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No More Martyrs

As many of you know last Saturday, April 16th, in Griffith Park, Andrew Jelmert, a bicyclist leaving an AIDS LifeCycle training ride, was killed in a hit and run crash. This death and its circumstances are chilling and infuriating.

Thousands ride in Griffith Park every week. The upper roads reward cyclists’ efforts to reach them with miles of car-free bicycling, as well as breathtaking views and access to the Hollywood Sign. It is adjacent to the Los Angeles River bike path, Elysian Park, the new Riverside Drive protected bike lanes, and multiple crossover points from the Valley to the Basin like Hyperion Ave and Los Feliz and Barham Boulevards. And the City has recently built two bridges connecting to it from across the LA River.

For all the progress made, more can and must be done to protect the lives of cyclists. Parts of Griffith Park have painted but not protected bike lanes. In other parts, cyclists and cars share the same lanes. Drivers cut through the park when traffic is slow on Forest Lawn and the 5 and 134 freeways. Lax enforcement allows speeding far in excess of the posted 25 mph speed limit. Follow @entitledcyclist on Twitter and see for yourself.

Make no mistake: This death was preventable. The City cannot prevent all instances of intoxicated driving. But it can and must reconfigure the roads to minimize the risk such drivers pose to vulnerable road users. A physical barrier would have prevented this death and will prevent those in the future.

For now, bicyclists remain exposed to the dangers drivers pose. If a driver, indisputably on notice that they are passing through a cycling Mecca, can, with impunity, kill a cyclist on a massive group ride and attempt to flee the scene, then what safety can be guaranteed to riders in less “bike-friendly” parts of the County?

We cannot let these horrific crashes continue. It must be a rallying cry to protect non-vehicle road users everywhere. One death can be called a tragedy. But continually allowing traffic violence in our public spaces points to a culture of negligence and militant ignorance of the measures our elected officials need to take in order to ensure all of our safety.

Please join members of Streets Are For Everyone (SAFE), Different Spokes Bicycling Club of Southern California, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) civic and community leaders, and family and friends of Andrew Jelmert for a Ghost Bike Vigil in commemoration of the avid cyclist and loving husband who was killed while riding his bicycle over the weekend.

At the vigil, 77 red roses will be laid at his ghost bike, one for each vibrant year Andrew lived and red for the love he showed everyone in his life.

In attendance will be:

  • André Goeritz, life partner of Andrew

  • Representative for Asm Laura Friedman

  • Councilmember Nithya Raman

  • Damian Kevitt, Streets Are For Everyone

  • Josh Cohen, Vice President LACBC Board of Directors

  • Friends, family, community leaders and cyclists

The location is 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles CA 90027

Tonight - Wednesday, April 20, 2022, from 8PM - 9PM.

We are demanding that the City of Los Angeles and specifically the Department of Recs and Parks return Griffith Park to the community - making it safe for the people who use it the most, not the speeding cars who use it as a cut-through. Please phase out private cars traveling through Griffith Park (excluding Park Rangers and public shuttles). Sign this petition showing your support here:

Ride safely,

Josh Cohen

Vice President LACBC Board of Directors

Additional Resources:

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