Friday, October 21, 2016

Bike ban proposed on L.A. River path after elderly pedestrian injured in Elysian Valley crash

Crash took place near Riverdale Avenue

Crash took place near Riverdale Avenue

ELYSIAN VALLEY — An elderly woman remains in intensive care after being struck by a speeding cyclist while on her daily walk on the L.A. River bike path in Elysian Valley. In response, some residents are calling on the narrow path to be closed to cyclists until safety improvements can be made.

The 65-year-old woman, known to her neighbors as Ms. Yun, was struck from behind by a speeding cyclist near a pedestrian entrance to the bike path on Riverdale Avenue at about 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, said David de la Torre of the Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch.

Yun was taken to a hospital where she received treatment for severe head injuries, said De la Torre. A prolonged hospital stay is expected for the long-time Elysian Valley resident and active member of the Jardin del Rio Community Garden, he said.

It is unknown whether the cyclist stopped to help Yun. The Eastsider has contacted Capt. Arturo Sandoval at the LAPD Northeast Division for more details but has so far no information has been provided.

Delatorre believes the cyclist is at fault for the collision for failing to yield to a pedestrian sharing the narrow path.

Yun was the most recent person injured in a crash involving a cyclist and pedestrian on the path. In 2014, an elderly woman suffered a broken arm after being struck by a cyclist. That collision also prompted residents to improve pedestrian safety and slow down cyclists. In their defense, cyclists have complained that pedestrians often walk directly in front of them, leaving little time or room to avoid a crash.

Although bright blue “Share the Path” signs and rumble strips have been installed along the bike path, collisions continue to happen. Members of the Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch are now calling on Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell to implement further safety measures to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

The organization is demanding that the bike path be closed to cyclists immediately until improvements, including speed bumps and exclusive dedicated walk paths, are implemented, said De la Torre. They also demand that LA River bike path be renamed to include the word “pedestrian” and to designate the Elysian Valley stretch of the path a recreational “slow speed zone”.

The collision with Yun and the cyclist happened near a rumble strip, which was installed near pedestrian entrances to the path by the L.A. Department of Transportation to alert cyclists that they are entering a pedestrian zone. The L.A. Department of Transportation and LAPD are currently working on adding more “share the path” and “slow” signs on the path as well as the additional rumble strips.


Posted by Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch (EVNW) on Tuesday, October 11, 2016


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  1. I don’t ride the path in Frog Town because I have been almost knocked off my bike many times by people walking on the path or by off leash dogs. I don’t want to hurt anyone more than I don’t want to be hurt myself. That being said I’ve seen cyclists going unreasonably fast when kids and elderly are on the path. A separated path would help. Most importantly, I hope Ms. Yun will be okay.

  2. A bike is a vehicle and the basic speed law is to always control the vehicle and travel only as fast as it is safe. There is no excuse for colliding with people walking even if they step out in front of them. They are making the same excuse that cars use against bikes who are also riding out in front of them. We all need to anticipate the unexpected from bikes and walkers and slow down and give them room. If they cannot or will not than close the route and remove the paving.

    I have had several bikers yell at me for walking on a bike route like they have some sort of right of way and I walk on the white line and stop to let them pass safely. I have been anticipating this incident and wonder what would happen to the biker who runs down a gang members child on their tricycle. Hope and pray for Ms. Yun’s recovery.

    • excellent post david. I am a biker, I get the desire to go fast but the first rule is SAFETY.

    • I share the same safety concerns as everyone else… Basic Speed law is subjective. Having ridden and walked that path countless times I can say with certainty that people generally suffer from typical LA obliviousness. Walking 4 abreast… children darting unattended across pathways etc etc. You can sit there and talk in generalities of safe speed, but the truth of the matter is there is no true “safe speed” for a cyclist to ride that cannot be thwarted by carelessness and stupidity. I could be riding at 5mph and still find myself in an unavoidable bad situation. Same goes for operating a bike on a road shared with cars.

      ALSO… not sure what people are thinking what “speeding” is for a bike, but in most parks with bike paths speed limit is 25mph (a speed I highly doubt most solo riders avg) So…. just be aware of your surroundings. If its a bike path… you should really think about it like walking down the side of a residential street… not a casual stroll on a sidewalk. Everyone has a part to play in avoiding accidents.

      I have no idea who was at fault in this particular case.. I hope Ms. Yun has a swift recovery. Closing the path to bikes while you hold out for “improvements” (that STILL won’t combat general stupidity or prevent the absent minded from wandering into harms way) is a bit of a pipe dream and paints cyclist with unfairly broad strokes of blame.

      • I always get a chuckle out of this.

        Pedestrians walking two or three abreast and blocking the lane? “They’re oblivious to everything around them! They should walk single-file!” Cyclists riding two or three abreast on the road? “It’s safer! We’re more visible! It’s not illegal! You can wait behind us!”

        Darting across pathways? “You need to look both ways, people!” Cyclists running stop signs and darting into traffic? “I’m only risking my life! You should be looking out for us!”

        Safe speeds for bicycles? “It doesn’t matter how slow I go, ‘accidents’ will happen…” Safe speeds for cars? “Cars should be forced to slow down for bicycles! And don’t you dare call it an ‘accident!'”

        Cyclist rings his bell when approaching pedestrians? “I’m letting the pedestrians know I’m approaching so they don’t step out in front of me/get out of my way.” Car honks their horn while approaching cyclists? “How dare they! I have a right to the road, too!”

        Pedestrians steps in front of a cyclist? “You need to be more careful! It’s a ‘shared use’ path and you need to be aware of cyclists!” Bicyclists swerve in front of car? “You need to be more careful! Share the road and be aware of cyclists!”

        And, of course, when you point these out? “Well, I’m not driving a two-ton death machine! Bicyclists never hurt anyone!”

        • A million times this ^^^^^

        • I really can’t agree with Peter. A better comparison for this accident would be a cyclist riding on a highway. It is already unsafe for cyclists to ride on city streets, especially in LA with so many bad drivers., A bike path is an ideal solution to this problem, much like highways improving traffics in a city. I understand that it is impossible to have either pedestrians or bikers to stop using the road, but I would suggest installing signs along the bike path to remind both pedestrians and bikers to stay alert and be aware of each other. A long term solution would to completely separate the two, probably building new walking paths specifically for pedestrians, that way everyone would be happy. In many of bike paths in the city, there are already so many pedestrians that it is impossible to ride on. If people really like to walk on city trials so much, I don’t understand why the city wouldn’t want to spend the money to build more bike or walk paths.

  3. I’m pretty sure a gang member would be like “my child is hurt, I better get them to the hospital.”

  4. It’s a bike path. There should be a pedestrian ban.

    • It was a pedestrian path first, then they painted stripes to allow bikes. The agreement was always that it would be a shared path, but the speeding of the cyclists is making it intolerable for pedestrians.

  5. Yeah can’t stand those spandex fake sponsored jerk wanna be tour de france dudes who speed down there. So many parks with kids and families that can pop out onto that bike path at any second.

    So sad.

    • I wholeheartedly agree. It’s not the recreational bike riders but the wanna-be pros who treat it like a racetrack who are making it unsafe. I get that there’s not a ton of places for them to go full on Lance Armstrong in town, but this one is especially ill suited for high speed biking because of all the pedestrians who also use the path.

  6. Ha! 2 injuries since 2014 so we should ban cyclists? Get real! Pedestrians RARELY pay attention, whereas cyclists are focused on their route. Same as riding the Strand at the beach; pedestrians walk around like drunks, can barely walk in a straight line. What’s next, ban Joggers or those who run fast? David de la Torre is a fool.

    • There have been several injuries, most not reported. This path was a pedestrian path for several decades, bikes would use it but with multiple dips and bumps from tree roots you couldn’t speed through it. And certainly no one in professional riding gear ever came to the hood path before the city cared to repave and stripe it. The elderly residents may not hear or react fast enough to avoid a collision especially when the bikes are zooming by. Multiple curves in the path create blind spots and again speed is a factor when they can’t stop for others enjoying the path.

      • “This path WAS a pedestrian path for several decades…”

        It is called the LA RIVER BIKE PATH, has been for quite some time, Wake up. It is a destination for cyclists.


      • I have to agree – this is officially a bike path, and cyclists have been using it for as long as it’s been open. Any time you force pedestrians and cyclists to use a path together, you’re going to get a few accidents. Cyclists bear the bigger responsibility, but pedestrians seem to not understand or care that they’re walking on a bike path, and walk two, three and four abreast, or just suddenly cut to the side without looking (happened to me several times). Everybody has to be mindful of others on the path. Banning cyclists is a nutty move and will never fly – remember, it IS a bike path. So let’s start with figuring out how everyone can share the path. There have been precious few accidents on the path – if we banned cars from the roads after the first couple of accidents, we’d all still be sitting on Model T’s in our driveways.

  7. So should we close say riverside drive or Figueroa street to vehicular traffic every time a car mows down a pedestrian or cyclist??? Didn’t think so. This is absurd. Have some personal accountability and stop looking to blame other groups of people for your inability to “share the path”

  8. I ride my old clunker on that path all the time. The only problems are a few teams of racers usually on the weekend mornings who feel the path should be a stage of the Tour de France. So they get pissed off at me or anybody who happens to be on the path and slows them down in the slightest.

    It’s a great path but it’s not made for serious biking.

  9. It’s not that hard. Cyclists, get a bell. And plan your high speed riding for the path north of Fletcher where there are much fewer pedestrians. Pedestrians, stay on the right side. Nobody cares that in the 80s it was a dirt road where you could do what you pleased. It’s a bike path now.

  10. I’ve walked that path many times and there’s ALWAYS
    a jerky speed racer bike dude who won’t slow down who nearly plows me over. Ideally one side of the river should be for biking and the other side for walking. It’s dangerous!

  11. I’ve been shouted at a few times by the spandex outfitted cyclists when I’m simply walking in straight line on the path. Speeding cyclists who can quite easily reach speeds of 20-25mph, its just not safe for anyone.

  12. I find most cyclists who are teens ride those bikes like true assholes.

  13. I don’t understand why these spandex cyclists can’t get a bell. I ride a bike like a normal person, I have a bell I ding when coming up behind people. Is it because Lance Armstrong doesn’t have a bell? Do they just enjoy shouting at people to move out of the way? Get a bell!!

    • Lots of cyclists do have bells, and either use them or say the somewhat confusing “on your left”. However, there are also lots of walkers who are listening to music so loud they can’t hear anything around them… There’s lots of room here for both parties to do better.

  14. Ban the bikes, bikers are terrible people. Real low life’s these two wheeled pedaling fools are.

  15. If pedestrians walked single file on the left side, like they’re supposed to, there would be no problems.

  16. Put a bike path on one side of the river and a walk/run path on the other side. Problem solved.

    Let’s not punish all bikers because of the action of one biker. How about we just punish the biker who is at fault?

  17. The path in Frogtown is right next to our parks and homes, people stroll there, dogs and children are present.

    No one has the right to speed through it and yell at us and certainly not the kids in the neighborhood, which I’ve seen – more than once my blood has quietly boiled at the utterly rude and threatening tone they take as they speed through our quite part of town. If the only way to enjoy our part of the city is to speed through it and knock our elderly people over, then I’m all for closing it down. I’ve seen a lot more than two incidents and I only get over to the path once or twice a month.

  18. I biked around in Stanley Park in Vancouver last summer. On their popular bike/pedestrian paths, they had walk your bike zones which forced bikers off their saddles by making them go through a bike carousel. These walk your bike zones would force the speed trainers to use another path but still allow recreational users to continue biking. They should be training on the roads if they are serious anyway. Plus, there should be signs posted about watching out for bikers, look both ways, slow down for pedestrians all along the path.

  19. seems like what is really needed here is a bicycle road diet. You know, to make it safe for pedestrians.

  20. I’m laughing as I read some of these comments, because some people clearly don’t know their history of frogtown. Before the gentrification hit, the “Bike Path” was anything but a bike path. It’s conditions were horrible for biking. There was barely any concrete, the path was full of dirt and rocks and had horrible bumps.
    Only recently has the path been suited for cyclists to ride on the path.

    So to those saying it’s been a “Bike path” for the longest, think again. Only people saying this are those have been living the neighborhood for a few years lol ..

  21. stay in your lane, switch lanes to pass when encountering someone slower… bikers, joggers and lumbering fatties all must obey this simple rule. slow down at blind turns.
    no need to ban anyone.

  22. Rode the bike path this past Sunday around 9:30am, from Fletcher to Figueroa. Probably 10-15 mph. Only problem I had was with a pedestrian who decided to take a sudden step in my direction without first looking. I was behind him and to his left when he no longer cared to walk in a straight line . He was overweight with headphones, Nike Free’s and not paying attention. Have you seen this man???

    Please note – I do not wear spandex or have fancy biking shoes nor do I ride in packs.

  23. A ban is not a solution. edd has it right, be cool, ride and walk to right, pass with care…it’s not a race track and it’s a not for walking your dog while lease straddles the lanes…

  24. I bike this path frequently, and find that most pedestrians and bikers are alert and careful. However, I do see pedestrians stepping out into the bike path without looking, dogs running off leash, groups of people walking 3-4 abreast (with their backs to the bikes, instead of walking towards them–like in the photo above) and small children running around the path without supervision. Bikes need to slow down, but the pedestrians also have to be alert. I’ve had close calls while riding, and I’m going pretty slow (~10-15mph).

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