A bad year gets worse, as Redlands bike rider dies from injuries suffered in October hit-and-run

Last year was a bad one for SoCal cyclists. And now word is coming out that it was worse than we thought.

The San Bernardino Sun reports on a vigil held last night for Laura Lee Jones, who died two weeks ago from injuries she suffered in an October hit-and-run.

The 50-year old Redlands resident, who did not own a car, was riding her mountain bike east on Lugonia Avenue near Grove Street around 6:45 pm on Friday, October 26th when she was hit from behind by a car traveling at an estimated 45 to 55 miles per hour. The car, described as a newer black 4-door sedan with tinted windows, fled the scene without stopping; the vehicle reportedly suffered damage to the front bumper, windshield and roof.

The road narrows at that intersection, with the eastbound side going from two lanes to one just before Grove Ave. However, there’s no word on whether that may have contributed to the wreck.

Jones was in a coma for a month following the collision, and was unable to move or speak for weeks afterward. The paper does not give a cause of death, but says it is unclear if her death was directly linked to the collision.

According to the Sun, the collision is still under investigation; anyone with information is urged to call Redlands Police Dispatch at 909-798-7681.

If the death can be tied to the injuries Jones suffered as a result of the collision, the driver could face substantially increased penalties for the hit-and-run.

If he or she is ever caught.

Simply put, there is never, ever any excuse for fleeing the scene of a collision. Those who do should face mandatory homicide charges if their victim dies, since they callously and knowingly left their victim to die on the streets. And they should automatically lose their drivers licenses for life, since they have shown themselves unfit to be behind the wheel.

Jones’ death increases the final total of 2012 cycling fatalities in Southern California to 75, 10 of which occurred in San Bernardino County — which is about 75 and 10 too many, respectively. Fourteen of those resulted from hit-and-run collisions, with three in San Bernardino County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Laura Lee Jones and all her family and loved ones.

2 comments

  1. mahythesis says:

    Just to be clear:
    I don’t “like” this news. I like your discipline in reporting the story accurately and as fully as possible, and, in speaking for us all in including that final line.

    The risks we all face as cyclists in having to share the road with, and within, a car culture’s expectation of entitlement to right of way is something we hope never to result in our making a headline in such a tragic way for our family and our favoured and preferred ongoing lifestyle. Yet these constant reminders are that it really can.

    I guess this is all on my mind to the extra extent because of two things. Firstly, I just got back from an overland trip by public transport through Asia, from South Korea to Singapore and most of the way back. I was considering taking my bicycle, but time constraints and distance made it unfeasible this trip, though I’m considering returning with a set of such wheels. Secondly, the tragic double death this last week in Thailand of the British couple aged 34, together since they were 20, and en route on bikes from the UK, further demonstrates to me beyond the psychotic express bus drivers and ubiquitous scooter riders the utter horror of the car culture which has essentially been exported from west to east. I see it as both a necessary challenge and an obligation to reinstate, or at least aid in reestablishing the culture of status of cycling for transport, pleasure, fitness, and not least, respect for the environment there, whatever the risks. Given the challenges of global warming, the quality of the lives of our descendants and all to follow and all who share the planet depend on it

    Sorry to sound so dramatic. I’m not sure how else to respond to this constant flow of stories sometimes, other than offering a repeated thanks to you for the discipline of dealing with the sharing of it for us, and, by offering a sharing of ongoing positive news stories of lives lived despite the obvious risks. I just learned of this blog, and find it quite inspiring:
    http://threeruleride.com/

    Life, love, laughter, sunshine, and safety on your wheels to all out there,
    j.w.

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