As Los Angeles Messengers, we operate pretty invisibly. Nobody really knows that we're here; but we are. I'm not sure what goes into getting a name on the memorial site but I would like to add one. Our good friend and Colleague Ilia Pankin a 23 year old messenger killed by a hit and run driver last Monday 9/18/06 while on his way home from work. Here's a link to info on MetroBlog LA [discussion, photos, video of news report]. ... This is the 3rd messenger to die in Los Angeles streets in the last three years and I think all of them deserve acknowledgement.
Thanks a lot,
IAAL•MAF: It Takes A Vigil
posted by Will Campbell at 11:46 PM on September 20, 2006
taken from MetroBlog LA
Earlier today I posted about the vigil being arranged for 23-year-old Ilia Pankin who died Monday after being struck while cycling through the intersection of Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards in Beverly Hills. MAF regulars Sean, Steve, Blogdowntown's Eric, myself and new recruit Michael agreed to forego our regular Wednesday evening river romp and instead roll over and do honor to the memory of the young man.
The five of us were the first to arrive at the fountain and for a few minutes it looked like we might be the only ones, but other cyclists started getting to the landmark until we were about 20 strong. At some point a KCBS/KCAL newsvan arrived, and after that so did one from KABC. Candles were lighted. Conversation was muted as we somberly milled about amidst rolling cameras and tried to come to grips with the tragedy.
And then unexpectedly, Ilia's mother and family members and friends were there with us and any emotional separation we had to the tragedy was erased as we stood awkwardly before this woman in the midst of her inconsolable grief and loss. Even so, she was able to express how grateful she was to see us there for her son whose picture she placed at the base of the fountain and surrounded with candles and flowers. She told us that he was Ukrainian by birth and that bicycling was his absolute passion and he left behind a 14-year-old sister and that the funeral would most likely be at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. She told us that a UPS package arrived today with a new bike helmet he had ordered last week. When she put her arms around me in tears I hugged her back and told her how remarkably strong she was and how sorry I was. I didn't know what else to say so I just held her.
Later, before we left for the ride home, I knelt before the picture she had brought and I looked into his eyes. Again I was at a loss for words other than "Rest in peace, Ilia."
IN HONOR OF ILIA PANKIN: IMPROVE
CONDITIONS FOR LOS ANGELES AREA CYCLISTS
from LA County Bike Coalition
On Monday September 18th, cyclist Ilia Pankin was killed after
being struck by a hit-and-run driver at the intersection of Santa Monica
and Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills. Ilia was commuting by bicycle from work
to his home in Hollywood. Many bicyclists traverse the cities of Los Angeles
and Beverly Hills on their daily commutes and recreational rides. Sadly,
neither city provides adequate safe routes along the east/west and north/south
corridors that cyclists must use. The only east/west route with a bike lane
is Venice Blvd which is far out of the way for cyclists living in Hollywood,
West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and much of the west side. Their only practical
options are a few arterial roads - Santa Monica, Olympic or Wilshire Blvds
- with hazards such as poor pavement, high-speed traffic or no shoulder.
Bicycle riders face these same dangers every day, and Ilia is not the first
to die while riding on roads which lack proper bicycle accommodations. Write
to the cities of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles and urge them to make improvements
for safe cycling on their city streets.