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Bicyclist Killed After Allegedly Running A Red Light

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Caution tape photo by Scott Rothstein via Shutterstock
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A man was killed after colliding with a pick-up truck at a Chatsworth intersection late last night.

Samuel Martinez, 47, of Chatsworth was pronounced dead at the scene of the intersection of Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Lassen Street, according to City News Service. A pick-up truck traveling northbound on Topanga Canyon crashed into Martinez who was traveling westbound on Lassen around 11:40 p.m. The driver stayed at the scene.

The cause of the crash is being investigated, but an LAPD Valley Traffic Officer told CNS that the bicyclist blew through the red light. That hasn't yet been pegged as the cause of the crash, but there's little other information and the investigation is ongoing.

Biking in LA, which advocates that cyclists not ignore red lights, writes that we should take initial reports like this with a grain of salt—especially if the cyclist is not alive to defend himself and there are no independent witnesses:

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It’s a common problem that cyclists who are killed or seriously injured can’t present their side of the story, while the drivers who hit them understandably have an inherent interest in painting their actions in the best possible light. Unless someone other than the driver actually saw the collision, police should view driver’s statements regarding the actions of the victim critically. Too often, they don’t.

It’s also possible that the light may have changed as Martinez was entering the intersection, leaving him unable to stop in time to avoid going through the red light or avoid the collision.

That is not to say Martinez didn’t simply blow through the light.

Just that such statements should be taken with a grain of salt if there are no corroborating witnesses.