Second cyclist found dead in less than one week; strong arm bike-jack attempt on L.A.’s 7th Street

For the second time in less than a week, a Southern California cyclist has been found dead, apparently of natural causes.

Just five days after an unidentified 70-year old rider was found alongside the road near Fillmore, a rider was found unconscious and unresponsive along the Stevenson Canyon trail on the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.

According to Temecula Patch, the rider was discovered by other cyclists, who attempted to administer CPR until paramedics arrived and pronounced him dead. He was discovered around 8:10 am Sunday, near the intersection of Clinton Keith and Tenaja Roads west of Murrietta.

Patch reports that the rider, who has not yet been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, was 60 years old and a resident of Temecula.

The death is still under investigation; no information yet on whether he may have fallen or died of natural causes.

We have no way of knowing how or why this man died.

But it’s a good reminder to check with your physician first if you’re new to riding or coming back after a long layoff.

You may feel healthy. But there may be things going on inside that you don’t know about.

……..

Sunday morning I received an email from an anonymous reader reporting a very frightening attack against a local cyclist with an unusually positive attitude.

Tony is the nicest guy, and he owns a little shawarma place on 7th Street, right in front of the new westbound bike lane.  He’s about as bikey as any small-business proprieter in L.A. can be (and that’s even if you include Josef Bray-Ali.)   That’s Tony on the sandwich board in his delivery bike’s basket:

He lives in mid-Wilshire and commutes by bike, too.  Very recently, he bought a shiny new Fuji to replace his old commuter.

On Friday when I popped in to refuel before Mass, his arm was in a sling, so I asked why.  He told me.

The night before, Thursday, he was on his way home from the restaurant, waiting at a stoplight on Wilshire.  A motorcycle came up behind him, and its passenger jumped off and kicked him over!  Tony hit the asphalt hard, and the creep tried to jack his bike.  Still on the ground and unaware of the extent of his injuries, Tony had the presence of mind to hook a leg through the frame.  After several yanks, the creep gave up and fled with his accomplice.

Witnesses called 911 and stayed with him until the police & medics arrived.

Tony has a fractured scapula and some bruising, but he still has his bike.  And he’s still confident enough to commute, even with a busted shoulder!   I asked if he isn’t worried now about riding so late (his restaurant closes at 11pm weekdays, and 2am Fri/Sat), but he said naw, there are more good people than bad people, and “people always help.”

I am kind of a pessimist, so I held my tongue about how “helpful” the perpetrator was.  Next visit, I’m going to actually read the little scroll of Scripture hanging by the kitchen, ’cause I bet anything its sentiment reflects Tony’s philosophy.

Also, I’m shooting an email to Sgt. Krumer to see whether there have been any similar thefts lately with the same unusual modus operandi, although given the biking demographic in this area, a lot of such crimes, even when accompanied by physical violence, probably aren’t reported.

For several months now, I’ve been reading about similar strong-arm bike-jackings from other cities across the country — including several right here in California  —in which thieves have used everything from baseball bats to brute force to knock riders off their bikes before riding off with them.

Hopefully, this is just an isolated incident and not the beginning of yet another dangerous trend local riders have to worry about.

Maybe Tony’s positive attitude and willingness to fight for his bike will send a message to potential thieves to find another way to get their prey. Or maybe find another line of work altogether.

And maybe I need to stop in for a little shawarma next time I ride those new 7th Street bike lanes.

……..

One last note.

A great story from a formerly auto-centric Toronto columnist who tried biking to work at the urging of a local bike activist and blogger.

And liked it.

Thanks to Taylor Peck for the heads-up.

And a happy All Hallows Eve to all you bike-born boys and ghouls.

3 comments

  1. Heatherther says:

    A couple of weeks ago I was on the Metro 720 going west on Wilshire, stopped just before Western, and someone actually ran up to the bus, grabbed a bike from the front rack, and pedaled away while the bus was trapped in traffic.

    I feel there has been a slight uptick, at least in terms of how bold people are, while stealing…

  2. [...] Bike Jacking Attempt on 7th Street (Biking In L.A.) [...]

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