Cyclist killed in Long Beach Tuesday night; depth of human compassion runs shallow

In what is turning out to be a horrible year for SoCal cyclists, a 48-year old Long Beach rider was killed Tuesday night.

According to the Long Beach Post, Fernando Santiago was riding through the Los Coyotes Traffic Circle when he was struck by a car entering the circle from Lakewood Blvd around 7:31 pm. The driver stopped to render aid and was released at the scene, though authorities say charges may be pending.

It’s hard to imagine any circumstances under which the driver would not be at fault in the situation described by the Post; anyone already driving or riding within the circle would have the right-of-way, and vehicles entering from the side would be required to yield.

As is often the case in cases like this, the depth of human compassion runs incredibly shallow in the comments to the online story.

Most blame the victim simply for being there, ignoring the driver’s responsibility to operate his vehicle in a safe and legal manner. After all, it’s your responsibility if you get hit, just like it’s a bank’s fault if it gets robbed.

And yes, that was sarcasm.

Never mind that another human being lost his life, the sympathies of the readers seem to rest squarely with the poor, traumatized driver:

Sad
I feel bad for the driver of the car. Due to the irresponsible decision of a bike rider he will have to deal with this the rest of his life and I am sure be sued.

david631
c’mon, riding a bycycle at 7 pm into the traffic circle. I’ve lived in LB all my life and dread using the Traffic Clr. I hope the driver of the car get’s through this thing ok…

Don’t get me wrong.

I would be devastated if my actions lead to the death of another person, whether I was behind the wheel or in any other circumstances.

But at least the driver went home that night, and his family won’t have to figure out how to go on without him.

.………

As long as we’re in Long Beach, the anti-bike backlash rears its ugly head even in articles that have nothing to do with bicycling.

In comments to a story about possible teacher layoffs due to the same budget problems experienced by virtually every California school district, readers blamed “wasteful spending” on bike lanes for the district’s budget problems. Never mind that the City of Long Beach and the local school district are two distinct governmental bodies, with separate budgets and tax sources.

They might as well complain about spending in New York for budget issues in Des Moines.

Phil
I’m very glad we will be laying off teachers. We don’t need that many teachers anwyway…we need the new bike lanes going to downtown so cyclists can feel comfortable! April, that’s it, we need to be more green, that’s the answer.

Phil (again)
At least LBUSD is planning for the tax increases not to be extended. I think the tax payors of CA are sick & tired of paying for the out of control spending of politicians at every level…local, state, & federal. I don’t think the extensions will happen, nor should they! Not as long as our money is being wasted on projects like bike lanes instead of hiring enough police, keeping all of the city’s fire trucks in service, adequately funding our schools, fixing the roads, and othe essential services that local government is responsible and should be spending my money on. If there’s any leftover after the governments obligations of providing the essential city services have been met…then go ahead, waste it on a bike lane!

LB Native
Who cares from where the money comes or what grant? I agree with Phil – who needs teachers or public safety officers if we have beautiful bike lanes… oh, and turnarounds up and down Vista, presumably for bicyclists, also. And, while we’re at it, let’s spend millions of dollars to test the feasibility of taking down the breakwater. We may or may not spend the millions more to actually do the job, but we can spend money to see if it’s feasible. Who needs teachers?

Phil
Hey John G., I cited the bike lanes as symbolic of the wasteful spending of our local politicians. There are countless others I could’ve used. However, standing corrected by you, let me correct myself and say that the bike lanes are not stupid spending by the local guys, it’s stupid spending by the federal guys. I stand corrected. I’m sure the teachers feel much better about being laid off now! I’m sure all of the people paying for auto repairs caused by the roads in this city, the police chief who’s trying to protect us all with an insufficient number of officers, and the firemen without equipment they once had all feel better now that know the bike lanes are from federal grant money!

sandy
And how much to put bike lanes on Broadway? Out office is off Broadway and we rearely see any bikes except on the sidewalk and thats only one or two a day. But who needs teashers anyway?

So there you have it.

Bike lanes, and presumably the cyclists who ride them — or not, as the commenters suggest — are responsible for all the problems in Long Beach. I’m only surprised that they didn’t blame cyclists for rising skin cancer rates and the turmoil in Egypt.

Odd though, that the people complaining loudest about teacher layoffs seem to be the ones who evidently paid the least attention when they were in school.

And as for that last comment, I think she pretty well answered that question herself.

.………

Flying Pigeon suggest that as long as city leaders are planning to turn Figueroa into a complete street, they should extend it to the complete street, suggesting a road diet for the under-utilized Highland Park stretch. Because poorer neighborhoods — and the people who live there — are every bit as important as the one Eli Broad wants to move his artworks to.

.………

L.A. considers requiring more bike parking and better standards in new developments. You have four more days to contribute your ideas on how to improve Burbank’s North San Fernando Blvd; it would undoubtedly upset some Long Beach people to know bike lanes are in the lead. L.A. County plans to upgrade former singles haven Marina del Rey; maybe they could improve the bike path there while they’re at it. The controversial Wilbur Ave road diet takes center stage in a debate between the candidates for the 12th Council District. Evidently, even militant Angelenos can find serenity on the L.A. River Bike Path. Will’s bike cam captures proof of who was at fault in a traffic collision. Delivering Super Bowl pizzas in OC by electric bike. The owner of a Surf City bar that served 72 drunk drivers says stop picking on me — and those are just the ones who got caught.

A call for bike safety and traffic calming on San Diego’s Torrey Pines Road. Discover our neighbor to the south with the 2011 San Diego Century Bicycle Tour. The CHP reopens its investigation into the death of a Los Altos cyclist, who they blamed for inexplicably turning into the wheels of a semi-truck, whose driver had been involved in two previous deaths. San Francisco’s Ceasar Chavez Street will undergo a road diet to improve bike and pedestrian safety. The brother of Giants outfielder Nate Schierholtz pleaded guilty of hitting a cyclist, a pedestrian, two cars and a light pole in a drunken hit-and-run. Problems arise with a planned BMX bike park in the Kern Valley.

Bicycling tells you how to perfect your pedal stroke. Tips for riding from a 70-year old racer. It wasn’t bikes that caused this traffic congestion. Cycling the Sundance Film Fest. Colorado’s House approves a bill that would require an alternate route if bikes are banned from any street; am I the only one that envisions cyclists shunned onto dangerous, crappy alleys and backroads? The Chicago rider who swapped his car for a bike in last year’s Tour de Fat continues to ride through this week’s record-breaking storm; in the wake of the storm, it’s nice to know bike life goes on. Reconsidering Rahm Emanuel’s bid for mayor of Chicago based on his support for cycling. A lawyer claims the driver who nearly doored a cyclist, resulting in her death, shouldn’t be charged for driving with a suspended license because “the key was not in the ignition” at the time. Two more cyclists have been killed in the nation’s most dangerous state for bicyclist and pedestrians; wait, make that three.

The Department of DIY opens a branch in Guadalajara. UK figures show a 3% increase in bike-related deaths and injuries. More on the birth of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain. Champion Brit cyclist Victoria Pendleton says she’d like bigger boobs, even if they wouldn’t be aerodynamic. Edinburgh considers solar-powered lighting to entice cyclists and pedestrians to use canal pathways after dark. Bike paths not only save energy, now they can generate it. An Indian driver mows down four pedestrians, killing one, then kills a cyclist in a successful attempt to flee the scene. Critically injured Aussie racer Amber Halliday continues to improve and could be moved to a rehab facility within days. An Aussie driver is fined a whopping $600 for causing a cyclist to fall by dragging him by his handlebars.

Finally, a Georgia legislator says drivers licenses are unconstitutional because they interfere with your right to travel, because, you know, there’s no viable alternative to driving everywhere.

And remember, you’re not stuck in traffic, you are traffic.

Kung hei fat choi!

10 comments

  1. Evan says:

    The only auto collision I’ve ever been in (knock on wood) was in the Traffic Circle. I grew up in Long Beach and lived there for most of my life, and feel confident driving through the Traffic Circle…what I wouldn’t feel confident about are other drivers who fail to yield to traffic already in the roundabout before they enter, drivers who fail to look before moving to the side (there are no lanes inside the circle), and people who drive too quickly through it.

    I’ve never seen someone ride their bike through the Traffic Circle, but there’s no reason why someone couldn’t do so safely, assuming that drivers were also driving through safely and following the rules of the road.

  2. Those comments look like just more windshield perspective stuff. But, as always, they’re alternately depressing and enraging.

    Eli Braude = Eli Broad?
    Or is it Marvin Braude’s lesser known artist brother? ;-)

    • bikinginla says:

      Uh, the latter?

      Actually, blame it on rushing to get out the door to a meeting while tending to the new dog. And yes, I’m going to milk that excuse as long as I can.

  3. Gtoffmycld says:

    I’ll say it again…Long Beach is a dump. AVOID LONG BEACH!!!

  4. Will Campbell says:

    I’ll say it again…broad-stroke hate is half-baked.

    As such, the previous commenter’s completely encapsulated revulsion of Long Beach compels me to go there as soon as possible to bike the city’s landmark 2nd Street sharrowed green lane and remember that for all there is to blanket disrespect about that city there’s a lot to admire, too.

  5. Evan says:

    Us Long Beachers got annoyed when everyone in LA who was content to ignore us before started flocking to LGB when Jet Blue came in. What used to be our secret was being taken over.

    If you want to ignore an entire city like Long Beach and all the great stuff it has to offer, then that’s your loss.

    • bikinginla says:

      Personally, I have some real issues with Long Beach’s handling of bike issues, such as the illegal licensing law and seizure of bikes. But over the past few decades, it’s become a beautiful, lively city that leads Southern California accommodating cyclists. I guess that’s why it bothers me so much when the city lets us down — it’s like finding out your hero has an ugly secret.

  6. Sad. I love California, but miss the streets in the Netherlands, where everybody has a bicycle, knows how to ride it(no helmets needed) and every driver has at least 15 years of cycling experience.

    Of course every road has a separate bike lane, saving millions of Euros on road building and maintenance, not even mentioning health care and obesity fighting..

  7. Joseph E says:

    Caltrans know the Los Alamitos Traffic Circle (in Long Beach) is dangerous, but they didn’t want to spend $1 million to fix it back in 1996. They cyclist’s family would have a good case for a lawsuit against Caltrans, for keeping such a crummy design, to save a mere $600,000. There are dozens of car accidents in that circle every year, because it is too wide and fast, leading to millions of dollars of lost productivity and health care costs over the past 15 years since Caltrans failed to fix it.

    LA Times wrote about this in 2006: http://articles.latimes.com/2006/feb/22/autos/hy-wheels22

    As this article describes, Long Beach has bike lanes and a route on PCH which takes you straight into the danger of this huge traffic circle, with no good alternative route: http://www.everythinglongbeach.com/long-beach-bikeway-route-1-pacific-coast-highway/

    We need to get this traffic circle fixed, ASAP. Until then, Long Beach will continue to sound ridiculous as our city proclaims itself “the most bike-friendly city in America” http://www.bikelongbeach.org/AboutUs.aspx

  8. krieg kimby says:

    People have lost compassion and humanity, however I suspect if it had been an animal killed, they would be calling for the head of the driver. Oh, and lets just close all the parks and recreation departments too, what a waste of money. How about the notion that every cyclist is one less car on the road, when your rolling the stop signs and speeding to get home to your sofa…

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