Update: Bike rider killed in Panorama City; police term it a “tragic accident”

Another bike rider has lost his life on our streets, just hours after the annual Ride of Silence honored fallen cyclists.

According to KTLA-5, a person riding a bicycle was struck by a car on Woodman Ave just north of Strathern St. in Panorama City around 5:42 am this morning.

The northbound vehicle then spun out of control and struck several parked cars before coming to rest facing in the opposite direction; the victim’s mountain bike can be seen a short distance away.

The bike rider, who has not been publicly identified in any way, was towing a shopping cart full of recyclables when he or she was struck just minutes before sunrise. There’s no word on how the collision occurred, or whether the bike had lights or reflectors.

Police say the driver was not under the influence, and termed the collision “just a tragic accident.” That’s even though the multiple impacts suggest the driver was moving a high rate of speed; a commenter on Reddit says the car struck a parked truck with enough force to obliterate the bed of the pickup.

This death is even more tragic since it comes on the Bike to Work Day, the one day of the year set aside to honor people on bicycles.

This is the 37th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th in Los Angeles County; it appears to be the first in Panorama City since 2011.

Update: The Daily News reports the victim was a man in his 20s.

Update 2: Contradicting the earlier report, the Daily News says the investigation is still ongoing, and police are looking into whether speed was a factor; the street has a 35 mph speed limit.

According the story, the victim, who still hasn’t been publicly identified, was riding in the right lane while apparently holding his handlebars with one hand and pulling the shopping cart with the other. He was struck from behind by the driver traveling in the same lane, who went in to hit four other vehicles. 

While police don’t advise pulling a shopping cart — or anything else — while riding, the detective in charge of the case noted that the victim had a right to use the full lane, and drivers are required to give bicyclists a three-foot passing distance. 

A ghost bike will be placed at the scene at 9 pm Friday.

Update 3: KNBC-4 reports police are looking for a passenger in the car who fled the scene after suffering facial injuries in the collision.

Which raises the question of why someone riding shotgun would run away while the driver stuck around.

Thanks to CiclaValley for the link.

Update 4: The victim’s brother has identified him as 49-year old Peter Loretta, who lived in the area. That has been confirmed by the Daily News, which describes Loretta as being homeless.

His brother and daughter want to thank the person who comforted him as Loretta lay dying; if you know who that was, they can respond in the comments below, or contact me and I’ll forward the message to them. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Peter Loretta and his family.

Thanks to Joe Linton and John Morlock for the heads-up.



  1. JD says:

    We offer up our prayers in behalf of the family and friends of the young victim.

  2. Not a fucking “accident”, a wreck that has causes and ways to prevent. Gah! I am just so freaking angry right now at the blindness (intentional?) of LEO when something this obvious happens. Where is that hair-pulling emoji when you need it?

  3. Lori says:

    This was my father And news just got to our family yesterday. Almost 10 days later. I’d love to get in contact with the person who sat with him after the hit to thank them as my father did not die alone. RIP.

    • Lori says:

      Also, he was 49 not in his 20s even though he’s probably loving the fact people thought he was so young:)

    • Terry Cipriano says:

      The victim was my brother and the family wants to thank the person that stopped to comfort my brother, if anyone knows who the person was pls leave a msg on this post and muy niece is right he’s loving that his age was out as 29 instead of 49.

      • bikinginla says:

        I am so sorry for your loss. Please accept my deepest condolences.

        Unfortunately, your father/brother hasn’t been identified in the press. Could you tell us his name and what city he lived in so I can mention it here, and we can all remember him as more than a statistic?

        And would you be willing to talk to a reporter to find the person who sat with him? I’ll be happy to contact some members of the press to try and get the story out.

        • Terry M Cipriano says:

          My brothers name was Peter Loretta 6/26/66 to 5/19/16 and he lived in the area where he was hit.

          Our family is very anxious to find the person that comforted my brother as he drew his last breath. I would be willing to talk to a reporter if that will help us find the angel who stopped to comfort my brother.

          • bikinginla says:

            The Los Angeles Daily News included your request in their latest update identifying your brother. And I’ve added your request for the person who comforted your brother to come forward in this story. I hope that helps.

            I’ll also try to get your brother’s name added to the ghost bike that has been placed in his honor.

            • Lori Loretta says:

              Thank you for all your help. It is much appreciated!

            • Terry M Cipriano says:

              Thank you somuch for your help with this matter, it is very much appreciated

            • Michele Shalmon says:

              This was also my brother, what a senseless act. I live in the area and have been to the ghost bike and the outpouring is overwhelming. I to would like to meet and thank the person who sat with my brother until his passing, it’s comforting to know he was not alone

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