In what can only be described as a deliberate act of road rage, friend and Gas 2.0 writer Susanna Schick was struck by a car on Friday night while riding her bicycle. She’s conscious and being well taken care of, but was seriously hurt with six broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and a broken pelvis. We’ve talked often about the dangers faced by cyclists competing with America’s car-centric society, and Susanna is just the latest victim of car-on-bicyclist crime.
While riding through Downtown L.A. on Friday night, just two blocks from the new LAPD station, a white late-model Lexus sedan or coupe cut across two lanes of traffic and nearly hit Susanna. At the next light, Susanna and the driver exchanged colorful words, and having met Susanna for a few days while covering the LA Auto Show (as well as getting to crash on her couch), I have to assume she gave better than she got.
I’m assuming that the driver’s exchange of words with Susanna must have been the most humiliating experience of his life, because afterwards he felt the need to hound Susanna up and down Spring Satreet, eventually hitting her with his car and knocking her unconscious for 15 or 20 minutes. The driver, a well-dressed man with an olive complexion standing about six-feet tall, fled the scene with his well-dressed female passenger.
All too often bicyclists are blamed for their own accidents. And while yes, I’ve seen some bikers who are obviously not operating within the confines of the law, I do not want to run someone over with my car either. Biking deaths on a whole are down, despite increased numbers of riders in major metro areas. But some (including I’m sure Susanna) would argue that not enough is being done to keep bicyclists safe from cars. Poor road layout, and more.
Susanna has health insurance, but like so many others these days is underemployed. Being in ICU will not do her bank account any help. A ChipIn fund has been set up by the Bike LA Blog, and I will be donating most of what I make this month to Susanna’s fund. If you’ve ever read one of Susanna’s posts, and chuckled at the boldness of the woman who calls herself PinkyRacer, then maybe you can find a few bucks in your paypal account to help her out.