Double Tap on Sepulveda


There are no bike lanes in Van Nuys, from Woodman to Woodley. There are no bike lanes in North Hills. None in Panorama.  Put these three neighborhoods together and you have 265,000 people, nearly the population of Orlando, Florida. Orlando has bike lanes.  So does the city of Irvine, Pop. 266,000. But not us. We’re a colony.

Wait, a minute, what about the Orange Line? Ain’t that in Van Nuys?
Before the indigenous peoples south of Oxnard declared themselves to be Sherman Oaks, it used to be.  Now it’s an orphan.

The historic heart of the San Fernando Valley constitutes a medium-sized American city unto itself, but lacking the normal amenities found in such cities. Like say, Pittsburgh.
Then we have the nomadic tribes of the Favela, wandering their Sinai of dysfunction and dispossession from the 405 to the Wash, always on bikes.   Hundreds of them.

That’s a lot of people sharing lanes.   There are choke points, Sepulveda at Stagg being one of them.   It’s a great place to get clipped, pedaling against traffic.  At night.
Then again, it’s a great place to get clipped in broad daylight moving with the traffic flow, keeping yourself three feet from the parked cars, wearing a helmet and reflective clothing.

You don’t want to get hit twice.    Cause the first driver might not kill you. If he takes off, leaving you in the street, a second car might run over you like a speed bump, dragging your body up the block. She, too, might make a getaway, trailing sparks.   In the case of Stacy Adams, 55, neither driver rendered aid, though one of them managed to dispose of her bicycle in a spirited attempt to break the chain of evidence.

Erik Larson, the first driver, was arrested at his residence the next day.  The woman, Jenevieve Hegedus, was arrested a week later.

Cops like hit and runs.  They work them hard, they close ’em fast.  -Michael Clayton


The victim, one of 50 bicycle-vehicle fatalities in SoCal in 2017, has a ghost bike to mark where her body was crushed. It’ll be there for a year, and then it will be removed.

In a year’s time, Metro may raze Aetna and Bessemer street to build a maintenance yard for a light rail conversion of the Orange Line no one asked for.  I have a wee suspicion there still won’t be a bike lane on Sepulveda. There’s no money in that.  Maybe I could write a letter to the colonial bureau.

2 thoughts on “Double Tap on Sepulveda”

  1. Yes, you need bike lanes–you have good weather and the space to add them.
    I got a ticket as a 13 yr old because I was salmoning on Vanowen St. I preferred to ride against traffic as I could see what was coming rather than trusting automobile drivers. I had to go to court with my mom and address a judge. I think the officer was pissed because I told him I thought it was safer to look at the traffic while biking.
    We had a bike rider’s death in our town. The ghost bike was only allowed to be up for a month before they took it down. The town felt complicit (though not liable) in the cyclist’s death because they had recently renovated the street with hard curbs supposedly to protect pedestrians. When the gardening truck came barreling up the street, he couldn’t get out of the way. It was a waste of money and a waste of his young life.

    1. “Salmoning”, what an apt and delightful expression. I suspect the woman who was hit was doing as you were, trying to maintain visual contact with approaching cars.
      There is insufficient room for bikes and vehicles to share a lane in that location. When waves of traffic surge past you, you can get squeezed and have to duck sideview mirrors.

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