Just when it looked like we might make it through a single week without another cyclist getting killed — which would have made it the first fatality-free week in the last 11 — comes word that two riders have died in the last two days.
One by truck. One by gun.
A 62-year old Simi Valley man died in a Thousand Oaks hospital less than an hour after he was hit by a semi-truck while riding the wrong way on a darkened street.
According to the Ventura County Star, Trinidad Nava was riding south in the north-bound side of First Street at Easy Street in Simi Valley around 4:35 am Friday, when a big rig truck made a right turn out of a driveway and hit Nava head-on; KTVA radio says the truck was leaving a car dealership.
The paper reports he was riding without lights despite the early hour; Nava was declared dead of blunt force trauma at 5:30 am.
The driver, who has not been publicly identified, stayed at the scene and tried to help him.
The Star notes that the crash occurred just blocks from where the Simi Valley City Council recently rejected proposed bike lanes on Los Angeles Avenue at the urging of local business owners; however, even if they had been approved, they would not have made a difference in this case.
What might have helped is better education and outreach.
Many cyclists who learned to ride in Central American countries were taught to ride facing traffic, rather than with traffic; some Americans were taught the same thing, especially those who started riding as children in the 50s and 60s. Yet riding against traffic greatly increases risk to riders by placing them where drivers aren’t looking for them, while reducing reaction times and increasing the force of impact.
At the same time, outreach programs, such as the LACBC’s former City of Lights program, have worked to provide lights to riders who may not understand the need for them or have the money to buy them. I don’t know if such a program exists in Ventura County.
Either way, it’s too late to help Navi.
This is the 45th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Ventura County, following the death of Guadalupe Cruz in Fillmore this June; Cruz was reportedly riding on the wrong side of the street, as well.
My sympathy and prayers for Navi and his loved ones. Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.
Thirty-seven-year old Riverside resident Rene Barrientos Corona was found at Arlington Avenue near Fairhaven Drive in the La Sierra Hills neighborhood when police responded to a report of a man down and bleeding in the street.
Police initially thought he had been hit by a car before medical personnel determined that he had been shot; Corona died at a local hospital the following night.
There’s no indication whether he was riding the bike or walking it at the time of the shooting; it’s possible that the bike wasn’t even his. However, the presence of the bike and the fact that police assumed he’d been hit by a car would suggest it was.
Witnesses said a dark, four-door vehicle with a spoiler on the back sped away from the area where Corona was found. Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Ron Sanfilippo at 951-353-7105 or Detective Rick Cobb at 951-353-7135.
Corona is the third bike rider to be killed by gunfire in Southern California this year, compared to nine last year.
My prayers for Corona and his family.