Not Again! Another Story Tells of Attack on Ballona Creek Trail

Late Friday, I received the following email after it had been forwarded a couple of times detailing another attack of a cyclist, David Santor, on the Ballona Creek Bike Trail.  The good news is the LAPD seems to recognize that there’s a real problem on the trail and wants to do something about it.  However, the bad news certainly outweighs the good.

If you’re a regular user of the trail, or would like to ride it for the first time in a group setting, the Livable Street’s Network group "Concerned Cyclists of Ballona Creek" are sponsoring a ride this Saturday.

The following message is posted with the permission of the author:

On Thursday, October 16 at 4:30 P.M., I was doing my normal bike ride on Ballona Creek bike path I
had just gone 23 miles out of 26 and was going about a speed of 19
and 4 hispanic guys about 15 -18 years of age(they had on jeans and
t-shirts some with black T’s and they ambushed me into the rail and I
flew over the rail on the crew side. they started beating me up and
wanted everything I had. I was in shock at first and did not know what
happened. They kept shouting at me in foul language and asked from my
IPod and anything else I had they continued to beat me until I realized
what was happening and I finally shouted 911, 911, 911 and they ran
away.  All they got my $2500 bike.  They wanted other stuff in pockets
but they could not get into my pockets. I could not move much and
stayed down until they left.  It was near the McConnell Ave. entrance
less then a block west near the building.

I got up a couple bikers passed me and saw me did not say anything.
 Then another man on bike came and asked to call 911, which I had my
phone on me and started to.  He advised of another couple almost got
injured by guys with a knife, which I do not know his name or there
story, he had left.  A gentleman from the building came out and advised
he called 911 and they were on there way, which I had just gotten thru
as well.  He advised this has been happening in the area recently, he
left.  Another man on a bike saw me and he stayed until the ambulance
got there.

I was praying and thankful that I
was not killed or worst.  The fire department showed up first as I was
laying on the ground, followed by police and ambulance.  They took me
to Brotman Medical Center.  I am thankful for the kindness and care I
was given by emergency and hospital staff.  I have wounds on my arms,
leg and shoulder and broken collar bone and bruised neck, back,
shoulder and lungs.  I will be seeing the orthopedic Monday to
determine if he wants to do surgery. 

police officers did tell me that there has been many problems on
Ballona Creek path, because of the housing projects and they have not
caught anyone.  They said they need to do something so this stops

Thank you all for your kind words
of sympathy.  I would like to help see the right thing happen, so
others will not have to go through what I or others have gone through.
 I will keep you posted on outcome and hopefully see you at event.

  • That sounds horrible but I’m glad you made it out okay. David, I hope your recovery goes well. In the meantime, that means this weekend’s right at the bike path is even more important.

  • victor

    THis is pretty terrible. I have stoped taking the ballonda creek path on my way home. I use the bike path during the morning whne i commute to work. It is unfortunate that this happened, and seems to happen too often. GOOD LUCK, and hope that you get better soon.

  • I wonder, where will the LAPD say this robbery occurred? Do they have this location on their maps yet?

  • Brian

    This kills me. I have not been riding for the past week or so due to illness, but I’ve been planning to get back on it as soon as possible. Now I’m not so sure. I really want to rehabilitate the bike path, both for my selfish convenience and for the good of the neighborhoods. But this attack is terrible, and would be worse if it happened to even more vulnerable people. I generally commute 20 miles (back and forth) on the path, and for 15 of those miles I have a 3 year old and a 6 year old on the back of my xtracycle. If I was forced into a crash against the fence (which seems the MO for the past couple of attacks), even at a moderate speed, the results for my two daughters could be catastrophic. One is strapped into a seat behind me and the other is sitting on the deck, not strapped in, behind her. I shudder to think of the injuries either one would sustain from a serious crash. At a certain point, the risk calculation becomes really problematic, at least for riding with my kids.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be using the path; but I have to say that the way that I use the path is probably going to have to change until there is a real police response to these attacks.


    PS–Hope to see everyone at the ride on the 25th.

  • These parasites don’t frighten me. They enrage me. I will not stop riding the bikeway. I will ride it farther. I will ride it slower.

    As to the pair of passing cyclists David reports ignoring his distress and failing to offer even the slightest assistance, that kind of despicable behavior is almost as unacceptable to me as the assault.

    I wish David a speedy recovery.

  • paulobak

    This is a very dangerous area that is the turf of the most dangerous west side street gang.

    I know those guys are scum but

    Your John Wayne attitude is dangerous.

  • Al (digablesoul)

    I’m sorry to hear about what happened. Something like this happened at one of the group rides at night in east la and someone was able to chase them down and get the bike back but this was in a group ride with cyclists around. This brings me to the point of what happens next as far as protecting ourselves. So do we carry stuff? Like mace or a knife? How much worse will a situation be if we defend ourselves?

    As for David being outnumbered if he had used mace then he would have maybe gotten a few of them but the others won’t be too happy with it and then how worse could’ve it gotten.

    As a kid… you think this would be part of life. When I was younger… I had two bikes stolen while I was on it. I was threatened to get my ass beat and I’d hand it over. Now these teens/kids don’t care anymore. It’s getting really crazy out there… riding in pairs at least can help but it sucks it has to be that way. I’m sorry to hear about the bike and feel better. Bad things are coming to them….

  • @Paulobak: I’m not sure I understand your knock. My attitude is “John Wayne” how and dangerous to whom?

    Since the August attack I’ve made a dedicated effort to include the creek between Inglewood Boulevard and Duquesne Avenue in my morning and late afternoon/evening commutes. It’s not heroic. It’s simply a matter of accepting the risks and drawing the line — of not being willing or able to surrender the creek to the scum when so many others did. To date I have pedaled the path pretyy much every workday since with little in the way of negative encounter or incident.

    And now in the wake of last week’s attack — and again when another rider such as commenter Victor demonstrates a faltering resolve — my comment above is simply a way of adamantly stating my stand is the same as it ever was, with the amendment that no distressed rider would go unaided by me.

    Yet such a position prompted you to take a whack at me as cavalier or “dangerous,” which on the surface is laughable given the true danger is the thugs and the apparent free reign they have all up and down the Ballona. So again I ask who am I potentially endangering other than myself? And if the answer is no one — which it is — then the question is why do you possibly care? And the answer is you don’t. Not in the slightest.

    So the only conclusion I can come to is a philosophical one: that you take issue with those such as myself who don’t fear anything other than fear itself.

  • Mihai

    I think an assertive attitude is required, we simply cannot continue to ride in fear on the Ballona Creek path. I hate that I even have to consider avoiding it at dark, I shouldn’t be afraid to ride in my own damn city.

    Until the cops make it a high priority to clean it up, carrying mace or a blunt object like a U-lock would seem best. Carrying a knife is like carrying a gun, it’s probably a lot harder to defend yourself in court and claim self defense if you were to use an actual weapon. Hopefully someone with a law degree chimes in, because I’m no expert.

  • Sadly, this is nothing new. I was ambushed and robbed there back in 1988. And it sounds like it’s no different now. Except that the thugs who attacked David were probably the sons of the ones who robbed me. Sadly, some things never change.

  • Libby

    Wow, that’s very scary. Usually I am most afraid of getting hit by cars though I have been ran after by drunk homeless in West LA. I am so sorry to hear of this and I hope something is done soon. I wish you a full and speedy recovery.

    Especially as a female, I myself would rather ride Wilshire in the dark rush hour than ride through a nasty area.

    The neighborhood should have a general interest in improving the situation. People who would jump a cyclist would also jump others as well. That said, many bad areas are the by-product of long term community apathy and neglect.

    To the cyclists who just ride past that kind of situation, you make me ashamed to be associated with you.

  • new_victim

    Just wanted to let you know that this problem is still an issue. I got attacked by three kids last Saturday (Nov 1) while jogging… One of them hit me in the back of the head and tried to get my ipod. When I resisted and kicked him back, one of them pepper sprayed me and another one pulled a knife! Thank God a biker passed by and helped me get out of there.


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