On Saturday, December 9th, 52 year old father of 3 and avid cyclist, Keith Jackson, was on a family ride with his daughter-in-law, Rene, and his son, Chris. At around 2:15pm, with Chris and Rene watching, a black SUV (possibly a Mazda) swerved across lanes and struck Keith from behind, sending him flying through the air. The driver quickly sped away, leaving Keith lying in the road, badly injured and clinging to life. Luckily, paramedics arrived quickly and were able to get him to a local hospital where he was treated for a traumatic brain injury.
La Tuna Canyon Road has been known for decades for its high speeds and dangerous drivers. There has been an average of one person killed on this 5 mile stretch of road every year since 2013 and, according to the Los Angeles Vision Zero website, a total of 15 severely injured in the last year alone.
Drivers often illegally use the center "left-turn" lane as a passing lane. The LAPD who patrol La Tuna refer to this as the "Chicken Lane," due to the game of "Chicken" that ensues when two drivers engage in the illegal activity at the same time from opposite directions. This occurs along La Tuna's narrow, curving roads at speeds exceeding 60mph, even in sections where there is an elementary school. Hundreds of cyclists use the road as a source of exercise on the weekend, despite the dangers. La Tuna is also one of the few remaining equestrian communities in Los Angeles. The dangerous conditions on La Tuna Canyon Road have done years of harm to this equestrian community.
La Tuna Canyon Road was slated for safety improvements to reduce illegal driving and protect law-abiding drivers, cyclists, equestrians and pedestrians. These long overdue improvements were put on hold by LADOT. Changes that take all of these issues into account must be made. Had these changes been implemented, Keith might never have been hit. Each passing day that these changes are not implemented is a game of Russian Roulette for those who live in, pass through or come to enjoy the canyon.
It is time to cut through the red tape and take vitally needed actions to rein in the illegal drivers and make La Tuna Canyon Road safe for children, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, equestrians and drivers alike.
We are respectfully asking that Councilmember Monica Rodrigues and LADOT immediately implement these vitally needed safety improvements to La Tuna Canyon Road and, in turn, save lives.
We currently have 3,619 signatures on our petition to make these changes happen, but we need many more to get LADOT and Councilmember Rodriguez to listen!