Los Angeles Bicyclists Ride in Protest to City Hall
A group of cyclists rode to City Hall from the “Bike District” at Heliotrope and Melrose in East Hollywood on Wednesday, February 24 to support a cyclist who was hit by a car while riding to work in downtown Los Angeles. The a driver fled the scene at Second and Figueroa, leaving the cyclist injured on the street calling for help.
The incident was reported extensively on several blogs and news spread fast in the cycling community. Witnesses reported the license plate number to the police but City and District Attorneys decided not to charge the motorist.
“All the parts came together to make an egregious situation,” said cyclist Kenneth Lyons. “You have someone in a Porshe hitting someone on a bicycle and leaving the scene as the cyclist pleads for help. How could anyone do that? Then the police write a report and call it an accident and City and District Attorneys won’t do anything. That’s why people got together for the protest ride.”
To protest the impunity government officials extend to motorists who collide with bicycles, riders followed the route Ed Magos, a city employee and father of two, took to work the day he was hit. The ride was an expression of solidarity with Magos and other cyclists who have been hit by motor vehicles in the city.
“We stopped near the place Ed was hit on Second Ave for a moment of reflection before continuing on to City Hall,” said Lyons.
“The ride was a success in that we were able to raise a lot of awareness around the issue,” said Aurisha Smolarski, Outreach Coordinator at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.
On their website, the LACBC reported that LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told the protestors at City Hall that the department recently formed a Bicycle Task Force and is developing a program to educate officers about cyclists rights and the law.
Even so, accidents take a terrible toll on the confidence of cyclists.
“You realize how helpless you are if you are going to ride your bicycle to work. An accident shakes your confidence,” said Lyons.
Although the protest ride made cyclist issues visible at City Hall, Ed Magos has not been on a bicycle since the accident.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hail Los Angeles as a bicycle-centrist place like Portland, Oregon. I don’t know if we will ever have that here. Maybe there will be a better day. Maybe the roads will be better. Maybe the laws will be better. Maybe people will be more aware. Maybe cyclists won’t be neglected and left on the street for dead,” said Lyons.
Read the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition report: Bicyclists Ride for Justice, Chief Beck Hears All About It
See how the The Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition is calling for justice for cyclist victims of hit-and-run accidents covered the story
Check out the USC journalism school coverage: Cops And Cyclists Mending Relationship As City Works Toward Cohesive Bike Plan