Last week Enci Box, who seems to be a magnet for bus drivers who don’t understand the concept of sharing the road, run her into the curb bringing Bike to Work Week to a sad and quick ending. Even sadder, the incident occured across the street from the start of the "Bike Not to Work Ride" from a day earlier. LAist reports that the driver immediately saw the error of his ways.
He then opened the door and screamed "Get the F@%& off the road!" and then called her an idiot as his passengers looked at her and tried to exit as there was a cyclist between the bus and the curb.
But the real horror of the incident, one that probably occurs daily on LA’s roads, is that after the incident nobody in a position really seemed to care. Enci and her husband Stephen are two people that know the system, and they still found it nigh impossible to actually file a complaint on the incident.
First the LAPD was contacted, and they passed it off to the sheriff’s office. The same people who are under contract to Metro to provide security.
Metro’s private security force didn’t want to deal with angry cyclists either and had them speak with Metro’s customer relations office.
Metro’s bus supervisor didn’t seem all that concerned, actually releasing the driver before speaking to Enci, and probably would have ridden off into the sunset if Stephen hadn’t walked across the street to summon a representative from Council President Garcetti’s office, Deputy district Director Mitch O’Farrell.
While O’Farrell was helpful, he ultimately couldn’t file an official report for them. By 4:15 P.M. all of the representatives had gone home and an official report of the incident had yet to be filed.
I spoke to Stephen this morning, and he finished the story for me. Enci continued on her way to work, and Stephen worked the phones until he spoke to a lieutenant in the local LAPD field office who told him to come on in and fill out a complaint. After her work was over, Enci biked to the office where a night supervisor refused to take the report. After Stephen came by and the two met with the lieutenant, the report was finally filed after 2 A.M. in the morning.
So let’s summarize. A cyclist is run off the road and verbally abused by a bus driver. The cyclist tries to file an official complaint, and is blown off by the LAPD, LASD and Metro staff. Finally, after an evening of calling people they know within the system, they’re able to file a report 10 hours later.
If this is the experience that dedicated activists with years of experience and contacts, imagine what the experiences of everyone else would be.
Photo: Jason Kronick/Flickr