Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Checkpoint

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 3 weeks ago, I was nearly killed by a hit and run driver while riding my bike in Echo Park. As an avid bicyclist, I've wondered what could be done to make the streets safer for cycling in Los Angeles. This morning, I found the answer.

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As I was driving to work, I saw an angry man holding a nearly illegible sign waving furiously at the cars passing by. Up on the next block, I saw what he was angry about: a police checkpoint. It turns out, he was warning unlicensed drivers that the police were checking every driver to make sure they had a drivers license. 

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I was shocked how many people he had to warn. In just 4 hours, the Culver City Police had taken 100 unlicensed drivers off the road. Their cars were impounded and they were free to walk away.

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Here was one such driver. Was he unlicensed or was his license suspended for a DUI? Either way, it was illegal for him to be driving.

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Driving is a privilege. More importantly, it's a potentially deadly activity requiring skill and training. If you cannot prove you are trained to operate deadly machinery, you have no business putting people in danger. If you have been suspended from driving and continue to drive, you're a menace to public safety and deserve to be stopped.

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An estimated 2 million California drivers are unlicensed. Either they never got a drivers license or their license has been suspended. More than half of all people driving with a suspended license were convicted of a DUI.

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Half of all hit-and-run collisions involve unlicensed drivers. Unlicensed drivers are four times more likely than licensed drivers to be involved in a fatal accident.

If you support safe streets and would like to end the menace of hit and runs that kill cyclists and pedestrians, take a moment to thank the Culver City Police Department for catching 100+ unlicensed drivers this morning. Call CCPD Traffic Division at 310-253-6251 and let Lt. Ron Iizuka know how much you support checkpoints to catch unlicensed drivers. Better yet, ask the police in your neighborhood to implement similar checkpoints. I have yet to see a more effective way to reduce the danger posed by hit and run drivers.

12 comments:

Unknown said...

I do generally agree - checkpoints would do more good than harm... but there's the thorny issue of the state's refusal to allow driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants... so it sort of becomes an immigrant sting - an excuse to harass immigrants (if say LAPD did this all the time in MacArthur Park neighborhood.) I am all for finding those folks with revoked licenses, and getting them off the road.

Alex said...

Unknown, you have a good point. However, the public safety benefits to catching unlicensed drivers FAR outweigh the potential harassment of undocumented immigrants who choose to violate the law by driving without a license. Driving is a privilege. If one life can be saved for every checkpoint, is it not worth it?

Randy Bike Fixer said...

Good God Dude are you doing ok? That pics is horrific...
I'm with you 100%

JROC said...

this is why they really did it

JROC said...

1)to harass! culver city is well known to harass minorities, young people, locals the list goes on
2)they were bored with obviously nothing better to do. They said "lets make the city some revenue today"
thanks for making the legit man late to work today!

Bikerarin said...

I am a 40+ year cyclist with over 150,000 miles on my many bicycles, an international official, a race promoter, etc. That did not matter the when someone chose to run a red light forever changing my life, leaving me with a wheelchair and a Lifetime Disabled Parking Card. Does anyone really believe I care about the theoretical harassment of immigrants that are "undocumented"? I believe the young people use the term, 'get a life'...well, I had one until it was taken away by some inconsiderate driver abusing his PRIVILEGE to drive. The entire point to this is to not make a political statement, but merely a logical one. Either do it correctly and legally, or don't do it at all.

Melissa said...

Alex, I agree with you and Bikerarin. I am sick of people all over this country NOT abiding by the laws and then innocent people being hurt, crippled or killed.
I don't care if someone feels "slighted", their "feelings are hurt," or whatever.........the law is the law. If a person doesn't want to obey it, then they can get out!
The checkpoints will continue to be needed and do help get the people off the road that do not respect others.
I have worked in Intensive Care Units and Emergency Rooms for almost 25 years and have seen many sad things. I applaud what you are doing, Alex and will be praying for a good recovery for you. Bless you, Melissa

Katie said...

Is that man carrying two babies? It's hard to believe he would be a dangerous driver. Maybe you could have photographed a better example...

Unknown said...

Completely agree with you Katie!! In regards to the cyclists who have been hit by a car or what not I feel for you. However, just because someone has a license doesn't mean they are good drivers. In my opinion someone who is illegal would be more careful while driving because they do not want to get caught as opposed to someone who might just get a ticket because they do have a license. Also, there are some cyclists out there who don't follow the basic safety rules. Once such incident took place on Jefferson and La Cienega. A bunch of cyclists stopped traffic in both directions because they were traveling in group. Must of been like 100 cyclists going down Jefferson. NOT OKAY!!!

Alex said...

As a cyclist, my objective is to PREVENT Hit and Runs. It is possible to identify a cohort responsible for 50% of Hit and Runsand I fully support the authorities doing everything they can to take those people off the road. Driving a vehicle is not a right. It is a privilege. It is dangerous. The state mandates that anyone driving must prove they can do so safely.

Musical Melissa said...

If people feel harrassed because they're here illegally, driving without a license and not abiding by the laws of this country? They're welcome to leave. Nobody is forcing them to live here. If I illegally entered another country and started breaking their laws and putting others in danger, I certainly wouldn't expect them to give me respect or let me get away with it. Get them off the road. It's a danger to everyone.

jessica o'brien said...

thank you for posting the phone number and info for contacting the city. too often i forget to voice my appreciation (or disapproval) directly to those making the decisions. calls and letter writing matters... (also, happy to see you healing well!)