

  8. Jessica says:

    Words cannot express how i feel. My grandfather was killed. I just pray that for an investigation to see what really happened that afternoon. Rest in peace grandpa Thomas Galvan. From your granddaugther.

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