Update: More bad news — 14 year old bike rider killed by school bus in Glendale

More bad news in what is turning out to be a horrible week for SoCal cyclists.

The Montrose-La Crescenta Patch is reporting that a 14-year boy was killed this afternoon when he was hit by a school bus.

The victim was riding his bike on the sidewalk around 2 pm when he was hit by the northbound bus at the intersection of Riverdale Drive and Columbus Ave, presumably when he attempted to cross the street.

The bus reportedly hit him at a slow rate of speed, pinning him underneath. He was pronounced dead at Glendale Memorial Hospital about an hour later.

The site reports his mother has been notified, but the victim’s name does not appear to have been released. He was a student at Theodore Roosevelt Middle School in Glendale.

This is the 22nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th in Los Angeles County — half the total for the entire seven county region.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his family and friends.

Thanks to Stephen Messer for the heads-up.

Update: The Glendale News-Press reports the victim was riding west on the sidewalk on the south side of Riverdale when he entered the intersection against traffic, and was struck by the bus headed north on Columbus.

Witnesses said he was riding at a high rate of speed, which suggests he did not stop at the cross street, despite the four-way stop. The driver, who would have been looking in the opposite direction towards oncoming traffic, told police he never saw the boy coming.

Another tragic reminder that riding on a sidewalk is far more dangerous than it may seem. 

Update 2: KNBC-4 says that the victim was a 7th grade student, but that it isn’t clear if he attended the nearby Theodore Roosevelt Middle School. Thanks to gomerzed for the link.

Update 3: According to the Daily News, there were no passengers on the bus at the time of the collision.

Update 4: The Glendale News-Press identifies the victim as 13-year old Roosevelt Middle School student Jonathan Hernandez; Glendale police had initially said he was 14.

Reading between the lines, it would appear this collision occurred when the rider came off the sidewalk onto the street in front of the bus. The driver was likely focused on oncoming traffic, and may have pulled forward without looking directly ahead or to the right. Even if the driver had looked right earlier, she may not have seen the victim given the speed witnesses said he was riding. 

Whether or not this tragedy could have been avoided with more care on the driver’s part is debatable.

What is not debatable is that this was a slow speed collision, and was only fatal because the victim became trapped under the bus. If school buses and other large buses and trucks were required to have safety panels to keep victims from falling underneath in the event of a collision, this tragedy might never have happened.

15 comments

  1. patrick says:

    I admire your stamina in continuing to chronicle this ongoing marathon of death. Such a gruesome, but necessary task.

  2. Opus the Poet says:

    One of the things I do with every wreck is to state if bicycle infrastructure would have prevented the wreck. This is a wreck that could be laid at the feet of bad infrastructure and bad cycling education. Not so much on the driver, but it is an example of why sidewalks are not bicycle infrastructure, as the driver was not looking for something moving at high speed from pedestrian infrastructure.

    RIP young cyclist.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Bad cycling education,” perhaps, but I’m not sure how “bad infrastructure” was a factor here.

      Riverdale Drive is on a corridor that has been the focus of official efforts to install special bicycle and pedestrian treatments, and it has bike lanes, in both directions, east and west of its intersection with Columbus Avenue.

      These were installed as part of the City of Glendale’s Riverdale Drive—Maple Street Neighborhood Greenway Project in 2011:

      http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/public_works/CIP_RiverdaleDrMapleStNhoodGreenwayImprovementsProj.aspx

      http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/government/council_packets/Reports_041211/CC_5b_041211.pdf

      The intersection of Riverdale Drive and Columbus Avenue has all-way stop control with a center island.

      If the news reports are correct, I think it’s reasonable to believe the proximate cause of this sad event was the bicyclist’s choice to disregard the rules of the road, rather than to make proper use of the infrastructure–on-street bike lanes and stop control–provided for his benefit.

      • bikinginla says:

        Thank you for that. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the bike lanes, since they were obscured by the trees in the satellite view.

        The question we need to answer is why the victim preferred to ride on the sidewalk, rather than use the bike lanes. As has been said before, few cyclists will choose to ride on the sidewalk if they feel safe on the street.

        As you point out, it may simply be a question of education. We need to get bike safety instruction back in the schools.

      • Tony says:

        correct me if i am wrong but seems to me that for some reason all bicyclists dont respect the traffic stop signs and traffic lights, someone has to tell them that if there is a stop sign or read light they need to stop, before another bicyclist gets kill

        • bikinginla says:

          You’re wrong. Many, if not most, bicyclists observe stops signs, while many, if not most, drivers roll through them in what is commonly known as the California stop.

          Everyone is required to stop for both stop signs and red lights.

        • Allan says:

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that all drivers are ignoring the speed limit posted. They seem to think it’s a “conservative suggestion”. Now I’m wondering what’s more dangerous to you and I? Someone that is “controlling” over 2 tons of steel, plastic, rubber and glass, at speeds often over 50% of the posted speed, or someone controlling 30 lbs of steel, rubber and plastic going 50% below the posted speed?

          Take your time, I’ll wait……………………..

  3. I ride my bike pretty frequently and I find that the sidewalk is one of the most dangerous places to ride, simply because cars do not see you on the sidewalk. They see you on the street.

    I urge anyone cycling, to truly be safe, to ride in the street, in the direction of traffic, and with plenty of lights and reflective gear to be seen. Don’t salmon (ride upstream), but know the law and be predictable. Take a safety course if offered, so you can negotiate traffic with confidence.

    condolences to the family and friends of this young man, taken too soon.

    • As well, numerous times I’ll be walking on the sidewalk and as I approach an intersection, I sometimes have to shout just to get a motorists attention, because most often they’ll look to their left for oncoming traffic but never glance towards the right for anything coming that way from the sidewalk.

      If you don’t have eye contact, don’t get in front of it.

  4. Allan says:

    First of all my condolences to this young rider and his loved ones. These are always the hardest to read about.

    RIP young buck.

    The search on this intersection sends me off to somewhere in the south of the US but it can be seen right below the link above take you to, it has one of those “donuts” for traffic calming, http://goo.gl/maps/J8Udl

    I’m really not all that jazzed about these school bus drivers myself. I live pretty dang close to this yard of buses, http://goo.gl/maps/UkAVN and they tend to use the neighborhood surface streets to get around. Kinda the same surface streets I use and they are NOT really all that deliberate at being safe. One time this driver was being abit of a “a hole” and flying through a neighborhood road and I happen to riding the other way. He doesn’t slow down and doesn’t move more to his right. He flys by me taking the middle of the road! This is on a Friday and it’s late in the day, almost 5pm. So I made it a point to go see the dispatcher the following week. To make a long story longer, I pretty much told him that I’m going to the people that hire you next time I see you guys driving like knuckleheads through my street where I live!

    To put it to you bluntly, these drivers are not really that outstanding drivers to begin with. More like lucky in they might not have gotten many violations. Good drivers? I think I might be able to come up with video proof that shows different………

    • bikinginla says:

      No argument from me. I make a point of avoiding schools in the morning and afternoons when kids arrive or get out, in part because of school buses. School bus drivers often seem to be among the worst-trained large vehicle drivers on the road.

      • Michael Sullivan says:

        I’ll take riding with a school bus to riding with crazy parents rushing to get their kids to school on time–they’re nuts (and I’m a parent).

  5. JD says:

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

  6. [...] Daily Carnage: 14 Year Old Cyclist Killed by School Bus Driver in Glendale (Biking in L.A.) [...]

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