L.A. will pay $4.5 million to the family of a cyclist killed in an Eagle Rock crash
The Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday to spend $4.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a 56-year-old man who was thrown from his bicycle and killed after striking a patch of uneven pavement on a street in Eagle Rock.
Edgardo Gabat joined a Southern California cycling club for an evening group ride through northeast Los Angeles on Aug. 21, 2014.
As the group moved west down a hill on Colorado Boulevard, Gabat struck a 2-inch ridge in the concrete and flipped three times over his handlebars, landing on his neck, said Arash Homampour, the attorney for his family.
Gabat, an experienced cyclist, was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, Homampour said.
Gabat’s wife, daughter and son sued Los Angeles the following year, alleging that city officials had not properly maintained the pavement, or posted signs warning of irregular conditions, on a route that’s designated for bicycles.
Colorado Boulevard does not have bike lanes, but it is classified in city documents as a “bicycle-friendly street.”
“If you’re in a car and you encounter a 2-inch irregularity, it’s of no consequence,” Homampour said. “But when bicyclists are using a street, a 2-inch separation can be catastrophic.”
Other cyclists have reported being injured along the same area, Homampour said.
A spokesman for City Atty. Mike Feuer declined to comment.
The settlement comes as the City Council debates how to divvy up what’s expected to be an influx of state and local transportation funds.
Transportation advocates have pushed hard for Vision Zero, a mayoral directive aimed at eliminating traffic deaths on L.A.’s streets by 2020. Others have urged the city to repair more of its most deteriorated streets, which have been ignored since the 2008 recession.
The council approved the settlement 11 to 0, agreeing that the city would pay the settlement over two years. Council members Joe Buscaino, Gil Cedillo and Paul Koretz were absent.
“By bringing these types of claims, we want to bring to light the areas where the city isn’t paying attention and where they need to improve,” Homampour said. “No one wants to have their husband go on a bike ride and then learn that he’s died.”
Times staff writer Emily Alpert Reyes contributed to this report.
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