Prevention didn’t stop me from being hit by a car in University Park

A Crosstown reporter’s notebook


A car hit me at 9:07 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19, on Adams Blvd. and Severance St. in the University Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. I was walking my bike across the intersection.


According to the LAPD crime report that I had to purchase for $15, the weather was clear. The road was dry. There were no “unusual roadway conditions.” And “the area is illuminated with upright and overhanging streetlights.”


I was sober. My bike’s back lights were blinking. I wasn’t jaywalking. I made eye contact with drivers as they were waiting for me to cross. All the other cars saw me and were waiting for me to cross.


I still got hit.


A car zoomed into the pedestrian crossing and hit the front wheel of my bike, narrowly missing my body. The force knocked me onto the asphalt. I landed on my left side, fracturing my left clavicle, bruising my legs and cutting up my ankle.


Of course, it could have been far, far worse. I could have died.


Lucky for me, the car was going slowly.


From Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2018, cyclists were hit by cars 39 times. Pedestrians were hit 29 times.


Pedestrian deaths increased 80% in the first two years of a high-profile Los Angeles initiative that is aiming to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025. Deadly car crashes increased 32% since 2015.


Due to a city-funded project that built out bike lanes and introduced shareable bicycles, bikes are popular on South Figueroa (the main road that connects USC to Downtown Los Angeles to the north, and South Los Angeles neighborhoods to the south.)


From Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2018, 50 car accidents occurred on sections of South Figueroa around the USC campus, according to USC’s Department of Public Safety. Ten of these were collisions with a bicycle or a pedestrian.


This popular artery intersects West Adams Blvd. — only a few blocks away from where my accident took place. A total of 30 car accidents occurred on West Adams  between Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31 2018. Three of them were collisions with a bicycle or a pedestrian.


Despite the area’s popularity, at night, car traffic around the University Park area of West Adams Blvd. is significantly reduced due to the small number of residential units in the area.


“It’s not just Adams, though,” said Ethan Ward, a USC junior who got hit by a car in February as he was biking on Vermont Ave. “Vermont and Jefferson are like that, too.”


Like me, he also suffered a fractured collarbone. “I know other people who have been through similar things near campus as well,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like just bad luck.”


I don’t know what I learned from this experience. Maybe that it’s not safe to walk in public in Los Angeles? Or that I apparently look like a 60-year-old white male (as it is inaccurately written in my collision report). I’ll be keeping an eye on the city’s plan to reduce traffic deaths.


Meantime, my collarbone still hurts.