Marine veteran killed while riding bicycle honored with first-ever LA "Yellow Bike" memorial

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Community leaders gathered Saturday with cycling and street safety advocates in Sunland-Tujunga to remember the life of Jeff Knopp, the Marine Corps veteran who was killed after a driver slammed into him as he was riding his bicycle five years ago.

"I'm just honored, I mean, they're doing this for me and my husband, but really it's for everybody who's lost a loved one to street violence," said Jennifer Knopp.

Jeff Knopp was struck and killed while riding his bike along Foothill Boulevard, and is now the first in Los Angeles to be honored with a "Yellow Bike Project" memorial sculpture.

The tribute comes as L.A. experiences its worst injury and fatality statistics in nearly 20 years, according to cycling and street safety advocates.

"In the city of Los Angeles, our pedestrian fatality rate is four times the national average," said Damian Kevitt, executive director of Streets Are For Everyone. "In 2021, there were 289 people were killed -- an increase of 21%."

Just three months after Knopp was killed, a pedestrian was struck and killed on the same stretch of road.

The city is working to reengineer the street by adding bike lanes in both directions, hoping it helps to save lives.

The bright yellow 16-foot tall sculpture serving is a highly visible reminder of a life lost, and more importantly, that safety matters.

"It's just amazing, it really is amazing that my husband is the first one to live on," an emotional Jennifer Knopp said. "That this will help in one little way, just one little way."

She says she knows that she's not the first widow, and isn't going to be the last, but she says that she hopes her husband's memorial will help save others from that heartbreaking loss.

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