A 74-year old cyclist was killed in Blythe CA, near the Colorado River between Palm Springs and Phoenix, on Friday night.
According to the Desert Independent, David Sandoval Caldera was riding in the traffic lane on the 1400 block of W. Hobsonway around 8:30 pm when he was hit from behind by a 1999 Ford Expedition driven by Nancy Sue Pollock of Blythe. Pollock claimed she didn’t see Caldera, who was riding without lights or reflectors.
Sunset in Blythe was at 7:49 pm, which means it would have been nearing full dark at the time of the collision. Despite the gathering gloom, Caldera’s bike should have been clearly visible in the car’s headlights, assuming she was using them at that hour.
However, cyclists are required to have a headlight and rear reflector after dark, as well as side reflectors; safety concerns and common sense dictate that riders should do whatever they can to make themselves visible in low light conditions.
Caldera is the 33rd cyclist to be killed in traffic-related collisions in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Riverside County. That compares to an annual average of 7 cycling fatalities in the county in the three years from 2007 to 2009, the latest years for which statistics are currently available; prior to that, the county had 15 cycling deaths in 2005 and 14 in 2006.
In another tragic case just outside the Southern California area, a 26-year old London resident was killed by an accused speeding, underaged drunk driver near Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo County.
The cyclist, who remains unidentified pending notification of next-of-kin, was riding on Halcyon Road near Oceano around 8 pm Saturday when 20-year old Aaron Richard Ceja lost control of his Chevy Blazer at a high rate of speed. Ceja’s vehicle crossed over to the other side of the road to hit the rider head on.
According to The San Louis Obispo Tribune, he was arrested for vehicular manslaughter and suspicion of DUI causing injury.
No one should ever die just for going on a bike ride. Especially not a visitor to this country; especially not at the hands of a drunk.
My deepest sympathy to the family and friends of both victims.