Video: In conversation with Damian Kevitt

It was a blissful Sunday afternoon in February 2013 when Damian Kevitt and his wife set out for their regular bike ride. But what started as a perfect outing ended with a catastrophe that would change Kevitt’s life forever.

As the couple rode near Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, a mini van slammed into Kevitt. The 37-year-old Hollywood resident landed on the hood of the car, but the driver didn’t stop. The vehicle dragged him several hundred feet as the driver fled onto the freeway.

Kevitt suffered multiple broken ribs, and underwent dozens of skin grafts and 10 surgeries. It was almost three months before he could even sit up, and several more before he could stand up because the lower portion of his right leg had been amputated.

Many doubted that Kevitt could ever come back from the accident. But a little over a year later, he would prove them wrong. He was back on his bike, training for a marathon and working with law enforcement to help cultivate a movement to make the Southland’s streets safer for cyclists. Kevitt is among those pushing for harsher penalties for hit-and-run drivers. His assailant has not been caught, despite a $25,000 reward.

In April, Kevitt made a huge public comeback by leading hundreds of cyclists in an event called Finish the Ride. The fundraiser generated about $40,000 for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which helps people with disabilities participate in sports.

Full coverage: Hit-and-runs take a rising toll on cyclists