A surprisingly safe March has given way to a bloody April.
After suffering just one cycling fatality last month, we’ve already seen six cyclists die on Southern California streets and trails this month, with five fatalities in just the last 10 days.
The latest is 34-year old Ryan D. Foster of Hesperia, who was killed last night while trying to cross Escondido Ave just north of Hollister Street. According to multiple reports, he was hit by a southbound 2002 Honda Accord around 10:19 pm.
None of the articles I’ve found — all of which appear to be based on a press release from the San Bernardino Sheriff’s department, which does not seem to be available on the department’s virtually useless website — contain any more information, except that sheriff’s deputies are investigating the crash.
In fact, they seemed to be competing to see who could tell the story in the least amount of words, ranging from a measly 52 to a whopping 79.
Looking at a satellite photo, the bike lane on Escondido ends at Hollister Street. Foster could have been riding north and trying to cross over to the wide sidewalk on the west side. Or, based on the limited description, he could just have easily been riding south on the sidewalk and trying to make a left onto Hollister.
Or just plain crossing the street.
We may never know.
We also may never know if the driver was speeding, drunk and/or distracted, or a cautious, law-abiding motorist who did everything in his or her power to avoid the collision.
Hopefully, the papers will follow up with information about who the victim was, beyond a mere name and age, as well as how the collision occurred.
Because Ryan Foster and his family deserve more than 79 words.
This is the 17th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Bernardino County.
My prayers and sympathy for Ryan Foster and his family and friends.
Update: This is starting to look like a case where the victim may have been at fault. The High Desert Daily Press reports that Foster was riding without lights or “adequate” reflectors at that late hour, and that witnesses saw him ride directly into the path of the Honda.
The site also suggests that police officials suspect drugs or alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the crash; since the driver was not arrested at the scene, that implies that Foster may have been under the influence.
However, given that the crash seems to have been a full-impact collision at speed, the fact that Foster wasn’t wearing a helmet was probably not a factor in his death.