Update: Cyclist killed in Newport Beach in apparent right hook collision; 8th OC bike death this year

Getting word from multiple sources that a woman was killed this morning while riding in Newport Beach.

The victim, identified only as a woman in her 20s or 30s, was riding eastbound on East Coast Highway near Bayside Drive around 10:35 this morning when she was struck by a stake-bed truck traveling in the same direction.

According to Corona del Mar Today, the truck was making a right turn onto Bayside when it ran over the woman in an apparent right hook. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Satellite photos show what appears to be a bike lane on the east side of Bayside, but only a wide right turn lane where the victim may have been riding.

Both the Orange County Register and Corona del Mar Today note that she was wearing a helmet, while the Register says she was in cycling clothes.

However, there’s not a helmet made that can protect a cyclist from being run over by a multi-ton truck.

This death comes just one day after the first ever National Women’s Bike Summit was held in Long Beach, in which a large part of the discussion was about encouraging more women to ride. Maybe we need to start by making our streets safer so the ones who already do can get home alive.

This is the 53rd bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the eighth in Orange County; of those, seven have died in traffic collisions, and one of a fall that may have been cause by health conditions.

Note: If you have a strong stomach, read the comment from Jamie on the Corona del Mar Today site to show just how little human compassion some motorists have when it comes to cyclists. A woman is dead, and this jackass guy rants about disbanding the ‘militant, special interest, “Bicycle Committee”.’  His mom must be so proud.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and her loved ones. 

My thanks to Ann, David Huntsman, Ed from the OC Bicycle Coalition, Sydney Hunter, and jg for the heads-up; sorry if I left anyone out.

Update: Corona del Mar Today updates their story to indicate that a witness stopped at the intersection saw the collision as it occurred. According to  Amanda Walter, both the driver and the cyclist were turning right, and the truck was traveling too close to the curb.

“I saw the truck come around the corner and I though, ‘Wow, he’s going too fast,’” she said in a telephone interview. “I saw the cyclist and said, ‘Oh my…God…he’s going to hit her.’ He cut her from behind. She went down and he ran over her.”

The paper reports the victim was initially awake and struggling to speak, but passed away within a few minutes. And apparently, the driver never saw her.

The truck driver kept insisting that he looked twice and the cyclist wasn’t there, Walter said.

According to the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, the victim is still unidentified.

According to Sgt. Mark Hamilton, “The identity of the victim is still unknown at this time. Anyone with information or who witnessed the collision is urged to call the Newport Beach Police Department Traffic Division at 949-644-3742″. If anyone is missing a loved one that was riding a blue bike with white tape and saddle in the Newport area, and they haven’t returned home yet,  please contact the NPBPD.

The OCBC also reports that there have been 16 bike-involved collisions in the last 10 years, though this is the first fatality.

Update 2: Newport Beach bike lawyer David Huntsman offers a little more information about the site of the collision.

By the way I ride this road several times a week. It is truly a nightmare intersection going south, because of the very long high-speed dedicated right turn lane.
 
I was right-hooked into the gas station just south of the intersection when I moved here after returning from Australia two years ago. I didn’t go down, to the surprise of everyone around – including the driver- but mentally marked this as one of the most dangerous intersections around. 
Update 3: The victim has been identified as 29-year old Sarah Leaf.
I’m getting second-hand reports that she was a serious cyclist and a very fast rider, possibly a triathlete. And someone who was very well-liked, who will be sadly missed.

7 comments

  1. [...] this article: Cyclist killed in Newport Beach in apparent right hook collision; 8th … This entry was posted in Blog Search and tagged cyclist, identified, killed, morning, multiple, [...]

  2. Lois Rubin says:

    I frequently ride that corner. Traveling east you approach it by crossing a bridge over the water entrance to the Back Bay. I never ride in the street over the bridge and I turn right onto Bayside by turning into the parking lots that line the PCH/Bayside corner. although there is a bike lane there it is ridiculously narrow and the intersection is crazy busy and fast. This horrible event has me convinced to never deviate from my chosen path.

    • David says:

      Wow. I ride that part of PCH all the time. It’s a very popular section for OC riders, and I have had a few close calls myself when turning into or from Bayside.

  3. bikinginla says:

    Sorry, Janet. While I appreciate your concern, this is the wrong time and place for that comment.

  4. Lisa says:

    I have been told this beautiful young woman was named Sara Leaf. Just a child, 22 years old. Prayers and love to her family.

  5. After a great week at ProWalk/ProBike, this was sure hard to come home to. There’s lots of Facebook discussion. Frank Peters blogged about it too.

  6. [...] Update: Cyclist killed in Newport Beach in apparent right hook collision; 8th OC bike death this yea… (bikinginla.wordpress.com) [...]

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