Active cyclists in Los Angeles are a whiny and righteous bunch. While barking to be treated with equal rights and deference on the road, we've all-too-many times seen group runs burn just about every traffic law imaginable. On the other hand ... facts speak louder than anecdotes. Here's one:
Nearly one out of four bicycle-involved traffic collisions in the city of L.A. involve hit-and-run motorists, according to the latest data from the Los Angeles Police Department, which were obtained by the blog Westside Bikeside. That's right, 23 percent of car-versus-bike crashes end with a driver taking off. Twenty percent of those hit-and-runs are felonies, too, according to the LAPD.
So, while we decry the overaggressive, rights-demanding cyclist who blows through red lights and crosses traffic lines without warning while demanding his piece of the road, we have much sympathy for the average bicyclist in this ever-unfriendly cycling town. Riding a bike regularly in L.A. is hardcore -- not unlike surfing New York's Montauk year round. Only for the headstrong, but without the 5 mil wetsuit.
Here's just one recently example of an apparent hit-and-run that wasn't even counted as such: According to reports and eyewitness accounts, a woman in a Porsche collided with a bicycle on East Second Street downtown last month, injuring the cyclist. But she took off and later turned herself in at the LAPD's Rampart Division. Did they arrest her for hit-and-run? No. Are the number of true car-versus-bike hit-and-runs even more numerous than statistics reflect? Maybe.