Eyes on the Street: the Human Toll of Hit-and-Runs
The city has recently begun installing halos at intersections where pedestrians have been killed, and a memorial sign now stands in Woodland Hills, commemorating the loss of 15-year-old cyclist Sebastian Montero.
The goal is to remind drivers of the fragility of the human body and to share the road with other users.
The traffic-related carnage from just last week – including a male pedestrian killed at 51st and Normandie, a male cyclist killed last night while in the bike lane on 92nd at Grape, and a police officer hit at 61st and San Pedro while conducting a traffic stop (he survived with minor injuries) – suggests those messages are unlikely to be heeded.
The symbols also belie the the violence with which these events snuff out and/or destroy lives.
The force with which a hit-and-run driver threw a pedestrian into a parked car.
The distance a hit-and-run driver dragged 15-year-old Roberto Díaz.
The panic experienced by 58-year-old Anna Lynelle Graves when she realized a driver was barreling straight at her at 98th and Vermont.
The callousness with which Luis Raya-Flores drove off, leaving Gabriel López, a father of five, for dead in Boyle Heights.
Or the pain that lingers for families long after the events that took their loved ones’ lives have faded from the headlines.
Photos, flowers, and candles left at the scene where Graves was run down offer a reminder of how much she was loved.
She had lived just two blocks away and was on her way home from one of her two jobs when she was hit in a crosswalk.
Graves’ family and friends taped their own sign up at 98th, asking drivers to “please watch out for pedestrians.”
But traffic continued to speed through the crosswalk at well above 35mph while I was there.
Our streets are full of too many memorials.
Whether they be traffic-related or gun-related or manifest in the sheer number of folks living on the street, there’s too much evidence of how little we care for our fellow Angelenos, particularly those on the margins.
Too much evidence of how little we are willing to expend to make their lives even just the tiniest bit less fraught.