Car Driver Slams Into Group of Midnight Ridazz Near Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (Updated: 2:11 P.M.)

Ridazz Down. Photo: Magnus Sheen Nihilus/Facebook

Last night, at the end of the “KoreatownWednesdays” Midnight Ridazz ride, a couple of dozen Ridazz were standing at the bottom of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook waiting for the rest of the ridazz to make it down the hill.  The ride begins every week in Koreatown and heads to the overlook.  There the group parks their bikes, ascends the hill and takes in the view.  I’ve never done the ride, but I’m told it’s a pretty low-key ride, runs at a fast clip, and is very peaceful at the end.

Unfortunately, for the group of Ridazz at the bottom of the hill, it was not a peaceful night.  Rider AIDS66 writes on Midnight Ridazz:

We were waiting for everyone to make their way down from Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook as this shit happened. I saw a car speeding towards us and thought doesn’t the driver see us, NO…. Drunk bitch took out the whole ride. some of us got out of the way just in time but many took the brunt force of the hit.

CBS 2 has the most in-depth media report on the incident, and notes that there were nine victims of the crash, three of whom were hospitalized.  The driver was taken into police custody under suspicion of DUI.  No word yet on the results of her alcohol level or what she is being charged with.  Some Ridazz said they saw her talking on her phone, but that hasn’t been reported in the media.  The media is near-unanimous in its reporting that the woman was driving sixty miles per hour during the collisions.

While our thoughts and prayers go out to the injured cyclists and those scarred by witnessing the crash, I can’t help but notice the soft bias in the media against some of the cyclists in the reports.  The worst example is from KABC.

After noting that the police were critical of the cyclists for wearing dark-colored clothing and standing in the street, the broadcaster also notes that, “…there was beer bottles and condoms where the cyclists were hanging out.”  Unless the reporter, or the reporting officer, is implying the cyclists were having a drunken orgy in the street that shielded them from view, I’m not sure how either of those facts are relevant.  First off, one Koreatown Rider reports they were standing in the shoulder, so even if they shouldn’t have been in the street, the driver shouldn’t have been in the shoulder (an earlier version of this story said “bike lane” instead of “shoulder.”)  Second, who cares if they were drinking (they probably were) or using condoms (they probably weren’t).  Unless the police/KABC believe a victim was so drunk they jumped in front of the car the drinking is immaterial.

Compare that to the CBS report:

Here the reporter focuses on the driver’s actions talking to witnesses, humanizing the victims and noting that the driver was drinking red bull, smoking and was doubtless distracted (at-best).

We’ll continue to update this report as more details are released.  If you want to help make certain that the driver is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, one poster at Midnight Ridazz drafted a letter to the District Attorney’s Office.  You can email the D.A. through this link.

This morning I am greatly upset and angered by the news of a driver who injured 11 cyclists with her car. I am writing to make it known that the driver who drover her car into a group of cyclists in the Baldwin Village area in the early morning of Thursday, June 16, 2011, must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the laws. For committing such a heinous act as she has, which is both irresponsible and reckless in nature, this driver can be shown no mercy for her careless actions behind the wheel of a weapon. Justice is the least of what the victims of this incident are due. It is my sincerest, deepest hope that this woman is fully stripped of her driving privileges for a number of years.

Bearing the effects of her actions, intentional or not, the sentence should reflect fully the damage she has caused to so many lives–not just those who have been injured, but to those who bore witness, as well as the entire community of Baldwin Village, Los Angeles, and vulnerable street users such as cyclists and pedestrians, as well as all road users. I understand that it is early and the full details of the incident have yet to fully be revealed, yet the greater cause and effect are apparent and warrant a severe sentence, that at any level, would only begin to serve as due penance for a crime of this nature. This driver has most clearly abused her privilege to operate a motor vehicle, and in doing so has robbed people of their livelihood and, in many ways, their futures. It is simply a miracle that no one was killed, but when actions such as the drivers are capable of causing death, such as hers have been, they should be viewed as hugely life-threatening and be punished for the damage caused as well as the damage that was fully possible.

(Update: Sgt. David Krumer reports that the Culver City Police will handle the investigation, as the crash occurred just inside their limits. If you have any information, contact Culver City Police, Traffic Bureau: (310)253-6200)

  • It’s been a couple months from the last time I pedaled that stretch of Jefferson Boulevard around the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, but there certainly wasn’t any sort of “bike lane” then that is being reference by police and witnesses.

  • Jonathan

    Is today 6/16 “harass a cyclist day” or what.  I was harass twice while riding to work on my usual route today for no reason at all.  I wasn’t doing anything other than just simply being on my bike.

  • Anonymous

    KABC wants us to stay at home on our sofa and watch Disney movies; didn’t you get the memo?

  • Guest

    First, excellent coverage of early media bias in this case.

    Second, the above suggested letter for the DA’s office has odd gender messaging about the driver, including loaded descriptors such as “this woman is fully stripped” and “bearing the effects of her actions.” The gender of the driver is irrelevant and doesn’t make the crime more or less heinous.Third, and I think, more important is that these cyclists were safely convened in an open-air public area when they were criminally assaulted by a deadly weapon — not unlike the crowd convened in the Santa Monica Farmers Market in 2003. That case was successfully prosecuted as criminal, not accidental. Thanks to a state appeals court ruling, the market goers were later enabled to sue the city of Santa Monica. It is important that pedestrians and bicyclists are able to safely convene in our city with the proper protections in place that assure our well-being.

  • ABC reported that the driver told police she was looking down at her phone she she crashed into the riders:

  • Anonymous

    To be fair, and I’m a bicyclist myself,( being the first biker to climb Ewing, Baxter and Fargo on my Iverson 5-speed back in 1974), some of these bicyclists are real ass-holes. A while back I saw them clog an intersection in Echo Park, and as a family in a van tried to slowly make its way through, they were attacked by 20 or 30 of the bicyclists, who kicked and punched the van and windows. The folks inside, and their children were of course terrified. And its no secret these mass bike rides are rolling beer-guzzling parties.

  • Anonymous

    Its hard enough to see a drunken bicyclist that darts in and out of traffic, riding recklessly, during the day….its even harder to see the same drunken/stoned biker riding an unlit and unreflectored bike at 2AM. Maybe they should become the MIDDAY RIDAZZ?

  • Anonymous

    I’ve also passed these groups, and usually only the straggler will have lights, with only a few up front having lights. This is already known, and this is what they are known for. They also do not follow bicycle safety, and are usually found spread all over BOTH sides of the street. This is extremely dangerous to autos, especially after midnight when lighting and vision is compromised. I myself have had to swerve into the oncoming lane to avoid wobbly drunken/ stoned bicyclists

  • MSW

    Too true, Culver City is working on a grant proposal for this, though. Hopefully it will be awarded.

  • Tiago Barufi

    you are just trying to put the blame on bicyclists… you are an asshole, ‘garagehero’. Stop whining! 

    Your attitude is to condone someone who drives drunk while using a cellphone and nearly KILL dozens of people… people like you make me sick.

  • Tiago Barufi

    I have never seen these bikers trying to kill anuyone with their bikes. 

    An now I see what kind of ‘cyclist’  you are: the performance guy who thinks the sane manner of cycling is to tuck the bike on an SUV and drive out of cities, to do not disturb the sacred path of cars… people like you are the scum of the traffic and deserve to be surveilled to avoid abuse!

  • Anonymous

    She “jumped the curb” according to the Daily News.  Even if no one was around to be assaulted, isn’t that enough to throw the book at her?

  • Anonymous

    best coverage so far!

  • Guest

    I know its a late comment but pls. do not give anymore replies to garagehero , Rudy Martinez or whoever he may be. He, just inciting reactions from all of you since I’ve seen the same comments and “witty banter” on the L.A. Times website. Clearly we do not need to drag our selves as low as these types of people.

  • Anwatsadat

    Ok, now wait a minute.  The streets in the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market incident were closed by permit and blocked to traffic by the local authorities.  Albeit they were not effectively blocked, but the roads were not open to vehicular traffic. 

    In this incident, the riders were not gathered “safely in an open-air public place”, they were standing in the traffic lanes of a highway, in violation of law.  (Vehicle coded 22400 and 21953). They had the opportunity to move out of the way of the oncoming car, actually, they had the legal obligation to move out of the way of the oncoming car.  They had as much of an opportunity to move as the driver had to “take evasive action” as they put it.

    Seems maybe what we have here is a case of Darwin’s theory in action.  Each party is equally responsible…what a novel idea….Personal responsibility…?

  • garagehero

    Shut up guest. Telling the truth or both sides of the story is not “inciting”, except if you are a tool, like most of these bicyclists are.

  • Rida Killa

    Fucking arrogant assholes. I hope to read more of these stories, I hate you obnoxious self-righteous cunts who think the laws of traffic only apply to us petrols-slaves in our motorized vehicles. Everytime one of you goes down I applaud. FUCK THE RIDAZZ.

  • Yolo Watefah

    Oh no! Watch out everyone – an internet tough guy is here to shut us all down! Waaaaah boo hoo hoo. Are you going to show us how macho you are by ramming your car into a group of people on standing on the side of the ro … oh wait a minute, that already happened. Oh! I know, you can yell and throw things at us and then we’ll freak out and cr … nope, that one is done all the time.

    Maybe the tears are actually being shed on your side of the screen – as you have nobody who loves you or who listens to you in your life. We’re here for you, bro. Let it all out in the comments section of LA Streetsblog. Tell us how you really feel.

    I am slowly unzipping my pants in anticipation.

  • Yolo Watefah

    Ooooh, no you DID NOT just call these bicyclists here “tools”. Sir, if you keep up the name calling I will be forced to drop by side project (collecting micopipettes full of Tilapia eggs and semen for a kickstarter health supplement I am working on) and will be forced to SMACK YOU DOWN with vague insults based on nothing but the taunts forever ringing in my ears from the horrid years I spent in a remote Coptic Christian school in Syria as the lone english speaking waste management intern.

    You do not want to light my chalice of burning internet justice, good sir. For when you besmirch bike riders online you are only asking for keyboard vigilante justice. Based on your user name and the time of day you posted I am already able to track your location using the Internet Sheriff I share walls with in my tenement.

    One more post and your door WILL be getting kicked in by the home security version of Seal Team Six.

    It’s getting real in the Streetsblog comment section.


Streetsblog Interview: “Retired” Ridazz

Photo of the first Midnight Ridazz, including Ma Bell at the back/right via (editor’s note: This interview was recorded last Friday afternoon, hours before anyone was shot.  If we had talked afterward, you can bet that would have come up in our conversation.) It’s Friday, and that means throughout Los Angeles, cyclists are gearing […]

San Fernando Valley Critical Mass Celebrates 2nd Anniversary

(This article appears as part of a monthly series on Critical Mass in the Greater Los Angeles area.  Previously Streetsblog has dodged the police with Santa Monica Critical Mass, cruised with the kids in Pasadena,  cruised the downtown in Los Angeles, and kicked around in Venice.) Last night, San Fernando Valley Critical Mass celebrated its […]

Ridazz Get Registered

Cyclists Gather for a Group Ride in Front of Josef’s Flying Pigeon Bike Shop Bike licensing has become a hot issue in Los Angeles the past two weeks.  For those of you that haven’t been following the story, some LAPD stations have decided to start enforcing an obscure law mandating that bicycles be licensed and […]