We’re Calling on LAPD & the City of LA to Dedicate Resources to Hit & Run CollisionsApril 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Posted in Bike News, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
In response to the near fatal hit-and-run collision between an unknown motorist and Susanna Schick last Friday night that has been widely reported in the media, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) is calling for the City of Los Angeles & the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to dedicate resources to the rampant hit-and-run epidemic in the City of Los Angeles.
In particular, we ask for LAPD and the City of Los Angeles to:
- Create a division of crash detectives/inspectors specialized in bicycle and pedestrian crashes and standardize procedures for reporting collisions between emergency responders and LAPD.
- Fully investigate all cases where a person walking or bicycling is hit no matter the type or severity of injury.
- Collect data and report on the number of investigations leading to the identification of a driver and the number of cases that lead to legal action.
- Introduce legislation in Sacramento that will strengthen penalties for people caught committing a hit- and- run
While the LAPD has improved its investigation and reporting of traffic crashes, improvement is still greatly needed and it’s time for our City leaders to make this a priority and for all Angelenos to help end the hit-and-run epidemic. Hit-and-runs affect everyone who bikes, walks or drives in the City of Los Angeles.
In 2011 alone, there were over 18,800 hit-and-run collisions in the city. Five hundred and fourteen involved a person riding a bicycle, and another 759 involved pedestrians; over 12,880 involved another motor vehicle. Hit-and-run collisions resulted in the deaths of 36 Angelenos in 2011; 72% of those were people who were walking or riding their bicycles on the streets of Los Angeles at the moment they were hit. Hit-and-runs destroy peoples’ lives and property. Currently the LAPD does not know how many of those 18,800+ hit-and-run collisions were solved or how many were prosecuted. (all statistics from LAPD)
What is particularly horrific about this incident is that the motorist who hit Susanna and fled the scene appears to have deliberately attacked her with his vehicle. While we realize the majority of Angelenos are good people and can respectfully share the road, Susanna’s crash draws attention to the issue of road rage in our city and county. All too often, people simply trying to get from point A to B on their bicycle are harassed and threatened by motorists; yet because most such incidents are never reported to police or investigated by authorities, we have no idea how frequent these incidents actually are.
However, anecdotal evidence suggests that such harassment occurs throughout our city, county and state on a daily basis. As a result, the City of Los Angeles recently passed the first Bicycle Anti-harassment Ordinance in the United States to allow people riding bicycles whose personal safety is threatened to bring a civil suit against a violator. Even so, the difficulty in bringing a case means that the overwhelming majority of threatening drivers continue to get away with their crimes.
It seems pertinent to remind motor vehicle users that driving is a privilege and not a right. People who bicycle and walk are more vulnerable than other road users and deserve our respect and attention. So slow down, pay attention and share the road with people who chose other forms of transportation. We are all just trying to get to work, school, the store, and home to our families and friends alive and without injury.
Our hearts go out to Susanna, as well as her family and friends who are awaiting her recovery. LACBC calls on LAPD and law enforcements agencies across LA County to fully and fairly investigate all hit-and-runs, road rage incidents and cases of harassment against vulnerable road users. And LACBC calls on all Angelenos to stay calm when behind the wheel and remain at the scene for all crashes. It is our duty as responsible citizens and it is required by law.
The safety of all road users depends on it.
Further information about the hit-and-run collision involving Susanna Schick:
Susanna was hit while riding her bicycle in the Spring Street bike lane at 11:30pm on Friday night, within blocks of her home. The driver reportedly swerved across two lanes of traffic and into the bike lane where she was riding between 2nd and 3rd Streets. A block later she was apparently hit from behind by the same vehicle causing her to crash, causing a concussion, facial lacerations, 6 broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and 3 breaks to her pelvis, near the intersection of 4th and Spring Streets. The car is described as a recent model, white midsize Lexus, either two or four doors, with tinted windows. The driver is described as a well-dressed, man around 6′ tall and olive complexion, with a well-dressed female passenger. If you see a car that matches the description, call the LAPD Central Traffic Division at 1-213-972-1853.
A ChipIn Fund has also been created by folks in the bike community to help Susanna with recovery costs. Every little donation helps.