Wilmont residents were shaken by recent bicycle accidents

Wilmont residents were shaken by recent bicycle accidents

Residents of the Wilmont neighborhood are demanding changes to local roads after two crashes at the same intersection in just two weeks.

Tanya Moser died on the 19th and Idaho in October and Paul Postel survived a crash at the same place last week albeit with four fractures and two bruised ribs.

Postel didn’t know Moser had been killed at the intersection two weeks earlier, but as a neighborhood resident, he’s familiar with two-way intersections. He said he approached the intersection knowing he had the right of way but was wary of crossing traffic because many people do not yield the right of way when they should. He said he saw the driver stop, move forward a few feet, then stop again as he approached the intersection. When he saw the car come to a complete stop, he began to drive through the intersection when the car suddenly accelerated, hitting him and knocking him to the ground.

“I’m an avid cyclist,” he said. “I live here in Santa Monica, and actually, my wife and I only have one car and she takes it to work, so if I’m going anywhere in Santa Monica, I ride my bike.”

He said he learned of Moser’s death while lying on the ground after he collapsed.

“When I was lying on the ground and some bystanders came and I think a woman said she was an EMT, and, you know, she was holding my neck and telling me not to move, and an older woman came up and said, ‘Someone was killed here two weeks ago,’ and, you know, I was lying on “The sidewalk at that time, I mean I didn’t know what to think.”

The City Council is expected to discuss several ideas to improve road safety on Tuesday night (after the deadline for this story) and Postel said he supports any effort to prevent similar accidents in the future.

Other nearby residents plan to attend the meeting to express their support for additional safety efforts.

Ken Dapper lives nearby and was one of the first to respond to Moser’s killing. The experience left him shaken and motivated to get involved in the problem. He hosted a memorial for Moser at his home and will speak at the council meeting.

“I support that, especially in the immediate area that we live in, where there are three schools, not high schools, from elementary school to middle school, more measures should be taken at these stops to be 4-way stops or speed humps or more marking Visibility or initial signs before stop signs, whatever city does this to make sure you follow it.

Dapper said he wants to give his first-person experience to the council and work to prevent anyone else from having the same experiences in the future. He also said he wants more input from local police officers on safety procedures.

“I’ve spoken to police and investigators several times, and they all say they would like to consult with them (the council) more about what to do,” he said.

Resident Leah Polk said she also wants to see more action in the area after seeing the recent crashes and several other incidents.

“I live right at this intersection and came right out after the last two crashes, plus I’ve had many other near misses over the years,” she said. “A few months ago, two cars got into a very bad accident in front of me while I was walking to pick up my kids from school, and then just yesterday I saw a car have to slam on its brakes heading northbound on 21st Street in Idaho because a teenager riding an electric bike shot straight through that intersection without Stop (it’s also a two-way stop like 19th and Idaho).”

Many intersections in the Wilmont neighborhood are two-way rather than four-way, and one idea before the council is to move to four-way as well as adding warning signs.

Once his ribs heal, Postel plans to get back on his bike because he and his wife are avid cyclists but he already feels less safe, even as a pedestrian, after the accident.

“I don’t want to ride in fear, but I’m driving around town. I think I’ll definitely be more careful. I mean, I thought I was careful with cars before. But definitely, I’m sure it’s going to have an effect on me honestly. I’ve been driving around the neighborhood a few times, I just crossed the street and it was kind of scary. I mean, I’m sure this will lessen over time, but it’s pretty scary.

matt@smdp.com

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