Beverly Hills: Where Bicyclists are Treated as Second-Class Citizens
Chances are that — unless you happen to live there — you've never heard of Beverly Hills' dubious reputation among bicycling enthusiasts. Yes, Beverly Hills, home to the swanky "Platinum Triangle" (cue elite, liberal stereotype), has earned the "distinction" of being ranked first in the state for the number of pedestrian deaths for a city its size. Just this past September, 3 pedestrians and a bicyclist were killed in a tragic hit and run incident that became known as "Bloody September."
Several weeks ago, a tussle between a driver (of an SUV, no less) and bicyclist — which had started when the former had tried to push the cyclist off the road while making a left turn — ended unceremoniously when a local police officer arrived to the scene and promptly declared the latter an "idiot." Long story short: the driver came off scot-free while the bicyclist ended up the recipient of a stern talking to and a ticket, to boot. Understandably, the bicyclist was slightly peeved by the officer's uncouth and biased treatment. In a letter he drafted to the police, the bicyclist explained her side of the story and accused the officer of dereliction of duty in protecting her rights. Here are a few telling selections:
"... A police officer arrived a few minutes later and immediately yelled at me to go sit down on the curb with my bike without asking either of us what had happened. I started walking to the curb and told him that this woman had nearly killed me when she swerved into my lane. He then angrily yelled, "How stupid are you? What are you doing riding in the middle of the street with your bike blocking the road?" His response surprised me because bicycles have equal rights to the road according to CVC21202.
Then he just started laughing at me and he then mockingly said, "Oh, now you're gonna cry?! Look at you, you're really going to start crying?! How old are you?!"
I said, "Well, I'm getting a little emotional because I feel like you won't even listen to my version of events and you just automatically took her side. You can't treat people like this. I'd like your name and badge number. "
He said, "You'll get it."
I then said, "She's the one who broke the law not me."
He then said very smugly, "You quote me the section of code that she violated and then I'll write her a ticket."
I said, "I can't remember the exact number of the vehicle code. But I know it's illegal to drive like she was back there and then to harass me with honking." He just ignored me.
He then went to write my ticket. He stopped after a few minutes and talked to the woman driver again and then on his way back by me he said, "You're really lucky she's such a nice woman. If she had wanted me to I would have arrested you for vandalism."
Words fail us. For the rest of her letter, be sure to check out the full entry on LAist.