LAPD Outlines How to Report a Bike Crash or Theft

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.

Screen_shot_2010_07_14_at_10.05.20_PM.pngFor a full size version, click here.

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.

  • This flowchart is a helpful way for cyclists to navigate the report-making process. However, it says nothing about what to do if there is property damage but no injuries are sustained. If your bike is trashed but you are physically ok is it no harm, no foul? No. The chart should be adjusted so people know what to do in that situation.

  • @Racho Steve – You took the words right out my mouth! Seems they’ve neglected the damage issue.

    I got hit by a car two weeks ago. My keen senses and a lot of luck got me to navigate to survival and no injury (praise the stars). My bike however, was toast. In my case, I was fortunate enough to have been hit accidentally by a responsible driver. He handled the matter with class and dignity and paid for the damages in full within a week of my getting him an estimate.

    If all people were like the driver in my scenario, we’d have a beautiful-ish world on our hands. But they frequently aren’t so kind. Protocol regarding damages MUST be implemented.

  • Sorry! I meant @Rach Stevo in the above comment. Apologies…

  • Sgt David Krumer

    Property damage only is an exchange of information between the parties. The cyclist can go against the driver’s insurance company or go to small claims…if the driver refuses to provide info than the LAPD can be called to facilitate the exchange. If the guy takes off its a hit and run.

    Hope this helps.

    Please keep in mind that the flowchart references online self-reporting for certain incidents. This feature is not yet active and still needs approval, funding, and development.

  • Derek

    So if it’s a hit & run without injury, the flowchart implies that no report will be taken. Please fix that. And please don’t post a jpeg when it only contains text and line drawings.

  • Ross Hirsch

    Sgt David Krumer stated: “…if the driver refuses to provide [insurance] info than the LAPD can be called to facilitate the exchange.”

    Thanks for that confirmation. CVC 16025, entitled “Mandatory Exchange of Information” requires it, but it’s good to know that LAPD can offer assistance if a driver is recalcitrant.

    (Sgt Krumer, Perhaps this is a new-er policy or perhaps it’s been given some larger teeth by LAPD–because, as you know, this issue has been raised, but with only limited success. We’ll talk further. Nonetheless, thanks for putting this information out there.)

  • Spokker

    “So if it’s a hit & run without injury, the flowchart implies that no report will be taken”

    No harm, no foul!

  • Steve

    I’ve emailed Sergeant Krumer about the supposed database they were going to keep for aggressive drivers. Supposedly they were going to keep track of these reports and then mail the driver a letter informing them of cyclist rights etc. This flow chart makes it look like that’s not going to be the case anymore.

    When I thought this was going to be the case, I emailed him, thanking him, but he’s NEVER responded.

  • Sgt David Krumer

    Hello Steve,

    I apologize for not getting back to you…I must have missed the e-mail. Let me provide an update. The LAPD has discussed developing an online self-reporting feature that would allow us to track aggressive drivers. This database of course requires funding for development. In the interim we are in discussions to have a cycling advocasy organization capture the data instead and make it available for our use at a later time should we in fact develop our own database.

    I routinely check my e-mail…I will go through my history…what date did you send and to what email address. Again…sorry for not getting back to you.

  • Sgt David Krumer

    Hello Spokker,

    The chart is silent on Hit and Run. Since a hit and run is a crime it is always reportable regardless of injury. Thank you for catching that.


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