Update — 21-year old bicyclist killed on campus of Cal Poly Pomona

News is just coming in that a bike rider was killed early this afternoon while riding on the campus of Cal Poly Pomona.

According to the San Bernardino County Sun, the 21-year old student was riding north on Kellogg Drive near South Campus Drive around 1 pm when he was struck by a southbound motorist; the victim has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin. The driver is also a student at the university.

The victim was transferred to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

No other details are available at this time.

However, judging by the photograph that accompanies the article, it looks as though the victim may have been riding against traffic, as the skid marks and debris appear to be confined to the southbound lane.

This is the sixth bike rider killed in Southern California this year, and the third in Los Angeles County. That compares with 10 deaths in SoCal this time last year.

My sympathy and prayers for the victim and his family.

Update: The Cal Poly Pomona student newspaper has identified the victim as 21-year old communications student and Pomona resident Ivan Arturo Aguilar, putting the time of the collision at 12:45 pm.

“I think the whole campus is in mourning,” said Director of Public Affairs Uyen Mai. “Ivan was only 21 years old and was full of potential. It certainly feels like a tragic loss of life and we imagine his family and friends are going through an excruciating time. We want to share our deepest sympathies with his family and friends during this time.”

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

Counseling is available for witnesses, as well as any other faculty, students or staff disturbed by the collision. The Polycentric website lists times for Friday. 

Meanwhile, CPP professor and bike blogger Boyonabike foresaw something like this, writing just last week about the very same street where today’s collision occurred. He calls for bike lanes, as well as road diets and stop signs — and greater enforcement — on the campus’ three main access roads.

In addition to bike lanes, other traffic calming strategies should be employed, insofar as many drivers reach speeds upwards of 45 mph on these roads (the posted speed limits are lower, but there is little traffic speed enforcement on these roads, and the wide lanes and lack of stop signs implicitly encourage speeding).  Near collisions are a regular occurrence, as I witnessed one recent weekday when a car traveling an estimated 40-plus mph nearly missed another car making a left turn in its path (see photo below).  The high speeds understandably deter people from bicycling on these roads, despite the fact that they are the most convenient routes to the main campus.

The full post is worth reading — especially by campus administrators, who could have done something to prevent this tragedy.

Unfortunately, his warning came too late for Aguilar. 

Maybe now they’ll listen, and do something to improve safety for everyone on campus before it happens again.

We can hope, anyway.

Update 2: Friends of Aguilar have set up a memorial Facebook page offering a number of photos, while a another remembers him as a good guy who was always there for his friends. 

CLR Effect notes that a memorial ride and ghost bike installation has been scheduled for next Thursday, March 7th — one week from the day and time Aguilar was killed — starting at 11:30 am.

Update 3: The Daily News remembers Aguilar as a role model who lit up a room when entered. 

Update 4: I’ve added a notation above that Ivan Aguilar was a resident of Pomona; I’m told his family is from Azuza. KNBC-4 reports on the grief felt by his friends and fellow students.

13 comments

  1. Jeff Nerdin says:

    That was a serious impact. If the cyclist wasn’t going against traffic (or even if he was) the motorist would have to have been going pretty fast to result in so much damage to the car. I appreciate your post earlier today, which I felt may have (in part) been in response to my safety concerns expressed via email, but this story doesn’t make me feel any safer, especially since I work on a university campus. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victim’s family and friends, as well as to the forever of the car.

    • Jeff Nerdin says:

      I meant “driver” of the car.

    • I go to school there and I can tell you that motorists do travel fast on that road. It is a hassle to leave the parking lot on that street for that reason. The cars easily go 40 miles an hour on that road. However, I would like to point out that the article said that there wasn’t any bike lanes. In fact there are and the CPP professor should have known that since it was a big deal to the CPP community and upset them because now everyone has to pay over $300 for a parking pass, which many students don’t have that kind of money, instead of being able to park on the side of that street.

  2. JD says:

    Our prayers go up for the family and friends of the victim.

  3. Yogagurl says:

    It’s very sad for all. I am sure the driver feels horrible grief/guilt. He will feel this the rest of his life. Warning to bicyclists and drivers. Bicyclists ride carefully. Drivers don’t go too fast.

  4. Alan says:

    Looking at the photo, it appears the skid marks may actually be a shadow of the police tape. If Aguilar was riding against traffic he may have been in the buffer zone, which is my assumption. Alternatively, he may have been in the center buffer zone preparing for a left turn into the traffic circle. Looking at the Google map, it indicates the accident occurred just south of the bridge over Eucalyptus Lane, a sweeping curve for those going south.

    I’ll avoid any more speculation

    • bikinginla says:

      Good eye. Now that I look at it again, I think you’re right — what I assumed was a skid mark appears to shadow from the tape.

      The location of the bike does suggest that he was in the buffer zone, as you suggest. However, we’re going to have to wait until the police announce the results of their investigation to know for sure, assuming they do.

  5. Estrella says:

    I drive on that campus everyday and he may have been going against traffic because there is no buffer zone or bike lane on the other side. Also, the buffer zone is mostly in that curved area and continues about half way up that street but not all the way. He may have thought he was safer facing traffic.

  6. Carlinda Toups says:

    Pardon me but I don’t believe [sic] a Cal Poly student would ride against traffic It looks like he was hit from behind by the driver yet that’s what sheriffs to decipher. Also those road leading into the college look treacherous for a cyclist. So? All in all it is tragic despite being a beautiful day.

    • bikinginla says:

      You may be right. However, all the news reports to this point indicate that Aguilar was riding north, and hit by a vehicle driving south, which would suggest a head-on collision.

    • Dan B. says:

      I go to school here as well, I choose to ride my bike primarily on campus and avoid the traffic areas, and I’m lucky because I live on campus, but not all bicyclists have that option. Lots of people who commute use this street to get to campus on their bikes, and you can’t really see it but this street does not have a sidewalk in either direction until you actually reach the bridge, and even then its only on one side. Even though I do see quite a few people riding their bikes along the road, they are forced to ride in dirt patches that are infested with the large surface roots of trees or, for some who ride road bikes that can’t handle the terrain, they choose to ride very close to the curb, basically in the very thin drainage area. Most cyclists follow, as a rule and as the law, to ride with the flow of traffic, and I have a theory that he may have possibly been crossing the street (from the right side to the left side if you use the picture as a reference) to get to the school’s campus, as he was hit just before class starting times, but that is kind of a blind corner there and he may have just chosen to cross at an unfortunate time. I can’t really think of another explanation that he would be far enough into traffic lines to be actually hit, other than if he was crossing… I was actually riding to class myself when I heard the police and fire engine sirens, I knew something had happened right away but I couldn’t have imagined what had actually occurred :/

  7. John P says:

    So, there’s no bike lane on this street, but there is a big wasted space in between the yellow lines? I’d say the University gets in trouble for this…

  8. I could see people riding opposite of traffic in this area. In the photo you can see a bridge that goes over Eucalyptus Lane. The bridge is the most convenient access from the dorms (behind the camera) to the CLA building (the pointy building in the background) and the library (to the left). The other bikable route is around the student union, and is generally a dismount zone anyway due to pedestrian traffic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five × four =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

%d bloggers like this: