Angelenos who cycle in and around Griffith Park were shaken last weekend when a 77-year-old man was struck and killed on his bike as he trained for a June AIDS charity ride. The cyclist, who worked in real estate, was nearing the end of a 67-mile ride when a driver hit him as he was attempting to pass another vehicle.
The driver, who witnesses said seemed to be drunk, then left his BMW and attempted to escape down an embankment in the park. He was captured by park rangers. He is now facing charges of “murder and hit-and-run driving resulting in death to another person.” He had already lost his license after a prior DUI conviction.
Lack of safe bike lanes and too many vehicles
The death has once again spurred calls for safer conditions for cyclists in the 4,000-acre park. They note that there aren’t enough bike lanes, and the ones in the park don’t have safety barriers to separate them from vehicles.
Crystal Springs Drive, where this cyclist was killed, is sometimes used by drivers to escape traffic tie-ups on the 5 Freeway, which runs parallel to it. Some safety advocates would like to see the park eventually closed to vehicles entirely.
One cyclist who says he wears a device to track the speed of motorists noted, “I would say that most people are driving 35 to 40 [mph], and I will almost always encounter a driver going 50-plus.” He believes that Griffith Park is “unnecessarily dangerous, and it’s very fortunate that more cyclists aren’t killed there more often.”
The L.A. City Council member who represents the area says that she was already “considering Crystal Springs Drive as part of a series of safety improvements across the district to prevent tragedies like this from occurring.”
Despite the large number of cyclists in LA who ride for fun, exercise and to get where they’re going, there are still too many drivers who don’t take sufficient care when driving near them or who are outright hostile to them. Of course, when someone is driving recklessly because they’re impaired or distracted, cyclists are especially vulnerable.
If you or a loved one has been injured or worse by a driver, you have the right to seek compensation for expenses and damages regardless of whatever criminal charges the driver may be facing. Having experienced legal guidance can help.