Transpo Advocates Receive Troubling Letter Cheering Hit-and-Run Harm

Letter decries "transgendering car lanes into bike lanes," "L.A. Mexicans who ride," and cheers hit-and-run crimes

A portion of the printed mystery letter
A portion of the printed mystery letter

In late July and early August, more than a dozen L.A. area transportation advocates received the same troubling letter. The computer-printed letters do not appear to specifically threaten the recipients, though they were delivered to home addresses, which has made some recipients uncomfortable.

The full three-page letter is posted online. (Added: a clearer version)

The return addresses appear to be false. They are all different, from different parts of the city, all on computer-printed labels. They include Metro employees, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus employees, a liquor store owner, a magazine editor, and others.

The letters were received by Streetsblog L.A. editor Joe Linton and founder Damien Newton. L.A. Transportation Commissioner and CicLAvia leader Tafarai Bayne received it. The letter went to several Los Angeles City Councilmembers, including Mike Bonin, Nury Martinez, and Bob Blumenfield. It went to the entire Mar Vista Community Council. It even went to a couple of anti-road-diet organizations: Restore Venice Blvd and PdR Carmageddon.

Some of the content is unsettling, but would probably be more alarming if it were factual and felt coherent. The letter includes:

  • The writer fantasizes about cyclists being killed in a hit-and-run crime: “[An] upside [of] ambulance and police vehicles going nowhere on clogged streets in bike-created cluster-fucks of traffic [is that it] Fuels our fantasy that someday we’ll be driving along late at night, witness an automobile strike a bicyclist at high speed, sending him flying to the pavement, cheer as the offending motor vehicle races away from the scene, after which we slowly drive by and NOT call 911 on our cell phone (as payback for all the trouble these bicycle zealots have caused us).”
  • The writer makes racist and trans-phobic slurs: “This [the above hit-and-run scenario] is a genuine hazard, given the plethora of L.A. Mexicans who ride bikes at night without wearing reflective clothing…” and “…purposely-induced traffic congestion created by ‘transgendering’ car lanes into bike lanes, which then go unused 99.999% of the time.”
  • In a list of “Wide bike lanes that usurp car lanes” the letter lists “Vista del Mar (Westchester)” though the recently reconfigured Vista Del Mar has no bike lanes. Arguably, Vista Del Mar is located in Playa Del Rey, not Westchester, though these L.A. neighborhood boundaries are not well-defined.
  • The author further criticizes bicycling, transit, open streets events, speed monitors (“roadside radar speedometers”), speed bumps, potholes, and pothole repair reporting sites.

The person or persons behind these is not clear. If you received the letter, or if you have any additional information on the letters, please let us know. Email joe[at]streetsblog.org if you are not comfortable commenting. Thanks to Alissa Walker at Curbed and Gary Kavanagh‏ @GaryRidesBikes for pulling together initial research on these troubling letters. Also thanks to Biking in L.A. for first reporting on them.

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