Update: 25-year old bike rider killed near Caltech in Pasadena

More bad news.

According to the Pasadena Star-News, a bike rider described only as a man in his 30′s was hit and killed while riding near Caltech in Pasadena this evening.

The paper reports the collision took place at Del Mar Blvd and Wilson Avenue just north of the campus about 5:30 pm; the L.A. Times places the location mid-block between Wilson and Michigan Ave, with the time of the collision around 6 pm.

The victim was taken to Huntington Hospital where he died from his injuries. The driver of the compact car remained at the scene and was reportedly cooperating with police.

No other details are available at this time; no word on which way the rider was headed or how the collision occurred.

This is the 33rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year; remarkably, 17 of those deaths have been in Los Angeles County. This is also the third bike death in Pasadena since 2011.

My prayers and deepest sympathy to the victim and his loved ones.

Update: The Star-News reports that the victim, who still has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, was a 25-year old resident of Los Angeles. 

According to the paper, he was riding west on Del Mar with a female companion when he was struck from behind, with the force of the impact throwing him into a parked car.

The woman he was riding with was not struck by the car.

Update 2: The Caltech Bike Lab is sponsoring a petition calling for better east-west bike routes in Pasadena, including sharrows on Del Mar; whether it would have helped in this case may never be known. 

Update 3: In a comment below, a blogger links to her thoughts about witnessing the collision. According to her, the victim was thrown across the road to collide with the parked car before landing crumpled on the sidewalk, suggesting an impact of significant force. 

Update 4: The victim has been identified as 25-year old Los Angeles resident Phillip O’Neill

……..

When I learn about a case like this, in which the victim has not been publicly identified, I pray it’s not someone I know. And feel guilty, because even if I don’t know who it is, someone else will.

Because it’s never just a stranger on a bike.

It’s always someone’s son or daughter, mother or father, sister, brother, cousin, nephew, co-worker or friend. It’s someone someone loves, or likes or maybe even can’t stand, if only just a little.

It’s never just a statistic, regardless of those stats I keep.

It is a real person who was here, and now, suddenly and without warning, isn’t. A meteoric flash of life snuffed out in a relative instant, leaving a gaping hole in the lives of those left behind.

It’s always heartbreaking. It’s always tragic. It’s always a loss beyond our comprehension, if only because we can never know what might have been.

And it is always — always — unnecessary.

28 comments

  1. sevencyclist says:

    Assuming that’s on Del Mar. Chances are, it was probably someone pulling out of a driveway without looking. When I used to ride through there, I’d usually take a road further south, like Lombardy or San Pasqual. Very sad news. That’s my old neighborhood.

    • paula says:

      sevencyclist:

      do not make assumptions you know nothing about. the cyclist killed was my cousin, he was 25 years old and an awesome individual. He was not killed by someone “pulling out of a driveway without looking.” You do not know the situation or the facts. Please keep your opinions to yourself.

      • bikinginla says:

        Paula, I am very sorry for your loss. However, as noted in response to your other comment below, please try to be a little more considerate to others on here. This is my blog, not yours; it is not up to you to moderate the comments.

        As long as people are respectful to your cousin and others on here, they are free to express their opinions.

  2. Jerry Roskilly says:

    It’s always sad to hear news about a cyclist killed while doing this thing we love so much. It is a strange dichotomy that in a instant you go from pedaling along in a blissful state of seeming immortality to a state of none existence. I do think about this when I’m getting ready to ride but it quickly subsides as soon as the pedaling begins. Such is Life and we learn to except its risks.
    (my wife has trouble with this reasoning)

    • mike says:

      “Such is Life and we learn to except its risks.”

      I have come to accept that I will probably die by the hands of an inattentive driver.

      I am not “okay with it” but I have come to accept it which is a very weird feeling…

    • ValleyBall1 says:

      I’m an avid cyclist and, ironically, work in risk management. My wife often reminds me of the risk of cycling – especially now that we have a young family. As selfish as it sounds, I don’t believe you have to give up your life in fear. You mitigate the risk of an accident (e.g., follow the rules, wear bright clothing, don’t ride during busy times / busy roads, etc) and pray it’s not your time. Even when you’ve done everything right, there is still no guarantee; truthfully, there are no guarantees anywhere in life so live life to its fullest and never take anything for granted.

      God bless the O’Neill family / friends and give them strength during this terrible tragedy.

  3. patrick says:

    I don’t think pulling out of a driveway would lead to the cyclist being, “struck from behind, with the force of the impact throwing him into a parked car.” I makes me suspect the driver may have been texting.

    • paula says:

      Please do not make assumptions you know nothing about. the driver was not texting. the driver was on his cell pone on the way to the hospital to see a loved one who was in a coma. the cyclist killed was my 25-year old cousin.

      • bikinginla says:

        Paula, I am very sorry for your loss. However, please show a little more respect to others on here. Patrick’s comment was a valid response to speculation from others; given the prevalence of texting drivers, it was a reasonable guess. And given that you say the driver was on a cell phone, it wasn’t far off the mark.

        In the absence of any published information, it is only natural that people will speculate in an attempt to try to understand how this could have happened.

        • paula says:

          the driver was on his cell phone and was on his way to the hospital because he had a family member in the hospital who was in a coma. he was not on his cell phone just for the fun of it.

          • bikinginla says:

            It is no more legal to use a hand-held cellphone under those circumstances than under any other. He should have pulled over to finish his call, and waited until he was capable of driving safely, or having someone else drive him to the hospital. Now an innocent man is dead because he didn’t.

            For someone who claims to be a cousin of the victim, you seem to be going out of your wait to deflect blame from the person who killed him.

  4. Joel says:

    At least the guy stopped…half the drivers in LA just take off after they hit a bicycle or pedestrian.

    • ValleyBall1 says:

      Agreed! Hitting someone is an accident; fleeing the scene is a felony.

      • Greg says:

        No. Hitting someone is an avoidable collision. The driver should be charged with Manslaughter and his license should be completely revoked for years.

  5. LoriAnn says:

    I was witness to this accident and it was horrific to watch someone’s life be taken from them right before my eyes. I had to capture my thoughts in a recent blog post at http://www.loriannscafe.blogspot.com. My prayers and heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends.

  6. Kathy says:

    My daughter was with Phillip, on their first date, when this horrific accident occurred. They’d planned on using Del Mar as it’s wide and full of CalTech students on bicycles. Enjoying their day together, they headed west, and suddenly with no warning Phillip was gone, vanished from her view, crumpled away from her reach. Trauma has stricken her. His funeral is tomorrow and she, I and her cyclist brother will be there for his family. Our hearts are just broken by this senseless tragedy. As you say, and I’ve quoted you all week, “And it is unnecessary, always unnecessary.” Always.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    http://www.loriannscafe.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-cyclist.html?m=1
    I am his sister. At 25 he found enlightenment. That about sums up him.

    • LoriAnn says:

      Elizabeth – I read your kind words re: my blog. My heart goes out to you and your family. Your brother sounds like he was an amazing person and clearly there’s a huge hole in the world for having lost him. Please give my best to your family, especially your parents. I’m a mom of a 17 year old who rides all over Pasadena and I can’t begin to imagine their pain. Hugs to you all.

  8. Kathy says:

    I met you briefly, Elizabeth, and your warmth, your brother’s and mother’s has softened the blow. Thank you for being you.

  9. shahab nahid says:

    Hey everyone, Phillip was a member of the 5 star martial arts family, and as a way to support him and his family, the school is hosting a charity Muay Thai workshop, all the proceeds will be going to the O’neill family. The workshop will be hosted at 5 star martial arts, 4201 wilshire blvd suite 105, los Angeles Ca 90010 (323) 933 1708. The event will start Monday and Tuesday June 24th 25th from 6:30-8:30, we would love to see you all there.

  10. […] Bike rider killed near Caltech in Pasadena (bikinginla.wordpress.com) […]

  11. BC says:

    Did not seem to be able to find in the news report so far, does anyone know if the rider was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident? Thanks!

  12. Maiken says:

    Phillip was wearing a helmet. I was driving west on Del Mar just after the accident occurred and saw him crumpled and alone against the curb. Very, very sad.

    To drivers & bicyclist all, I want to share a story:

    Some years ago I was driving on Barham Blvd., approaching a bicyclist also heading in the same direction. I slowed down to give him as much room as I could when suddenly his bike just fell over – as if blown over (despite clear weather). I had to slam on my brakes to keep from hitting him. Fortunately I was able to stop about a foot from this poor guy splayed on the asphalt. Outside of road rash, he seemed fine, though unable to explain what caused him to fall over.

    I’m not suggesting that this is what happened to Phillip, nor am I saying that the driver that killed him isn’t culpable. I’m just wanting everyone to keep in mind that stuff happens. Not all drivers are negligent. Not all cyclists are oblivious.

    One thing is certain, I’m terrified every time I approach a cyclist on the road – which is often given that i’m fortunate enough to live in a neighborhood that attracts many of you.

    Please, everyone, be alert, be considerate and share the road.

  13. bikinginla says:

    Sorry you had to see that. Having witnessed a traffic collision in which someone was killed over a decade ago, I know something like that sticks with you a long time.

    Unfortunately, many things can cause a bike rider to fall, from a sudden gust of wind to a crack in the pavement. He was lucky to have an alert driver behind him when it happened.

    There’s no need to fear driving around cyclists, however. Just follow at a safe distance, pay attention, and give riders at least three feet of space when passing.

    As for what happened to Phillip, reports are that he was struck with enough force to knock him across the road and into a parked car. You’re right that we shouldn’t assume it’s always the driver’s fault, nor the cyclist’s. But in this case, at least, the victim did not just fall over.

  14. B Chin says:

    I haven’t spent that much time biking, but I was almost killed by a car I accidentally cut off as a kid. I had another nasty accident when I got cut off by a car and flipped the bike trying to avoid hitting it. My roommate was an avid biker and got into a wreck with a car. I wouldn’t consider biking in traffic again. If you get killed in a wreck there can be an investigation to determine who was at fault, but you’re still dead.

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