San Diego cyclist killed, another seriously injured when SUV flips onto bike path

At least one cyclist was killed and another seriously injured when an SUV lost control on busy highway and flipped onto a bike path near Rancho Peñasquitos in north San Diego.

Initial reports indicated that two cyclists had died at the scene; however, later reports said the second rider had been transported to Scripps La Jolla Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The collision occurred about 6:20 pm on the 56 Bike Trail, which runs parallel to the eastbound side of State Route 56 west of Black Mountain Road; the CHP called for a coroner less than 25 minutes later.

A woman driving an SUV on eastbound SR56 apparently lost control while making a lane change, went off the road, up a grassy embankment and through a chainlink fence before flipping over onto a group of riders.

According to SignOnSanDiego, both riders were in their 30s or 40s; neither has been publicly identified as of this time. Pedestrians and other cyclists reportedly attempted to aid the riders until paramedics arrived.

The driver was also taken to the hospital; reports disagree on whether anyone else was in the SUV. No explanation has been given for why she lost control of her vehicle.

There’s simply no way to protect against a collision like that. The riders should have been safe from motor vehicles on an off-road bike path; undoubtedly, they thought they were. Certainly no one expected a vehicle to fall onto a bike path — let alone at the exact moment a group of riders are passing by.

SignOnSanDiego reports that both riders were wearing helmets; if anyone ever invents a helmet strong enough to protect against an SUV falling on top of a cyclist, I hope they let us all know.

This is the 32nd cycling death so far this year, and the ninth in San Diego County since the first of the year, which includes 7 traffic deaths and one shooting.

That compares with 8 cycling deaths for all of last year for San Diego County, and an average of 6.8 over the last five years, according to the FARS database maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Thanks to Eric Bruins for the heads-up.

Update:  The Times now reports that two cyclists have been injured, in addition to the rider who died at the scene; however, they still say just one rider was hospitalized, in addition to the driver.

Update: as of 9 am Wednesday, no other source has confirmed that report, and the Times has changed the wording of the story to remove any reference to a second injured rider.

Update: both victims and the driver have been identified; speeding may have been a factor in the collision.

2 comments

  1. Louie says:

    Some way, some how, some idiot is going to rationalize that this was the cyclists’ fault.

  2. John Tink says:

    It is time to band all bike/pedestrian organizations together in San Diego and sue the government for creating an unsafe environment for bicycles while providing greater protection for car drivers. A chain-link fence is designed to cushion an out-of-control driver and is not designed to protect bicyclists or joggers parallel to the road. The government doesn’t take safety concerns seriously until they are sued. Just look at the FDA and the unsafe food practices of farm-corporations for an example.

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