Why they waited so long to release the news is known only to them.
Especially when both the city and the state have adopted a yellow alert system intended to alert residents to hit-and-runs within hours, when there’s a far better chance of actually catching the driver.
Not two weeks later, after the driver has had his or her car fixed or hidden. And any potential witnesses may have forgotten exactly what they saw.
Instead, the LAPD waited until Friday to release news of the crash, when they asked for the public’s help finding the driver who fled the scene of the Sunland crash after killing a bike rider on Friday, August 23rd.
According to the Daily News, the victim, publicly identified only as a 55-year old Tujunga man, was riding west on Foothill Boulevard at Oro Vista Avenue at 2:15 am when he was rear-ended by driver and thrown into a parked car.
He died at a nearby hospital.
His killer continued without stopping.
Police are looking for what is believed to be a late model Prius with likely damage to the front passenger side. No description of the driver is available.
Anyone with information is urged to call Valley Traffic Division Officer J. Takishita at 818/644-8116, or anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS. As always, there is a $50,000 reward for any fatal hit-and-run in the City of Los Angeles.
This is at least the 47th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 20th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; it’s also the tenth in the City of LA.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.
Unfortunately, his op-ed reads like a work of fiction, as well.
He starts innocently enough, telling the tale of a 65-year old woman who broke her leg falling on the sidewalk in Mar Vista, suffering a compound fracture. And says it took the fire department paramedics ten minutes to get there, even though the station was just five blocks away.
But in which direction, he doesn’t say.
Yet somehow extrapolates that to blame the road diet on Venice Blvd — and every road diet everywhere else — and Vision Zero in general.
Los Angeles, like cities nationwide, is transforming its streets. In July 2017 the city installed a “road diet” on a 0.8-mile stretch of Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista, reducing four lanes to two and adding bike lanes separated from traffic by parking buffers. The project is part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities in the city by 2025. Launched in 2015, Vision Zero is the most radical transformation of how people move through Los Angeles since the dawn of the freeway era 75 years ago.
By almost any metric it’s been a disaster. Pedestrian deaths have nearly doubled, from 74 in 2015 to 135 in 2017, the last year for which data are available. After years of improvement, Los Angeles again has the world’s worst traffic, according to the transportation research firm Inrix. Miles of vehicles idling in gridlock have reduced air quality to 1980s levels.
In fact, Vision Zero in Los Angeles was just vaporware until the Vision Zero Action Plan was released in January, 2017 — two years after community groups began work on a Complete Streets makeover of Venice Blvd, and the same year the Mar Vista Great Streets project was installed.
Never mind that the road diet on Venice reduced it from a massive six lanes to a more manageable four, to reduce crossing distances to improve safety for pedestrians and increase livability.
Not two lanes, as LeGras inexplicably claimed.
Then there’s the claim that pedestrian deaths spiked in 2017, two years after Mayor Garcetti announced the Vision Zero program.
But somehow, before any significant work had been done on Vision Zero, because the action plan, and the High Injury Network it’s based upon, weren’t even released until that year.
Not to mention that none of those pedestrians were killed on streets where Vision Zero improvements had already been installed. So rather than being the fault of Vision Zero in some vague, unidentified way, they can be blamed on the dangerous, deadly LA streets that Vision Zero is intended to fix.
Which is about like blaming the vet because your cat got pregnant after he fixed your dog.
And don’t get me started on LeGras’ laughable implication that Vision Zero is somehow responsible for LA’s worsening traffic and air pollution.
Traffic is bad on streets throughout the LA area, including the other 85 or so other cities in LA County that don’t have Vision Zero programs. Let alone on the streets that haven’t seen any Vision Zero improvements at all. Which is most of them.
Oddly, traffic also sucks on most, if not all, LA-area freeways, which have yet to see a single bike lane or road diet.
The reason LA traffic is getting worse is a population that’s growing by an estimated 50,000 a year, with most of the new arrivals bringing cars with them, or buying one as soon as they get here.
Along with countless kids who receive or buy a car as soon as they’re old enough to drive, resulting in four or five cars cramming the driveways of many family homes. When they’re not out helping to cram the streets.
During the 2017 La Tuna Fire, the biggest in Los Angeles in half a century, a road diet on Foothill Boulevard the in Sunland-Tujunga neighborhood bottlenecked evacuations. After the fire a neighborhood association voted to go off the road diet. The city ignored the request and instead added another one to La Tuna Canyon Road.
It’s noble to want to make America’s streets as safe as they can be. But government officials shouldn’t impose projects on communities that don’t work, inconvenience residents, hurt businesses and impede emergency responders in the process.
As for impeding emergency responders, let’s go back to that 65-year old Mar Vista woman with the broken leg.
A ten minute response time in any emergency should be unacceptable. But countless things can take place to delay emergency responders that have nothing to do with road diets.
It took far longer than that for paramedics to arrive when my father-in-law suffered a fatal heart attack. And that was in a residential neighborhood, in the afternoon, before Vision Zero and road diets were a gleam in Eric Garcetti’s eye.
Responders can be delayed by the same sort of traffic congestion you’ll find on any other major street in Los Angeles, with or without road diets or any other form of traffic calming or safety improvements.
Never mind motorists who don’t have the sense to pull to the right like the law requires. Which seems to be the majority of LA drivers these days.
Or now you can also donate in just seconds using the Zelle app — which is probably already in the banking app on your phone — by sending your contribution to ted @ bikinginla dot com;* you can download the app for iOS or Android if you don’t already have it.
Any amount is truly and deeply appreciated.
*Remove the spaces and format as a standard email address.
The victim is described as a Latino man who appears to be in his early 30s, 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and 173 pounds. He has brown eyes and short black hair, a short mustache and beard, with Maritza tattooed on his ring finger and Jade on his right forearm.
Anyone with information is urged to call Providence Holy Cross Medical Center at 818/365-8051 and ask for the nurse supervisors’ office.
Let this be yet another reminder to always have some form of ID with you when you ride.
After residents made questionable claims about traffic chaos and emergency vehicles unable to get through on Foothill Blvd during the recent La Tuna fire, the city agreed to make changes.
But unlike Playa del Rey, the bike lanes will remain on the road.
KCET profiles a day in the life of carfree, single-speed bike-riding chef Will Marquardt, Chef de Cuisine at Petit Trois, regarded as one of America’s best restaurants. Although someone might want to explain the difference between Hollywood and West Hollywood to them.
A San Luis Obispo columnist says the city is engaged in social engineering in an attempt to force people to ride bicycles. Never mind that every decision made by government at any level is a form of social engineering. Including past policies that have lead us to this auto-centric dystopia.
And was told he could fish them out after the meeting — after one of the security officers dumped coffee into it.
Just another sign of how bike riders are treated in this city.
Never mind how easy it would have been for someone, anyone, to agree to hold them for him until he came back out. Or just how stupid it is to talk about encouraging bicycling, while actively discouraging bicyclists.
And never mind the kneejerk opposition he found to including bikes in the project once he finally got inside the Metro meeting.
Photo from LA Streetsblog.
Lyft envisions a redesigned Wilshire Blvd that reduces the street’s 10 spacious lanes down to just three narrow one, along with dedicated bus lanes, to show what life could be like in a world of shared, self-driving vehicles.
The plan also includes wider, park-like sidewalks and protected bike lanes.
The company says the narrowed street could accommodate twice as many road users and carry four times as many people as it currently does.
Wilshire capacity before redesign
Wilshire capacity after redesign. Charts from CNN
No word on whether the forces attempting to roll back road diets in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey plan to recall the president of Lyft or file suit to stop the concept while it’s still in the vaporware stage.
Bicycling deaths and serious injuries are down 20% since UK police began an undercover operation to catch drivers passing too close to bicyclists. Maybe that will convince the LAPD to finally give it a try.
Not only will Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles measure your butt to find the perfect saddle, they’ll also keep a digital record of your nether regions stored for future reference. At least when someone builds a statue of me after I’m gone, they’ll have a perfect record of my ass.
Santa Clara County’s $6 billion transportation project is on hold, thanks to a single woman who is suing to stop the whole thing to protect an ancient aquifer under a planned BART station. As opposed to all those modern aquifers, evidently.
You’ve got to be kidding. A Portola driver won’t be charged, despite being found at fault for plowing head-on into a group of cyclists last month, injuring six people.
Sadly, the city knew about the problem after other riders had been injured there, but failed to fix it. Yet continued to list Colorado as a bicycle-friendly street, despite a lack of any bicycling infrastructure or warning signs.
As the LA Times points out, this settlement comes as Los Angeles debates whether to invest Measure M local return funds in fixing the streets or supporting Vision Zero projects.
Clearly, both are necessary. Because sometimes, it’s the same thing.
And as large as this settlement is, I have a feeling Gabat’s family would gladly give it all back just to have him with them again.
Yes, he stresses the need for bike riders to be polite and obey the law. And he’s not wrong about that, although no one ever seems to suggest that every driver has to obey all the laws and be ambassadors for motoring.
But he does point the finger where it belongs, at distracted drivers and dangerously close passes that violate the state’s three-foot law. And notes that fines for littering exceed the penalty for nearly killing another human being with just inches to spare.
The kicker to the story, which ends with a call for Wednesday’s Ride of Silence, is that his own wife returned home from a ride as he was writing it, and reported that a man in a truck yelled an obscenity at her.
Which really shouldn’t surprise anyone, unfortunately.
Santa Monica gets serious about reducing traffic fatalities, including hiring a Vision Zero Czar, increasing funding, improving infrastructure, updating the bike action plan, and addressing the city’s speeding problem. Maybe LA could take a few hints from them.
Speaking of the young victim in that case, the Easy Reader News offers the most complete account yet of what happened that tragic night, and the heartbreaking impact Ciara Smith’s death has had on the community. If the story doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, you’re a stronger person than I am.
Looking west from Foothill and Riderwood towards Wentworth
Looking east from the same spot towards Sunland, next to the barriers that previously trapped riders next to fast-moving traffic
The road diet should slow traffic, while giving people on bicycles a safer and more comfortable piece of the roadway. Sullivan calls it a very welcome change on a street he regularly rides as part of his commute.
My understanding is that these plans were in the works long before Knopp’s death. But it’s good to see a dangerous road made a little safer.
Let’s hope there’s someone to take them in and comfort them. Because that’s just too much tragedy for any child to bear.
A driver buzzes a bicyclist as he’s filming a trailer for a documentary. And proves once again that too many drivers don’t have a clue when it comes to the rights of cyclists, or how to drive safely around people on bikes.
Spoiler alert: If you still haven’t seen Sunday’s Paris – Roubaix, skip to the next section. Or watch streaming video of the race courtesy of SoCal Cycling, then come back for the rest.
The Tampa Bay Times offers a strongly worded editorial calling for better safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, saying it’s time to stop accepting injuries and deaths as “collateral damage in a culture focused on cars.”
Australian police are closing in on a suspect in the 15-year old cold case murder of a man who was gunned down in his home weeks after finishing an eight-month tour of the country that ended when his bike was stolen.
This is the 67th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 27th in Los Angeles County; it’s also the ninth in the City of Los Angeles. And this is the fourth bicyclist killed on Foothill Blvd in just the last three years.
Update: According to the LAPD, the victim, who has still not been publicly identified, was struck from behind while riding on the eastbound shoulder of Foothill Blvd.
The driver remained at the scene and called for help. He or she was found at fault for the crash, and the case will be presented to the DA’s office to determine if charges will be filed.
Update 2: The victim has been identified as Jeffrey Knopp.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jeffrey Knopp and his loved ones.
The rider, who has not been publicly identified, was thrown a considerable distance by the force of the impact, coming to rest in the center of the roadway. He was taken to Holy Cross Hospital with injuries to his head and upper torso, where he was pronounced dead at 11:36.
The driver remained at the scene and was cooperating with investigators. The force of the impact would suggest the driver may have been traveling faster than the posted 35 mph speed limit.
There’s no word on whether the victim had lights and reflectors on his bicycle, which should have made him visible as he crossed the street.
Anyone with information is urged to call Valley Traffic Division Office Martinez at 818/644-8032 or Det. III Bustos at 818/644-8021.
This is the 65th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, the 26th in LA County and the eighth in the City of Los Angeles. He also the third bicyclist killed on Foothill Blvd in the last three years, which suggests a need for significant safety improvements.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.
No news coverage. No additional information. Not one single mention in the local media. And nothing about what happened, or why.
For weeks afterwards, Google’s seemingly infinite well of information came up dry, returning only the story I’d written myself. Had it not been for a brief Facebook comment from the man who’d been riding with him, I might have questioned whether it actually happened.
However, I received confirmation from a number of sources, publicly and privately, that the information I’d reported was true. I held back one piece of information I’d received privately, though; I was told that Caldwell was married to KCRW host Chery Glaser, but because the family had not come forward, I left that out to respect their privacy.
Since then, people have come to my site almost every day looking for more information about what happened, and every few weeks I’d get an email asking for details.
And every time, I’d have to send my apologies, because I didn’t know any more than I did before.
Last weekend, though, I received an email from LAPD Sgt. David Krumer, who’d been asked to look into the matter by Colin Bogart, LACBC PLACE Grant Coordinator in the City of Glendale; evidently, he’d been getting the same requests for information that I had.
And after answering them, he forwarded the information to me, as well.
The driver of the vehicle was traveling eastbound on Foothill Blvd at approx 7:10 a.m. on 08/20/2010 He rear-ended Doug and another cyclist. It appears he was going the speed limit but too fast for given conditions. The driver indicated that he had the sun in his eyes and did not see the cyclists. If glare was an issue then even if he was going the speed limit he was traveling at an unsafe speed and therefore he was in violation of 22350 VC (Basic Speed Law). The driver was not cited because we can not write a ticket for a violation we did not observe. The driver was not arrested as there was no evidence that a crime occurred. Doug died the following day from massive head trauma. The other cyclist had scrapes and abrasions with the most serious injury being the loss of some front teeth.
Right there, amid the dry details of the tragedy, you’ll find one of the biggest problems cyclists face on our streets.
There’s no shortage of laws already in place to protect us on the roads. But most are unenforceable unless a police officer actually witnesses the infraction. And while they can clearly conclude after the fact what violations occurred, there’s not a damn thing they can do about it unless the infraction rises to the level of a crime.
Sgt. Krumer goes on to note that the collision occurred on a clear day, and the riders were properly positioned in the right-hand lane. And while the driver failed to see two adult cyclists, he had not been drinking and wasn’t using a cell phone at the time of the collision.
And yes, they verified that.
And while it’s commonly assumed that a driver who hits someone else from behind is almost always at fault, that refers to civil liability, rather than criminal culpability. So even though the family may have a wrongful death case, the driver won’t face any criminal action.
It seems beyond comprehension that someone can continue driving — without slowing down — despite being unable to see what’s directly in front of him. And as a result, kill one cyclist and injure another, yet face no criminal charges. Or even a traffic ticket.
Reports indicate that the driver was speeding; he also tested positive for marijuana and had been banned from driving just seven months earlier. Two additional riders were injured, one very seriously, as well as the 21-year old driver and his 8-year old nephew, who was also in the car (earlier reports indicated the injured passenger was the driver’s 10-year old son, which seemed unlikely given the age of both).
“What we found on our arrival this morning was a terrible scene. Indescribable,” said Silvio Rocco, one of the first paramedics on the scene. “Not even a bomb could have caused something like this.”
He continued: “We were had been alerted about an incident in which, according to initial reports, only one cyclist was involved. Arriving on the scene, however, we saw that we were dealing with a massacre. They were all people whom we knew personally, so the blow was even more distressing. We alerted other emergency staff and the helicopter. It’s something that is truly disturbing.”
Meanwhile, two brothers were killed Sunday in Britain’s Cumbria region when their bikes were run down from behind by a bus, on what is considered the most dangerous road in the country.
And a North Carolina woman remembers her late husband, killed while bicycling last October, by endowing a chair in his honor at the local symphony.