I received this yesterday from Shootout rider J. It’s pretty scary:
I left University and Euclid with 10 others around
5:35 am on Saturday. As it was still a little dark, we rode with lights on,
though we only needed them for a few minutes. We set off for the traditional
All was going well–we were riding 2 abreast in a rotating
paceline, not even occupying half of 1 lane on Mission, just south of Valencia.
It was fully light by this point. Suddenly, I heard an explosion from behind.
It was if a tire had blown out, except louder. Then I heard 3 more similar
explosions. At first I thought someone was throwing explosives and/or
firecrackers at us. Bike parts and water bottles started coming forward up
into my wheels.
The 4 of us at the front managed to get off the road into the
gravel remaining upright, but those behind were not so lucky. I had absolutely
no idea what was going on until I saw the car continue by before finally slowing
and coming to a stop in the gravel. I looked back to see bodies and bike parts
all over the road.
As I dialed 911 the noises started to make sense. The
driver had literally driven through the group. Each “explosion” was the sound
of a bike and body coming into contact with her hood and windshield.
Thankfully (and somewhat miraculously) no one was killed. 4 people were
hospitalized, 6 or 7 people went down all together. One remains in ICU, but to
my knowledge, none of the injuries appear to be life-threatening.
Now, I spend a lot of time on my bike, but I’ve never experienced anything like
this. The driver’s actions are inexplicable. She never claimed that she
didn’t see us. She was “just trying to pass us.” She claimed oncoming
traffic, but I was off the phone with 911 before the first oncoming car arrived
(and 911 doesn’t just let you go…I talked to at least 2 dispatch people, maybe
3). If she was drunk, it wasn’t obvious. She did have her phone in her hand as
soon as she got out of the car, but we don’t really know if she was talking or
texting when she hit us.
It just doesn’t make sense. The road is straight and
flat there, it was daylight, and we were all dressed in obnoxiously bright
clothing. There was never a sound of screeching brakes, and she didn’t seem to
alter the path of the vehicle after hitting 1 person. If we hadn’t gotten into
the gravel, I think we all would have been hit. I don’t think it was
malicious, but it seems to be more than an accident.
I hope those involved are all right. What an awful story.