79-year old cyclist killed Wednesday in Huntington Beach

A 79-year old bicyclist has died after being hit by a car in Huntington Beach.

According to the Orange County Register, Westminster resident Ernest Klein was riding east on Bolsa Avenue, in an industrial area west of Able Lane, just after 11:15 am Wednesday when he was hit by a 2009 BMW. He was taken to UCI Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The paper reports that the driver remained at the scene, and that the investigation continues. Unfortunately, there’s no information suggesting how the collision occurred or who might have been at fault.

But it breaks my heart to think that someone still active enough to be riding at that age has to lose his life in something as needless as a traffic collision.

This is the ninth cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Orange County. That compares with 13 SoCal fatalities in the first two months of 2011, and four in Orange County this time last year.

My heart and prayers go out to Klein’s family and loved ones. 

6 comments

  1. David says:

    That is right in front of my accountant’s office. I don’t want to prejudge in the absence of the facts, but Bolsa Ave in that area has long sight lines and a bike lane. At 11:15 am the sun should not have been a factor. My prayers go out for the victim and his family.

    • bikinginla says:

      Thanks David. I took a quick look at the satellite photo, but didn’t notice the bike lanes. If Klein was riding within them, there should be no excuse for a hit-from-behind collision — not that there ever is.

      On the other hand, so far we have no idea how the collision occurred; the satellite photo shows a lot of driveways on the eastbound (lower) side, so a careless entry onto the street seems at least as likely as any other possibility.

  2. I drove through today about the same time as yesterday’s collision and took a look around. The linked article refers to the area as “industrial” and I would say the intersection is not really in an “industrial” area in the ay we usually think of one. More like really well maintained office parks. No big trucks. Unbroken pavement. The lawns are manicured and the buildings are spectacular glass things housing aerospace et cetera. The bike lane is very narrow though and, at one exit from the intersection, water is pooled in the apron (even though it hasn’t rained since Monday).

  3. pholocity says:

    tragic is the only word that comes to mind. I really hope that the driver of the car wasnt in a hurry to get to work or meeting because those seconds you saved cant bring back 79 years of what that man’s been through. RIP

  4. Matt says:

    Hey guys I was there when it happened. Only heard it and ran out. So Klein was riding the wrong way on the bike lane and the bmw was going right from Aeronautics Dr. I assume the driver was naturally looking left for on coming traffic and pulled out. I heard the guy on the bike yell before he hit. The impact to the biker was hitting the car and then the ground. Very sad. The guy looked a lot younger than 79.

    • bikinginla says:

      Thanks for the information, Matt. Riding the wrong way would certainly explain why this happened, and offer a warning to all salmon cyclists. Bike lanes or not, you’ve got to right with traffic; drivers should look both ways, but too often don’t.

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