Damien Newton over at Streetsblog LA is reporting an incident occuring at 1 p.m. yesterday on the Ballona Creek Bikeway beneath the 405 overpass in which attackers forced a cyclist to crash, then used pepper spray to help steal the person’s backpack.
From a first-hand account of the assault:
I was riding west on the BC path at a little after 1pm yesterday, when there was actually fairly heavy traffic on the path. Under the 405 two gang members (this is what the police believe) threw another bike in my path, causing me to crash, and then sprayed me with pepper spray and took my backpack. I rode to the LAPD station on Culver Blvd., despite barely being able to see, and reported the incident since it was clear that there would be more victims. The attackers then used my backpack (which had a heavy On-Guard lock in it as well as several books) to assault at least two other cyclists (and possibly more, according to the detective I spoke with), pulling a knife on one (this is also what the police told me). My backpack was recovered by one of the victims who turned it in and called me. It turns out this is the second time he has been attacked in this manner on the BC path, this first time being left unconscious for nine hours. I did a search of the CICLE and LA Bicycle Coalition websites and found other stories of such assaults in nearly the same spot as recently as May and going back to 2006. The LAPD was helpful, but I got the sense that the BC path was not a high priority, even though the crimes there are likely related to gang activity in Mar Vista Gardens. The officer who took my report did not even know what I meant when I said I was riding on the Ballona Creek bikepath under the 405 (he kept repeating the question, “but what STREET were you on?”).
This is in the vicinity of the controversial bikeway gate closure the LAPD supported in order to mitigate an alleged crime spike occuring in the neighborhood adjacent to the creek and keep it on the path where it belongs!