On a weekend devoted to celebrating cycling — and just one day after Governor Jerry Brown vetoed California’s three-foot passing law — a cyclist was killed in a hit-from-behind collision in Chino Hills.
According to the Orange County Register, 27-year old Omar Gomez of Pomona was riding east on Carbon Canyon Road near Fairway Drive around 9:46 am when he was hit by a car driven by Augustin Bruno of Anaheim.
Bruno was driving an 1995 Acura Integra, which the Press-Enterprise suggests may not belong to him. What is clear, however, is that Bruno did not have a valid license to drive. The Register reports he will face charges for driving without a license; any other potential charges remain to be determined.
The impact of the collision threw Gomez to the side of the road; he was taken to Chino Valley Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
The driver reportedly looked away from the road momentarily before hitting Gomez; according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, drugs or alcohol did not appear to be factors in the collision.
It isn’t clear from the news reports whether Bruno ever saw Gomez, or if he lost track of him while distracted.
What is clear is that hit-from-behind collisions are the leading cause of death for California cyclists. And our governor just vetoed a law designed to help prevent them.
Whether it would have made a difference in this case we may never know. But thanks to Governor Brown, it won’t make a difference for anyone else, either.
This is the 57th confirmed traffic-related cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 5th in San Bernardino County. That compares to six cycling deaths in San Bernardino County in 2008, and 4 in 2009, the last two years on record.
My deepest sympathy to Gomez’ family and loved ones.