ELYSIAN VALLEY — A 65-year-old woman suffered a broken arm last week after she was hit by a cyclist on the L.A. River Path on the same day that city transportation officials announced a pilot program to help reduce such collisions on the popular but narrow pathway. Now, an Elysian Valley leader has organized a community meeting to find out if the city can take stronger measures to protect walkers and prevent future collisions. “My objective is to get greater awareness to the problem at hand and get a true remedy to this,” said David De La Torre of the Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch.
The Elysian Valley woman was walking northbound on the path on the morning of Thursday, March 27 when she turned left at Gatewood Street and was hit by a cyclist who was riding behind her, De La Torre said. The woman, who said she looked over her shoulder before turning to walk across the path, was thrown to the pavement. The cyclist stopped and called the woman’s family for her help. The woman was transported to a Glendale hospital, where she was found to have suffered a broken arm. She returned home but was awaiting surgery, De La Torre said.
Police and the fire department were also alerted, De La Torre said. The Eastsider has contacted LAPD for more details.
The collision took place about three blocks south of where the L.A. Department of Transportation installed rumble strips, which are basically thick coats of paint, on the path near a pedestrian entrance on Riverdale Avenue. “The series of rumble strips are intended to alert cyclists as they approach a major pedestrian entrance to the path,” according to a posting last week on the department’s Bike Blog. “LADOT hopes that this demo project will remind bicyclists to watch for and slow down when approaching entryways on the path.”
It’s not clear how fast the cyclist was traveling during last week’s collision or whether rumple strips would have helped prevent the incident. But De La Torre, who has long pointed out problems posed by speeding cyclists, said he has no faith in the strips. They do “absolutely nothing to reduce speed,” De La Torre. “It’s an accident waiting to happen if the cyclists don’t adjust their speeds.”
De La Torre and other Elysian Valley residents have been involved in using other measures to help improve safety along the path since it was extended through the neighborhood in 2010. Bright blue “Share the Path” signs have been installed and pedestrians as well as cyclists have signed “Share the Path pledges. “That’s not working, obviously,” he said of the signs.
Instead, De La Torre says the city needs to either widen the path or move cyclists to a route on the other side of the river. De La Torre has set up a special Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch meeting on April 8 at 7 p.m. to discuss the collisions. The meeting will take place at the Dickerson Employee Benefits, 1918 Riverside Dr.
*Update: The daughter of the pedestrian said her mother crossed the path near Gatewood Street. An earlier version of this post had said the woman crossed near Harwood Street based on early information. Her mother is now at home awaiting surgery. The daughter, who is also a bike rider, said she appreciates that the cyclist stopped to lend assistance and that other cyclist stopped to make sure other riders did not hit her as they waited for medical assistance. “We are being civil,” she said. But “my mother got hurt and we need to do something about it. The path does not belong only to bicyclists. It’s a shared path for everyone.”