The Los Angeles Police Department will soon give higher priority to collision investigations involving vehicles versus bicycles, particularly hit-and-runs, a department official tells the Weekly. A special order taking away such investigations from beat cops and giving them to one of the department's four regional traffic divisions will go out any day now, Commander Jorge Villegas told us for a story Thursday about the tenuous relationship between cyclists and cops in L.A.
He explained that the directive is part of an overhaul of how the LAPD deals with bicyclists, a reform effort that was underway before the May clash between officers and bicyclists that was partially caught on video.
Even before that mini melee, cyclists were upset that officers didn't take hit-and-run reports seriously. The problem came to a head in January when a cyclist on his way to his job at City Hall was hit by a driver who left the downtown scene only to report the incident at a police station outside the area. The woman, who was reportedly behind the wheel of a Porsche, was not cited for hit-and-run.