A New Danger for Sidewalk Riders…Getting Maced

2_22_10_joanna.jpg

I was making my way down Los Feliz to get home in Glendale. as much as I would rather bike in the street I’m just not up to braving Los Feliz blvd during rush hour. So, I take the sidewalk until I pass the 5 Freeway and get back on the street. I just started my new commute so I’m still figuring out what roads to take.

Overall I’ve had no problems, until Monday night when I got maced by a pedestrian, as if I were doing something to hurt him! He sprayed some aerosol into the air just as I biked through it, before I knew what was happening I had to stop. I couldn’t open my eyes, I tried, it just made it worse. I was stuck rubbing my eyes for 5 mins, standing there helpless, on my bike. When I finally recovered, I looked around and he was gone.

When I made it home, I felt like crap. some guy just maced me for no reason and he got away. I figured it was a one time thing so I biked to work again the next day. so as I was coming home from the red line I biked a little slower down Los Feliz, paying attention to all the people, and I saw him again! And he had his aerosol can aimed at me, again! I biked onto the grass to avoid him, while wincing, cause I thought he was gonna spray me again. He yelled to me "GOOD…GOOD" as if I was his trained dog or something, like he was pleased that he had "corrected" me.

Now that I’ve gotten a good look at him, I’ve seen him walking on the blvd a few times before, and he usually saying something to me but I’ve never really heard what he says clearly. So I know what he looks like and I know where he is. so I went to the police Tuesday night and they actually were really supportive. I filed a report against him and I guess they’re gonna get detectives on the case and have advised me to try to avoid this guy. so here’s hoping they get him.

This guy is a white male, kinda old, in his 50s, has a small limp when he walks and talks to himself. He wears a black baseball cap with a Lion King logo on it (I think the broadway show logo), eyeglasses, salt and pepper beard, short and kinda fat. Dark colored/ black jacket, tan pants and an over-the-shoulder black bag. He walks on the southern side of the sidewalk on Los Feliz Blvd every night heading away from the 5 freeway towards Vermont around 7:30-7:40. He maced me Monday evening at Los Feliz and Rowena and threatened to mace me again Tuesday evening at Los Feliz and Lowery. Wednesday evening biked down the other side of the sidewalk and I spotted him at Los Feliz and Griffith Park Blvd. Thursday evening I camped at a friends house and saw him at Los Feliz and Wayne.

I called the police again on Thursday evening when I saw him walk nearby my friends place and I pretty much told them everything I said here. I’ve gotten nothing but support from LAPD, although I have yet to hear back from them so I have no idea if they confronted him or what.

If I were in a better state, I would love to illustrate the problems of biking between Los Feliz and Glendale, how there’s only a few streets to choose from to get over the LA river, or how it’d be great to have frequent late night Metrolink trains for people that commute later than most people (in the mornings i take metrolink to LAUS and redline it to my job but when i get off work i bearly miss the 7:30 trains back to glendale and would have to wait till 9pm. so i’ve been biking home from the vermont/sunset station.) but I just want the Los Feliz cyclers to know this guy is out there.

  • MU

    Thank you for the detailed warning. Just a plea to everyone out there to NOT engage in any vigilante style attacks on this guy. Obviously he’s an idiot. But he probably got bumped into by a bicyclist at some point and thinks he’s “righting some wrong” by trying to force cyclists back onto the street.

    Let the police handle it. If you see him, keep a close eye out and if he tries to spray you, call 911 then and there. Maybe Joanna could post who she’s spoken to at LAPD so if there are other incidents we can make sure that they are informed that this person has committed multiple attacks. LAPD is much more likely to follow up if it’s not an “isolated incident”.

  • KateNonymous

    I’m glad you’ve been so diligent about reporting this guy to the LAPD. I’m sure he’s not the same guy, but your story reminds me of the time a driver threw coffee on Mr. Nonymous as he was biking to work. He also went to LAPD, and found them to be supportive. While he wasn’t able to identify the assailant (and it is assault!) in a photo lineup, the officer was able to tell him that the guy had a history of throwing coffee, including on police officers. She said that while they couldn’t cite him, they could swing by his house and tell him to find another route to work. One way or another, there were no more sightings or incidents. I hope that they’re able to do more with this mace guy, but at a minimum I hope you don’t have to run into him again yourself.

  • Brent

    I wonder if this is the same guy who mace-d my friend’s dog — while the dog was fenced inside his own property — just up the hill?

  • Patnet

    There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about sidewalk riding in LA including those in law enforcement. Sidewalk riding in Los Angeles is LEGAL with a couple of exceptions per LA Municipal Code 56.15.

  • Alan

    That’s a pretty vicious thing to have had happen to you. I think it’s admirable that you’ve handled this so well and so responsibly.

    For what it’s worth, I got assaulted with pepper spray while riding my bicycle just a few weeks ago. I was heading home down an unlit street in the middle of the night when an average-height black male approached me and asked me if I had “change for a 20.” He obviously did this in order to make me look his direction. He then sprayed me directly in the face with pepper spray and proceeded to follow me until it was clear that he couldn’t catch up. I rode home and called the police to file a report, but they wouldn’t put this on record unless I appeared in person; I haven’t since had the time to make an appearance.

    This situation was different in that I was riding on the street as opposed to the sidewalk, and in that this guy probably intended to mug me.

    Anyhow, I hope the police find the geezer who’s been giving you a hard time.

  • Will Campbell

    I just may have to take the looooong way home this week and include LFB on my route… because of the pretty pine trees, of course. Mot because I might happen to encounter this bastard and give him a taste of his own medicine.

  • Joanna Ramos

    UPDATE!

    i finally got a call from a detective and he really wants to put this guy in jail. I think they’re going to go in for some pictures of him (and then I’ll have to verify his identity) so please just keep away from this crazy mace man so he doesn’t change his daily routine (and so the LAPD can do their job put this man away)

  • I’m sorry to hear about this incident, good to hear at least that the police are responsive. Yeah, LF Blvd. is tough to bike over. Have you tried the 780 bus? It runs fairly often, has a stop near Vermont/Sunset and at Los Feliz/San Fernando near the Glendale Metrolink, and goes by basically the same route that you’re taking on your bike. There’s probably a reason you’re not taking that bus already, but in case you haven’t tried it yet it might be worth a shot just to see if it works for you. Good luck and I’ll keep my eyes out for this guy.

  • Jeffrey W. Baker

    This post is really depressing because it looks like one of Streetsblog’s carnage posts, the ones that always lead with the photo of the dead bicyclist in happier days.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Streetsblog Interview: Andres Tena

|
Back on the bike: Tena after the "Bike Not to Work Day" ride last week. Late one Thursday night, or early on Friday morning depending your point of view, this April an H3 Hummer hit a cyclist, and what followed is a controversy that fuels emotions that rivals last year’s Mandeville Canyon “Road Rage Doctor” […]

If you can’t stand the heat…

|
After a month of blogging, I’m finally ready to join the LA Bike Culture. The bike my wife picked out for me arrived a couple of weeks ago, and today I had a chance to drop by the Bicycle Kitchen for bike assembly and to get some tips. If anyone doesn’t know what the Bike […]

Streetsblog Interview Series: Aktive

|
I can’t remember the first time I met Aktive, but it seems that every time I’m in the Northeast L.A. “Bike District” I run into him.  Going to an event at the Bike Oven?  There’s Aktive.  Getting the baby bike together at Flying Pigeon?  There’s Aktive.  June fundraiser?  Aktive. In a lot of ways, the […]