It’s a story we’ve heard too often. A cyclist is riding legally down the street, when out of nowhere, blam! For some reason, a car slams into the bicycle for reasons unknown. The car speeds off (or the driver waits, it doesn’t matter), and the bloody cyclist rises to his feet, calls 911, and for whatever reason, the police won’t take a report. The driver who caused the accident gets off free as a bird. The cyclist is left to his own devices to take care of his own problems.
According to the LAPD, those days are in the past. Apparently, there’s more benefits from hanging out with cyclists’ new BFF’s, the Los Angeles Police Department, then just escorted Critical Mass Rides.
Via the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition’s blog, the LAPD is circulating a flow chart to help cyclists decide who and where to call for help after a crash. It reads a little like a "choose your own adventure" book, but if approved by LAPD brass would mark the first time a clear policy exists for reporting bicycle crashes. For example:
If there is an injury, regardless of if there is contact, a Traffic report will be completed.
If there is no injury (regardless of contact) there is no report.
If there is an allegation that the driver purposefully struck/attempted
to strike the cyclist a crime report will be completed if the elements
of the crime are articulated.
No report will be made for violations of the vehicle code or rude comments made by drivers.
There’s also information on how to report bicycle thefts:
If the theft is currently happening and the suspect is still at scene:
• Call 911.
• Let them know that the theft is in progress and the suspect is in the area.
If the theft has already occurred:
• Call 911 to take a report,
• or call local precinct to make a report,
• or call 1-877-ASK LAPD.
Things to check: maybe getting your bike back –D.I.Y. style
• Craigslist – you may want to check San Diego and San Francisco listings as well.
• Used bike shops and pawn shops
And if you’re having trouble with police not taking your report, Email Sergeant David Krumer, LAPD bicycle liaison.