April 9, 2012
Members of the L.A. biking community expressed concern and outrage Monday after a popular cyclist became the victim of what they say was road rage in a bike lane just blocks from LAPD headquarters.
Susanna Schick, 42, of Los Angeles, was allegedly chased down Friday night by a white Lexus while riding in a green bike lane on Spring Street between Second and Third streets, said friend and cyclist Jennifer Beatty, who said she visited Schick in the hospital Saturday.
Police from the LAPD’s Central Traffic unit said Monday morning they were unaware of the incident. Ted Rogers of the BikingInLA blog that first reported the incident, said it was unclear if a police report had been filed.
“There has been a big spike in road rage with bicyclists in the last few months,” Rogers said, citing anecdotal evidence. “But to have it happen in a green bike lane is pretty surprising.”
Beatty said Schick was riding down Spring Street about 11:30 p.m. when a driver swerved across two lanes of traffic and into the bike lane. The driver and Schick “exchanged words” according to Beatty, and once the traffic signal changed, the car continued to follow Schick down Spring.
Beatty, 28, of Burbank, said the driver struck Schick just past Fourth Street, which is where the cyclist next remembers regaining consciousness while face-down on the pavement.
Beatty said her friend suffered a broken collarbone, six broken ribs and three breaks in her pelvis, but added that Schick is “awake and talking.”
On Monday, Beatty called hit-and-run accidents “ridiculously common.”
“We have a giant neon green bike lane,” Beatty said. “On top of that, we have bicycle anti-harassment laws. And you still have this notion that ‘I’m going to assert my power on the road with my 5,000-pound vehicle.’”
Rogers said Schick’s family plans to follow up with authorities Monday to see if a report had been filed. A police spokesman told The Times that the department has received media queries about the incident but has no information about it.
“Most incidents don’t get reported, and those that do don’t get investigated,” said Rogers, the biking blogger.
Schick, who carries the nickname “Pinkyracer” for the pink and silver motorcycle she raced for 20 years, started riding road bikes a few years ago, Beatty said.