Collision leaves Glassell Park bike rider in critical condition*

mapA male juvenile bike rider was left in critical condition with severe head injuries this morning after colliding with a vehicle in a busy  Glassell Park intersection. The bike rider heading westbound on San Fernando Road was making a left turn at Fletcher Drive when he was struck by a vehicle and dragged  a short distance, said Detective Michael Kaden with the LAPD Central Traffic Division.  The young bike rider, who attempted to make the turn on a yellow light,  was not wearing a helmet, Kaden noted.

One passing motorist said northbound Fletcher was blocked off at about 9.a.m. as officers investigated the incident. A mangled red bike remained at the scene.

* Update: The rider is a student at the Alliance Environmental Science and Technology High School, which is located in the former Van De Kamps bakery near the accident scene, said Howard Lappin, Chief of Staff with Alliance Schools, which operates the charter campus. Lappin said privacy policies prevented him from disclosing the age or grade of the student involved in the accident.

Students have in the past been advised to wear bike helmets and that message will be reinforced, said Lappin, who estimates that about a dozen students bike ride to school on a regular basis.  “We are really concerned,” Lappin said of the injured student


  1. In other words, a automobile driver went through a yellow light and hit a child riding a bicycle, inflicting critical injuries

    • the story says that the BIKE RIDER tried to make the turn… not the automobile.

      “…The young bike rider, who attempted to make the turn on a yellow light, was not wearing a helmet, Kaden noted…”

      i am very sorry for the young man and hope he recovers quickly and fully.

  2. I’ve seen a few bad accidents in that area involving bikes. Not a great place to ride.

    • And yet going through the Fletcher/San Fernando intersection is one of the only ways to get across the LA River between Silver Lake and NELA. I ride through that intersection on my bike all the time. Turning left onto Fletcher from San Fernando is particularly difficult for cars AND bikes during rush hour, and lots of cars avoid the intersection entirely by taking a detour onto the 2 fwy. Bikes do not have that option. Saying it’s “not a great place to ride” isn’t helpful. We should *make* it a safe place to ride with bike lanes, better street maintenance (San Fernando through that area is a pothole/cracked pavement nightmare), and protected left turns for cars and cyclists.

      • Probably would be safer riding on the shoulder of the 2. Trying to get across the 5/LA river during the morning commute is a nightmare, either on Fletcher or the freeway. Gets worse when the 2 dumps onto Glendale blvd. Be careful.

        • Until that intersection is made safer wouldn’t it be possible for kids to use the green lights to walk their bikes across rather than be in traffic? On the “walk” signals?

          • VERY good advice. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong once you are injured. Use sense, use caution always. As expressed by many in this thread, that is a tough intersection for a left turn. At least a bicyclist has the option to use the crosswalk, unlike a motorist. So, be smart, be sensible, use it.

            Because in the end, the rule of thumb is that the left turner is “always” wrong. (Not really always, but that is the cautious way to proceed into it.) An amber light is simply an alert, a caution; but motorists can proceed and will if they are close.

  3. poor kids, my thoughts and prays to him and his family. (share the road people!)

  4. From the DMV Handbook “Solid Yellow– A yellow signal light means “CAUTION.” The red signal is about to appear. When you see the yellow light, stop if you can do so safely. If you cannot stop safely, cross the intersection cautiously. ”

    Hope the teen is alright, but sounds like he was at fault. I’ve had some close calls with some teen bicyclists. One example was a teen using the green bike path but going in the wrong direction with blind spots. Follow the rules, and even then don’t assume the driver sees you or going to stop etc.

    • I think that left is unprotected. Sometimes you have to wait till the yellow to be able to make the turn, that’s just what happens at unprotected lefts.

  5. We drove by this scene right afterwards still seen him laying on the street seen he was a high school student ppl were just standing watching him ppl still driving by the fire truck and cops got there right b4 me I would of stopped and tried to help..i never seen a car around that would of hit him..My kids&I said a prayer for him&his family..Hope he fully recovers always kiss ur kids goodbye u just never know..

  6. That intersection is one of the worst in the area, with people anxiously getting off/on the 2 and the 5 freeways to get to and from all the schools and Super King. I find that the yellow signal is usually the most dangerous to cross because for many drivers it means “speed up.”

  7. This accident should have never happened if only LACCD had put the community college at the Van de Kamp site. It has been well documented that the site was not suitable for a high school. LACCD illegally put that high school there and lost in court. The judge ordered LACCD to revoke the lease. LAUSD would never put a school there.
    I have been in that intersection when these children get out of school. Many run across Fletcher Drive to catch the bus and not use the crosswalk. Poor child.

    • Man that intersection is difficult because there are so few places to cross the Los Angeles River (Figueroa/Riverside, Route 2 Freeway, Fletcher and Los Feliz). I guess part of the problem with having a high school there at Van de Kamps is that all the kids report to school during the morning at the same time and then most (except those staying after school), leave in the afternoon at the same time. So there are gobs of less mature high school kids biking and walking to and from the charter high school at the same time. This was inevitable.

      The community college campus that was promised by Los Angeles City College would have been a better use of the campus (duh, it was built for the purpose of being a community college learning center) because college student classes happen throughout the day and evening — thereby spreading the traffic out over the day and avoiding the worst time of day when the intersection is the most dangerous.

      But didn’t the community college say it could not afford to offer classes there? Why was all of that college money spent if the community college could not open it? What a mess by our elected school officials and now this… probably traceable to the community college folks who decided to hand it off to a high school. Wow.

  8. In response to Glassell Parker: Are you implying that, if used as a community college rather than a high school, community college students would not be riding bikes or walking across the street and thus wouldn’t get hit by cars? That’s quite a logical fallacy which even the high school students at AESAT would be able to recognize. How dare you use this tragic ACCIDENT as a means for promoting your political message! I suppose you’d prefer to see the beautiful facility rotting in emptiness rather than be used to educate children.

    • I think the use of the initials of “AESAT” shows that “SH” is Principal Howard Lappin or some other insider from the Charter School trying to deflect responsibility for its own responsibility for failing to have a safety program or crosswalk supervisor at the opening and closing of the school day in one of the busiest intersections in the City.

      There is no doubt that primary responsibility for the accident lies with the vehicle driver and the bicyclist. But everyone in Northeast LA knows the B.S. the community college has been dishing out for the last several years claiming it could not open the community college there. The community college and the charter school have spent years denying they had a duty to do environmental planning of the possible impacts of changing the site from the planned community college to a charter high school.

      Had that review been done, they would have been required to examine safe routes to high school, during the worst morning commute times, in a terrible intersection, and mitigate the potential safety risks. But because they continue to deny they have to do these studies, yesterday the inevitable happened — a young high student attending the charter school, unsupervised and without a safety program in place — was seriously injured.

      No one is saying the Charter School is primarily responsible for the accident or that a safety program would guarantee no accidents occur. But a safety program would have reduced the risk – there is no doubt about that. So, don’t try to tell Northeast Los Angeles that the community college and Alliance for College Ready Public Schools could not have foreseen the possible risks of injury to young 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders. They may have been required to spend a little money on a safety program or a crossing supervisor. But instead they have spent a jillion dollars on attorneys denying they had any responsibility to even look at the issue. That is the B.S. they have been shoveling for years and now they ought to face the consequences of their refusals to check the safety of their years of reckless decisions.

      One final irony: The Charter School specializes in Environmental Studies. Here’s a study for classes: What are the safety risks of the intersection at our high school? If the “adults” who run the Van de Kamps site refuse to study the intersection, which students at the high school are brave enough to stand up to the Principal Howard Lappin and prepare a student-led study of the environmental safety issues of the Fletcher/San Fernando intersection?

      • Ricardo described the negligence and incompetence of the Charter School officials including Howard Lappin and the damn Los Angeles Community College Board who yesterday, in another mind-blowing action, moved the rich car allowance money for College Presidents directly into salaries. As the Dance of the Lemons continues at the community college, they just enrich their pockets with our tax money and screw the students with no classes and, apparently at Van de Kamps, no safety program for the children attending the school. So now we have a severely injured student and blood on the hands of the administrators. These crooks have no shame and ought to be tossed from office. It makes me sick to think about these two events together.

  9. I hope the kid pulls through and doesn’t suffer any permanent brain injury. Seems reckless to me for the teenager to take on that intersection – especially without a helmet – but teenagers are known for reckless behavior, and in any case, the driver who hit him was in the wrong. It seems that little Fletcher Avenue has two of the worst intersections in Northeast L.A.; at San Fernando and also at Riverside. In addition, on Fletcher, equidistant between San Fernando and Riverside, this accident occurred in the mid-90s:


  10. Incidentally, on an unrelated note, Howard Lappin is the name of the former principal of Foshay who did great things for that school. I’m a bit sorry to hear that he jumped ship and went to the world of charters, but I’m sure he has a solid reason for doing so.

  11. I hope the kid is going to be alright.

    A friend of mine was hit & killed by a car years ago so I know first hand how hard something like this can be on a family.

    Everybody, no matter your method of travel, please be careful out there!

    No texting, no half stops and use your mirrors & directionals.

    We also need to light the crosswalks at night on certain parts of San Fernando road. The only reason why I saw a pedestrian last week was that he was waving around his lit cellphone as he crossed. If he hadn’t done that, I’m pretty sure me and the other drivers would not have seen him.

  12. I like how helmet use is what the paper and the authorities are focusing on here. Clearly a foam hat will protect you in a collision with a 2,000+ lbs. car going 35 mph.

    How about actually advocating for doing something here like install a left turn signal or station a crossing guard or designing the street so that it is safer for pedestrians and bike riders?

    No, let’s just recommend that people wear foam hats.

    There is a bull smashing up a china shop and this article is writing about how we should really wrap all our china up in bubble wrap these days. Stop ignoring the bull.

    • I’m not sure where you are getting your helmets, but the one’s I wear are not “foam hats”.

      Helmets are proven to reduce injury. Using this accident to promote that message is a perfect opportunity

      • You have not taken a close look at your foam hat to realize that it is a foam hat.

        This isn’t an “accident” – it is a collision. Assigning fault, or not assigning it, by declaring it “an accident” is an irresponsible way of framing the collision.

        Helmets are okay, but they obviously will not do much when you are left-hooked by a car driver. The focus on helmets is a horrible red-herring argument that distracts from the places where the rest of us ought to be working for change. I think it is akin to telling a woman who was raped to dress in less rape-y clothes – i.e. it is victim blaming. Wearing a helmet is not going to keep some maniac from burning through a left turn or a red light. Proper street design will. Proper law enforcement will.

        • You are obviously a “bike rider”. I say that in quotes to emphasize how passionate your are about the topic and to point out that your passion is blinding your ability to see other points of view.
          The article advocates wearing a helmet. While everyone would agree they would not eliminate injury; they will REDUCE injury.

          “Accident” doesn’t imply anything but the unintentional nature of the event. No one has assigned blame or even created a victim (except you).
          I would argue that both are “victims” as one has physical injury and the other mental injury. Neither intended nor desired this event.

          Much can be done to solve problems such as this. Part of the resolution is being able to see the issue with an open mind and ask questions from every perspective to seek the answer. Then actively pursuing the solution.
          Could the driver have been more alert? Yes. Could the bike rider have been more alert? Yes. If the bike rider wore a helmet, could he have lessened his injury? Likely.

          • I have shot you with my gun “on accident” while running wildly through the streets and pulling the trigger. You weren’t wearing a bullet proof vest. I have mental trauma from knowing that I shot you. You have been shot. If you had only been wearing that vest – it might not be so bad except that you were shot in the leg.

            “Accident” IS loaded language in this situation – it implies that there was no malice, there was no law or rule breaking, there was no recklessness. It implies that this was just a mistake – but we don’t know that. We don’t know more than that two people collided in a crash or a collision.

            Your status quo view of this isn’t reasonable – because it makes bodily injury equivalent to the feeling that one might have hurt someone with a car. When I was studying math in school and practicing chemistry in the lab, when one of two numbers was so small that it didn’t make any difference in the end result we simply excluded it from our calculations. I think any mental distress that maiming another person might bring is worth disregarding when compared to the large societal and personal cost of maiming or killing another person.

            Further, I am a rabid maniac and now we’re both going to go round and round on this issue until the internet is turned off.

          • Too irrational. Obviously very young and immature. By 28 years old you should have a better ability to discuss things through logic.

            This is me ignoring you.

  13. I bet the car driver sped up for the yellow instead of driving cautiously.

    • Don’t jump to prejudiced conclusions with no information to back them up. The information here simply tells of a collision involving a left turner, with no other info about the circumstances. If you are going to jump to an unsupported conclusion, then why don’t you presume the bicyclist lurched out in front of the car and cut it off? After all, the left turner is required to yield to oncoming traffic for the very reason being to avoid a collision like this, and the car entered the intersection legally, on an amber light. It is just as possible that the car driver was driving very cautiously but got cut off — we don’t know.

      • the story says that the bike rider was attempting to make a turn on a yellow light… turning against an approaching car is surely dangerous. the rider needed to wait until the intersection was clear. that’s what i have to do in my car… or wait for another cycle of signals…
        the DOT should evaluate the intersection to see if a left turn arrow should be installed (which it almost certainly should).

  14. Was this a hit-and-run? What happened to the motorist?

  15. there needs to be a turn light on the traffic signal on both streets. they put one in on fletcher but not san fernando. i live on la clede and i am in this intersection everyday. it can be chaos and time consuming.

  16. I spoke with the bus driver who witnessed the accident firsthand. He said he reported it to his superiors when it happened, and said that they told him just this morning the kid is going to be okay but it sounds like he was banged up very seriously. Video from the bus camera will be downloaded to see if there’s footage of the accident.

    The driver and I also talked about how unsafe of an area that is for a high school to be in. Terribly dangerous intersection.

  17. By the way, that’s the bus I normally ride, except on Monday for the very first time I rode my bike to work. Irony is that if I hadn’t gotten a bike I would have witnessed that accident also as I always sit in the front of the bus. So sad and scary!

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