Cyclist Killed in Studio City: CiclaValley Struggles for Answers

Who wants to write when it feels terrible doing so?

Writing each word makes me sick. Talking about it makes it worse.

Yesterday, a cyclist was hit by a truck in Studio City pronounced dead at the scene. There never is a good time for something like this, but I was struggling as there were a number of things that crisscrossed.

First of all, I happened to be biking to work a couple of blocks down the street when this happened. Did I see the truck before it struck this human being? I don’t know.

I also know this intersection all too well. I’ll admit it now, but whenever I’m “working from home”, I most likely go to the McDonald’s that overlooks where the collision happens. It’s very tough for me not to play with my three year old daughter when she’s around, so combine free wifi with a cheap drink and I’m taken care of for hours.

Coming home, I ran into BAC Chair, Glenn Bailey, who alerted Uncle Ted yesterday morning about the crash.

This was enough going on that my mind was swimming all day long.

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There’s no handbook for being a parent. I work very hard in making my daughter to smile and not be afraid of having fun, something that I struggled for years.

Last Saturday, my wife needed to go to the supermarket and I wanted everyone to go. The great part about my family is that we enjoy ourselves wherever we go.

When we hit the produce section, I started running around with my daughter asking her to name all the fruits and vegetables around. She was so excited that she could name so many things that she didn’t want to stop.

We caught the attention from a number of shoppers. Most of them smiled and one woman, roughly the age of my mom, came up to me and said that my daughter was adorable.

On the way out of the market, the same woman approached us, but before she could say anything, she started to breakdown into tears.

“Thank you. I haven’t smiled in two weeks since my husband was killed.”

That just hit us hard. I didn’t know what to say.

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Her words bugged me instantly. Saying someone was killed is far different than someone just dying.

I didn’t know what this person was, but if you look at the statistics, odds are someone would be most likely killed by a car.

The next couple of days, I tried doing some research over the internet to find the identity with what little information I had, but no luck. This woman was in a lot of pain and I just wanted to know if there was something I could do to help.

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Throughout the day yesterday, I kept waiting for updates that never materialized. No one knew the identity of the cyclist and details about what happened were sketchy.

My parents live in Studio City, so I knew they’d be alerted to the situation. Since I was working downtown, I dispatched my mom to try to find out any information and gather any video footage that some of the nearby establishments may have.


My mom’s photo of the scene four hours later.

Most of the businesses were accommodating and moved by the whole incident, but no one that was cooperative had any footage covering the area. The bank across the street possible had a view of the intersection, but they weren’t sharing anything.

All that remained was questions and I had all day for them to race through my mind.

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I’m very fortunate to know Danny Gamboa. He does so many things for the community improving people’s lives that I don’t know how he keeps track of everything going on.

Danny is also involved with Ghost Bikes, so when I learned about the death, I instantly texted him. I’ve never been involved with a placement before, so I was uncertain about how one goes about it. Danny replied with short and direct responses. He’s done this before.

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My wife and I got to the intersection an hour before we were supposed to meet. You can just tell from its five way configuration how confusing everything is. Couple in all the strange signalization, poor signage and fading markings, this is a breeding ground for disaster.

I will go more in depth about this intersection at some point, but just standing there through one light cycle did we see enough going on:

If there’s any obvious place where Vision Zero practices need to be applied, it is at this intersection.

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Around 8:30pm people started to assemble for the ghost bike placement. Most of them were familiar face from the bike scene, but some new ones as well. One woman, Nancy, happened to cycle by minutes after the collision happened. Another man, Robert, works in the building overlooking, but couldn’t find others who had details either.

Don Ward was also on hand trying to figure out all the possible scenarios of how this happened. Did the truck cross over lanes? Where was the cyclist heading? How fast was everyone moving? Just so many questions.

Ryan Carter of the Daily News came to take stock of everything. He is a cyclist himself and spent a lot of effort speaking with everyone on hand taking more time than I’ve seen any reporter before.


Danny then arrived with the ghost bike. I had been overemotional throughout the day thinking about his coming moment that by the time it actual came I was completely spent.

Unlike shoveling dirt at Jewish funeral, I helped lock the bike up as stoically possible. Even though I was having trouble making the chain taut, I wasn’t frustrated. I knew it would eventually get done.

To write even more how this is going to impact me is pointless. My emotions are ever changing and I’m still searching answers to why this happened. Why this didn’t happen to me. Could I have done something?

I just don’t know.