Venice Cyclist Killed in Santa Monica Hit-and-Run

UPDATED 7:55 p.m.: SUV slams into cyclist late Tuesday night, throwing her bike several blocks before fleeing the scene.

A 29-year-old Venice woman riding her bike on Pacific Coast Highway was killed late Tuesday night when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver near Entrada Drive in Santa Monica.

The woman was identified by authorities Wednesday as Erin Galligan.

She was struck about 11:30 p.m. while riding her bicycle on the busy highway, which was closed after the crash in both directions for several hours. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Galligan was riding southbound and on the right side of the street "like she should," said Sgt. Richard Lewis of the Santa Monica Police Department.

Multiple witnesses said she veered into the No. 3 lane just as the truck was about to pass her. The driver hit her, and drove onto the 10 Freeway without stopping or slowing down.

Galligan's bike was found in the 700 block of Pacific Coast Highway—about a half mile away from the crash site. The bike traveled with the car to that point, Lewis said.

Police are searching for the driver of the suspect vehicle, described as a white 1999 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 extra cab truck, with damage to the front grill, hood and headlight, similar to the vehicle pictured to the right of this article.

PCH reopened before dawn.


Anyone with information was asked to contact investigators Chris Dawson or Jason Olson at (310) 458-8954, Sgt. Phillip Rubish at (310) 458-8950 or the Santa Monica Police Department 24/7 line at (310) 458-8495.

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Joe Stanford July 12, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I'm stunned by the commentors above who find the need to find fault with the bicyclist. There is nothing in this article to suggest that this accident was the fault of the biker. I'm ashamed to be a member of the same species as people like you - who, through whatever weird dysfunctional insecurity or psychologically impairment you suffer from, feel a greater empathy for a criminally negligent and morally bankrupt driver than this innocent victim. I hope somebody out there learns a lesson from this and slows down and gives a bicyclist a little room to avoid a pothole today!
Gary Kavanagh July 12, 2012 at 07:30 PM
"Nunya", Actually bicycling is legal on all roadways that are not limited access freeways, and even those are in some instances are legal to ride on the shoulder where no alternative routing is available. Part of America being a free country is the constitutional principle of right to travel, which bicycling as a right is defended under. That includes all 50 states, there is little that is unique about California law concerning the right to ride bicycles on public roadways. If you are going to pretend like you know what you are talking about, I suggest you gain some more life experience or read more. You may also causally allude that rights are meaningless, and that might is right and bullies should rule by force. However that is a view that considers laws and civil society optional, and freedom irrelevant. The right to travel without being forced into indentured servitude to the automobile and fossil fuel companies is not something to be casually discarded, and you can be as sure as hell that right will be defended anywhere it is threatened. Bicycling is not going away, ever. Period. Moving forward, as the economics that support mass motoring strain, bicycling will likely increase in popularity regardless of support. Either communities and governments come to accept this fact and plan accordingly, or expect more needless death and conflict.
David Huntsman July 12, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Your comparison is inane, probably intentionally so, but if you are really curious I'd head over there one night.
David Huntsman July 12, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Correction - California is one of ALL states which consider a bicycle a vehicle.
echoparkbax July 12, 2012 at 08:09 PM
This is a terrible tragedy, and there is no excuse for a hit and run of any kind. No one on here is in the position to judge the character of any of the individuals involved until the facts come in. I don't know the law, but is there something that states that smaller things should yield to bigger things for the simple fact that they might not be able to see you? I know that's the law in the ocean and on hiking trails.
David Huntsman July 12, 2012 at 08:33 PM
People criticize cyclists for things, but it's amazing to me that one is allowed to drive a car with a "significant blind spot".
Rachel Wells July 12, 2012 at 09:34 PM
There have been assaults on the bike path, and it's not lit at night. Most women, myself included, tend to avoid unlit areas at night, even where no one has ever been assaulted.
Rachel Wells July 12, 2012 at 09:35 PM
I'm very sorry for your loss, Shawn. You're absolutely right - that person should have stopped and taken responsibility for his or her actions.
David Huntsman July 12, 2012 at 09:52 PM
@echoparkbax: No. On the road, things behind yield to things in front.
Glenn E Grab July 12, 2012 at 10:03 PM
it's not a lack of empathy to point out that anyone on a bicycle should ride 100% defensively, no matter who's side the rules of the road are on...if you don't, you'll likely end up "dead right"....which would you rather be?....right, or alive?...
Glenn E Grab July 12, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I've seen many people riding in the bike lane on Washinton Blvd pulling a bike baby trailer with a couple of kids in it behind their bikes...just because it's legal doesn't make it a safe thing to do...this puts your kids' life in the hands, literally, of any idiot, drunk or sober, behind the wheel of that 3000 pound weapon...
Another WorldView July 12, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Even when I've been a "self absorbed" motorist, I've always been able to scan the road a head of me, and give adequate space for pedestrians (even when they were walking in the roadway illegally, drunk or deranged) and bicyclists. There is no excuse for this - even if, the driver had stopped. If you read the "Chicago Motor Coach" case you'll see that people have the RIGHT to travel upon the roads - but that driving is a "dangerous profession" subject to regulation. One of the rules, is that you must show due care and regard for life (regardless of circumstances), and yield until it is safe to overtake. The decision above is consistent with the Federal Definition for "Driver" and "Motor Vehicle" both of which talk specifically about "carrying passengers or goods for hire, in interstate commerce". So whether we're talking about the statutory or common law standard - the dude in the truck totally blew-it. Which is why the "driver" fled, no doubt. "Flight" tends to enhance the appearance of guilt, so quit blaming this woman for exercising her "right-of-way" upon "the common way" - or "highway". When I ride a bike, I keep my 'head-on-a-swivel', like I was running-back-, or blocking- on a 'punt'. It's something we should all do. But you can't always account for people who are "speeding" and/or "drunk". And being inside another car, or on a sidewalk is not always going to protect you, either. People get killed while walking and driving, all the time, as well.
Glenn E Grab July 12, 2012 at 10:45 PM
nunya, you're right, and the self-centered bicyclists who ride foolishly may be in right sometimes, but they're what's known as "dead right"...
Gary Kavanagh July 12, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Glenn, We don't solve problems without getting at the root of what the problem is. At the root of the vast majority of our traffic safety problems is the automobiles. Sometimes an officer may report that "speed was a factor" in a collision, but the reality is speed is always a factor. If people drove speeds appropriate for conditions (which is a principle and obligation within our framework of traffic law), which means slowing when bicyclists or walkers or present, or visibility is low and uncertainty is high, we'd eliminate the overwhelming majority of traffic deaths just like that. The problem is also one of engineering, as our built environment is woefully inadequate for the reality of the needs and safety of all users, and is designed to encourage speeding. I think it's also important to remember the danger drivers represent to themselves and other drivers. Car to car collision deaths, and deaths from single vehicle collisions into stationary objects, still far dwarf the fatalities to other street users. If there is a problem of violent crime on a street, do we send the police to go after the gunmen, or do we have the police direct people to never step outside? Pointing at a mother carrying kids by bike as though that were the problem to be eradicated is ignoring the bull in the china shop. We need to reign in the bulls, and that means cars and the people who drive them without prudence suitable for urban life.
Another WorldView July 12, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Unless your EV has a blindspot in the front - it shouldn't have prevented you from avoiding this kind of accident.
Another WorldView July 12, 2012 at 10:56 PM
If she had lights on her bike - and nothing says that she didn't - then the driver should have been able to see her well enough. There is plenty of light, on that section of PCH, as well. You can't yield, to what is approaching you from behind. The rule for smart cyclists is to "ride invisibly" - in other words, assume that no one can see you, and wait to be pleasantly surprised when they do. But this stretch of PCH has an s-turn, so she may not have seen a "speeding" truck approaching, in the #3 lane, or sliding across lanes.
Another WorldView July 12, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Well said Gary. But look at the history of that poster - clearly an ideologue of some sort, willing to justify just about any sort of nonsense... Don't expect well-reasoned-argument to work here.
Another WorldView July 12, 2012 at 11:28 PM
I can think of nothing more self-centered than driving a car. When you add in all the "externalities" involved - pollution, wars-for-oil, coups, secret-wars-for-oil, justifications for an ever expanding police STATE, etc., riding a bike might be the most conscious and self-less thing that you could do. Whether you're talking about Nigeria, Venzuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or Libiya - there are many more deaths and misdeeds per gallon thatn you realize Mr. Grab, I'm sure.
Gary Kavanagh July 13, 2012 at 12:06 AM
"" "We have video of the truck dragging the bicycle," Dawson said. "And we have one of our officers looking [for extra footage in Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades] to see where the truck was coming from." Sparks were seen flying from the vehicle as it dragged the bicycle from the 200 block of PCH to the 700 block of the highway toward Interstate 10, Dawson said. "" http://www.palisadespost.com/news/content.php?id=7625 As more details emerge it's apparent that the driver was plowing full steam ahead with no time to so much as shake off the mangled bicycle as they sped off, let alone care for the health of the victim. No matter what facts emerge though, I'm sure there will no doubt be another round of victim blamers and motoring advocates to come out and wave their fingers from a comfortable seat of entitled privilege.
Clifford Liou July 13, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Erin I'm so sorry this had to happen to you. Your passing has left a void in everyone you knew and loved.. damn your car for being in the shop. Nothing can fill the void that you left behind.
Glenn E Grab July 13, 2012 at 05:47 AM
you didn't read what I wrote, it's not a matter of right or wrong, it's a matter of life or death....on a bike, the only way to stay alive is to avoid accidents, that means not putting yourself in a situation where you HOPE the persons driving the cars do the right thing....you might have the law on your side, but you're just "dead right"....
Glenn E Grab July 13, 2012 at 05:55 AM
Gary, you don't get it, she's dead and it didn't have to happen......I'm not blaming the woman, but she could have prevented the accident.....if it were me on the bike it never would have happened...I wouldn't EVER ride on PCH, day or night...especially in that stretch of highway...
Gary Kavanagh July 13, 2012 at 06:20 AM
Glenn, The way our society has developed with mass motoring and very few provisions specially for bicycling as transport, it is frankly not possible to ride a bike without interaction with the drivers of larger vehicles for significant portions of one's getting around. Without a certain amount of trusting in others, we would all be home bound. What you are suggesting, that those traveling by bike simply avoid all instances of trusting those who drive cars to be safe and cautious, is a veiled way of implying you want to restrict the freedom of the right to travel the United States by one's own power. In other words, what you are suggesting, is irregardless of law, people who do not drive cars should just stay home when there is no bus service. What you are suggesting is that might is right, the bigger should simply rule over everyone else, who must bow before them or get out of the way. Do we accept that a big bully walk down the street with a baseball bat and swing it around at people? Of course not. So why should we treat drivers of motor vehicles who wield their speed and mass as a weapon against others any differently?
Shawn Nixon July 13, 2012 at 06:30 AM
I was wondering why she didnt drive her car. So sad right now.
Barrett Meeker July 13, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Let me tell you why I ride my bike to work from Santa Monica to Sherman Oaks. Maybe this will give you some perspective. My underpaid girlfriend works tirelessly to try and bring us clean air, she has dedicated her life to it, I think it's a worthy cause, I bike. Cars put out a lot of pollution, this pollution has negative health effects for everyone that lives in the area, kids have higher rates of asthma etc. For this reason I make the call to take the risk that comes with riding a bike so we can all have cleaner air. Yes I sacrifice my safety for you, don't thank me or other bicyclists doing the same, but don't suggest we're doing something wrong or stupid. I think people who drive when they could bike are selfish and stupid, they are making us all less healthy for the sake of their own safety. Everyone talking negatively about her riding her bike in what sounds like a legal way, suggesting she should have been driving, you should all be ashamed. Be brave, don't be selfish, bike for all of our health, if there were more biker, all bikers would be safer. I apologize that I don't bike more. I hope we can get more bike lanes so this kind of thing won't happen as much. Thank you Erin Galligan RIP.
Joe Stanford July 13, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Well said, Barrett Meeker!
Linda Rubin July 14, 2012 at 10:29 PM
I agree, LAHope. We all have to drive defensively. I have to take PCH every day at all hours and am watching for bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and other cars who want to park or pull out of parking with no signal or warning. I'm deathly afraid of bicyclists. They must know they are taking a calculated risk riding bikes on highways that have no shoulder or bike lane. That said, the facts of this hit-and-run are appalling. This young woman's death is a tragedy. The only blame to be laid here is on the driver of the motor vehicle.
Linda Rubin July 14, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Barrett, good for you. You and other cyclists (and the rest of us too) should be turning some human energy toward impressing on local governments the importance of building safe bike lanes in heavily trafficked roads. I believe Mayor Bloomberg of New York has been working hard to green his city. Other cities have made safe cycling a priority. There's no reason no to do that here.
jim costello July 15, 2012 at 08:06 AM
she seemed like a very special person,whom will be missed by all that knew her.....................she was my cousins daughter..........prayers for the family.........jim costello
Alicia Vance September 03, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Thank you for your perspective. I finished the article thinking "another dumb cyclist on the PCH" but because of what you wrote I will never say that again. RIP Erin Galligan.


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