Bike activists — long aggrieved over the city’s failure to make the streets safe for cyclists — swarmed around Van Nuys City Hall a week ago and then spent 90 minutes demanding an investigation into a recent night-time incident downtown dubbed The Hummer vs. The Cyclists.
The Hummer driver hit a cyclist, left the scene and then ran over
the bikes of the cyclists who were trying to get his license
information, according to the angry cyclists, who wanted to know why the LAPD accepted his side of the story and let him go without citation.
It is one of a long string of incidents which have fueled tension between the cops and the cyclists. Just a week earlier, a cyclist was killed by a hit-and-run driver who was caught
within hours, found to be driving on a suspended license, and yet released quickly on bail.
“Many of the cyclists who spoke (to the council) referred to these incidents as part of
a larger gestalt of contempt for cyclists,” cyclist and activist Stephen Box wrote in his City Watch LA article. “They called on the City Council to address behavior that ranges from motorists who endanger
the lives of cyclists to police officers who harass cyclists.”
The council called for a report on the incident from the LAPD and a status update of a broader effort to implement the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights and long-delayed efforts to make the streets biker-friendly as almost ever major city in America has done.
What they got was Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese who projects an image of the old LAPD better than anyone still left on the force.
As you can see in the video above, Albanese put it bluntly that you either take the LAPD’s word for it because, well, it’s the LAPD and they never get anything or make mistakes or abuse people’s rights except, of course, for the Rampart Scandal and federal court consent decree that have cost that are among the biggest reasons the city has a $530 million budget deficit.
Albanese’s take in the video below on cyclists’ rights on the road may help you to understand why the bikers are so angry.