Cyclist killed by Metrolink train in Jurupa Valley; passengers inconvenienced

What a wrong-headed article.

The Press-Enterprise reports a bike rider was killed by a Metrolink train in Jurupa Valley last night.

Or rather, barely reports, because the story only briefly touches on the fact that someone lost his or her life, instead focusing on the horrible inconvenience it posed to those on the train.

How rude that he should have delayed all those poor, unfortunate people from getting home by dying.

I’m going to be tied up all day today, but I’ll try to add more information later tonigt.

Update: According to the  Press-Enterprise, the collision occurred around 5:24 pm Friday at Rutile Blvd and Van Buren Blvd

The story offers no more information about the victim or the crash itself, even 24 hours later.

The Riverside County Coroner’s office offers a little more information, listing the victim as a 64-year old Riverside resident; his name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. He was declared dead at 5:34 pm.  

And yes, unless the warning signals were malfunctioning in some way, a collision with a train is almost always the rider’s fault. Looking at the satellite view, it’s hard to picture how the victim could have been caught on the tracks by accident; although it is always possible he was riding along the tracks rather than crossing them.

Never go around a warning gate, even if the way seems clear at the time; a train can be coming from out of view, or a stopped train can start without warning.

Other than the flashing lights, bells and lowered gates, that is.

This is the 54th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 6th in Riverside County. Remarkably, it’s also the 5th SoCal cyclist killed in a collision with a train since the first of the year.

Update 2: The victim has finally been publicly identified by the Riverside County Coroner’s office as 64-year old Riverside resident Ronald Rodriguez.

18 comments

  1. Seems to me the cyclist may have taken a huge risk for the gain of a minor personal convenience, saving the few seconds it would have taken to wait for the train to pass. As selfish as the behavior of most motorists. He “inconvenienced” not only the people on the train, who would have been traumatized by the sight as well as inconvenienced, but possibly thousands of people on other trains. Many of the wintesses might give up using trains (putting more cars on the roads with us) or bicycles, after seeing a horrible crash.

    The newspaper focussed not on speculation on the cyclists’ behavior, but on what they knew: the bare facts of what happened, and how passengers said they felt about it. It’s not the place of a newspaper to speculate, outside of the op-ed pages, nor to provide sympathetic support for the actions of people who are affiliated with us through an affinity for bicycles. Newspapers (ideally) report on news, and the paper did note, correctly, that “It wasn’t known Friday night the identity of the person killed or the circumstances behind the death.”

    The grade crossing in question has gates, lights, and bells ( http://goo.gl/maps/m5iGU ), and presumably they were working…though a follow-up query on that matter would definitely be worthwhile.

    • bikinginla says:

      As the comment below points out, the victim was much more inconvenienced than those on the train.

      I wouldn’t complain as much if this wasn’t a common problem with the Press-Enterprise, which is notorious for news items with virtually no information about the death of cyclists or pedestrians. It only took a simple visit to the coroner’s website to get far more information than they included in the non-updated article.

  2. Profesor Wilfong says:

    The writing schema of the Press-Enterprise is deplorable- The Press-Enterprise writers are basically cross-eyed watanabe writers with no talent which is why Press-Enterprise doesn’t name an author . Their articles’ focus is on inconvenience but also those people who were inconvenienced had their names ascribed in the article for perpetuity on the Internet. If my name was ascribed to an article, I’d sue for libel. All cyclists should boycott the advertisers of Press-Enterprise until the editors can effectively learn to wipe their butts without ‘the process’ corrupting their so called, dog eared, drooling writers.

    • Opus the Poet says:

      I’m sure you meant “wannabe” rather than a slur against people of Japanese descent (Watanabe is a common family name in Japan).

  3. Opus the Poet says:

    I have to deal with 5 or 6 stories like this every year with my blog, and the thing I have the hardest time wrapping my head around is how easy it is to not get hit by a train yet people still manage to do it. There are several steps to getting hit by a train, and some of them take work to do, like going under or around a crossing guard, or ignoring the existence of the train as it approaches (usually blowing the horn and those thins are loud). So I feel for the victim and the families of the victim and all those affected by wrecks like this, but I still don’t understand what goes through the minds of the victims leading up to the wrecks. Seriously, and people that read my blog know I’m not one to blame the cyclists lightly, but getting hit by a train on a bicycle just does not make sense to me.

  4. Gina says:

    People don’t know all the details of someone’s life. They just feel free to leave not so nice comments. To let you know he was my uncle and a very nice man. He was a special needs person who lived his life being kind to people and trying to help anyone he could. He was a great man and we loved him very much!

  5. jess castro says:

    I knew the man. He was a great guy. im not surprised it happened just really sad that it did. I work at one of the businesses he loved to hang out at, everyone is broken up. he was my buddy. Im gonna miss him. Gina im sorry about your uncle.he was loved.

    • Kevin Jones says:

      He was a really nice guy, super funny and was always laughing. He will be missed, I hope everyone showed up for the car wash toady to help out his family.

  6. Rena says:

    If something so tragic & unexpected happed to one of your own family members allthe above comments would not exsist. How irresponsible & ignorant to make such comments regarding a human life lost. Not only was he my uncle, but he was a human being who mattered in this world. He was more than a man struck by a train, he will always be remembered as a special son,brother,uncle, and friend. R.i.p Uncle.

    • bikinginla says:

      I am very sorry for your loss, Rena. However, I fail to see any comments disrespectful of your uncle; if I did, I would not hesitate to remove it.

      It’s true that I don’t understand how or why this occurred. But my comments, and those of others, are not intended as criticism of your uncle, but an attempt to keep it from happening to someone else; we’ve already had five bike riders killed by trains in Southern California this year.

      My heart and prayers go out for your uncle, and all your family.

  7. carolyn says:

    yea , i am truly shoked and very sad, i knew him for many yrs, a great man, i am going to miss him. he was allways happy, and had a great person allity. i know god has taken him home. god bless.

  8. carolyn says:

    i can’t beleave all those stupid passenger complaining about getting home late . hello!!! you idiots!! your lucky you are alive, and will get home anyway.do any of you assholes think about the poor person who died NO!, i guss not! you are too bussy going aroun with you head up you butt.. you all live in your little world. you better hope it will not happend to you, becaus tomorrow you might not see the next day. you narrow minded pea brain selfish passengers shouid think your lucky stars that you are still alive!!!.

    • I just re-read the article, and not a single passenger complained about being late. One expressed horror at the sight of the collision; one explained that it was hard for him to change trains since he is wheelchair-bound. Only the headline–not any quotes from passengers–indicated “inconvenience.”

      From what was quoted, the passengers did not seem hard-haearted at all, but emotionally affected by the death or (in the case of the disabled fellow) worried about how to deal with the transfer.

      In other words, read the article before you dump on the passengers. As far as I can tell, all the insensitivity came from the newspaper.

  9. carolyn says:

    oh! yes the press-enerprise reports about the the so called silly sellfish passengers . who gives a heck about the whiney passengers. they have no respect! and neather does the press-enterprise. i beleav the press should focus only on the person who lost his life,

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