Justice in Numbers

From the LA Times:

Driver gets 90 days in jail for hit-and-run involving bicyclist

Angelina Everett hit Ed Magos with her SUV in downtown L.A., kept driving and called police more than an hour later. The jail time — rare for bike hit-and-runs — is a victory for cycling-safety advocates.

This is a rare victory. Wow, things are out of whack.

In a 911 tape played in court:

Everett called in to report that she had “collided” with a bicycle, and told the 911 operator that she kept driving after the accident because of heavy traffic. When she returned to the site of the crash, she went on, Magos was gone. She asked the 911 operator, “Am I going to jail?”

“No, ma’am,” responded the operator, who went on to tell Everett that people didn’t go to jail for hit-and-runs involving cyclists.

It’s kinda on the same level as hitting a wayward animal. You know, a consequence of our way of life.

This is the part that makes me feel hopeful that WE can change things:

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office and the city attorney at first declined to press charges against Angelina Everett, the 37-year-old fashion designer who, witnesses said, struck Magos with her white Porsche SUV while making a left turn onto 2nd Street, just west of Figueroa.

Activists said the incident — and the city’s response — proved that officials didn’t take bicycle safety seriously. On Feb. 24, they organized a protest ride that traced the route Magos took each morning on his commute from East Hollywood to City Hall, where he works as a computer programmer.

The next day, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck responded to their charges in a news conference in which he announced new department-wide training on cyclists’ rights and promised a new investigation into the crash. The city attorney’s office later decided to take up the case.

The more public officials want to jump on the bike-friendly bandwagon, the more leverage we have to make them get their actions in line with their words.

Kudos to the LA cycling community!

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