Susanna Schick (left) poses with a friend at CicLAvia. Schick, a resident of Downtown Los Angeles, first became interested in cycling by the open street festival. Photo: Used with permission from Schick's Facebook
(Friends of Susana’s have set up a ChipIn account to collect funds to help with medical bills. You can donate, here.)
By now you’ve probably heard the story.
Susanna Schick was bicycling down Spring Street in the green buffered bike lane on Friday night, when she was harassed by the driver of a white Lexus. After exchanging words, the car ran her down from behind, and left Schick lying in the street with broken ribs and a broken body.
Eventually, paramedics showed up and took her to the hospital and took her bike back to her house. Following a post by the intrepid Ted Rogers on Biking In L.A. that went viral, the media picked up the story. Schick’s friend, Midnight Rida Jennifer Beatty, became a sort of spokesperson for family and friends controlling media access to Schick (except for one “intrepid” reporter for CBS2 that snuck past) and re-telling the story.
Sometime Monday morning, a reporter called the LAPD to get a statement. The police had no idea what they were talking about. Either the police were never called about the crash or didn’t respond and the paperwork was lost. With Sgt. David Krumer, the LAPD’s official liaison to the bike community on a vacation for Easter Weekend, there was nobody checking bicycling message boards or social media to learn about the crash.
This morning, again from Biking In L.A., comes word that the LAPD is treating this dangerous assault as a solo crash and not treating it as a potential felony crime. Rogers fumes that, “We may all be a lot less safe on the streets than we thought.” Meanwhile, Don “Roadblock” Ward leads another group of cyclists to the Police Commission that oversees LAPD to make the case for safe streets, again.
Meanwhile, Schick remains in the hospital. According to Beatty and Ward, she’ll be there for another couple of months, although her doctors are avoiding surgery if they can. She’s coherent and talkative. Angry but controlled. Determined to see some good come of her tragedy.
Every time there’s a high-profile crash, an agressive cyclist community has earned some sort of concession from the city. This time the city has a lot to make up for, and since the crash has become a sort of cause celeb, they would be best served to start making up now.
At the minimum, the LAPD should work with emergency responders to make certain their own response isn’t hampered as badly as it was in this case and needs to rethink the way it handles bike crashes. Read more…