Update: 22-year old cyclist killed by Metrolink Train in Palmdale; 7th bike/train death this year

A bad year just keeps getting worse.

KNBC-4 is reporting that a teenage bike rider was killed in a collision with a Metrolink train in Palmdale Saturday night.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was crossing the tracks at Palmdale Blvd and Sierra Highway, when he reportedly tried to beat the train across the tracks.

And failed.

No other details are available at this time, including the time of the collision or which directions the rider and train were headed.

This has been a horrible year for bike/train collisions in Southern California. Seven bike riders have been killed by trains so far this year; this is the second this month alone. That compares with just two in all of last year, and four in 2011.

Yet this is the easiest type of collision to avoid. Just stop when the crossing gates come down, and wait until they go back up — even it if looks like it’s safe to cross.

And don’t even think you can beat the train.

Because chances are, you won’t.

This is the 70th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 30th in Los Angeles County; that is eight more than were killed in the county in all of last year.

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

Thanks to Joni for the heads-up.

Update: The LA Daily News reports that the victim, who still has not been publicly identified, was a 22-year old man.

According to the paper, a witness at the scene said the victim was riding with a group of friends around 7:10 pm when he tried to outrun the northbound train. The paper doesn’t say if he was the only one who tried to beat the train, or if any others might have made it across before he was hit.

Not surprisingly, none of the passengers on the Number 269 train were injured.

Update 2: The Antelope Valley Times identifies the victim as 22-year old Manuel Correa, no hometown given. 

Meanwhile, a comment from Bryan Laine, below, indicates that he not only knew the victim, he was on the train at the time of the collision. According to him, the leaders of the group kept riding after the crossing arms began to fall, which led to Correa’s death as he evidently followed them across the tracks.

25 comments

  1. JD says:

    We offer up our prayers for the family and friends of the young victim.

  2. Pete Simpson says:

    Urban Dictionary: darwinism
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=darwinism‎
    The process by which, via natural selection, unfit specimens remove themselves from the gene pool. See Darwin Awards.

  3. Anj says:

    I feel sorry for the friends and parents of the young man killed, but I have to say the way I see so many young cyclists ride these days, I’m not surprised the death toll isn’t higher. We really need to get them to change their hard headed ways and get them to ride safer. including to wear safety certified helmets. Also to push for more bike lanes is a great idea, and the 3 ft. law, but more has to be done to change the arrogant attitude of riding, like taking up a whole lane of traffic (one to three riders) and swerving around to antagonize drivers. Trying to beat a train falls into this category.

    • bikinginla says:

      Actually, taking up the entire lane, as you describe it, is both legal in most cases, and recommended for safety by bike advocates, the DMV and many law enforcement agencies.

      Whenever a lane is too narrow to be safely shared by both a bike and a car, cyclists can and should take the lane to keep drivers from passing in an unsafe manner. Any driver coming upon a rider in such a situation should wait until it’s safe, then go into the next lane to pass.

      There is also no law again riding two or more abreast in the state of California. Again, when the lane is too narrow to share, it’s safer to ride abreast in oder to increase visibility and prevent unsafe passing.

      And it is absurd to think anyone rides they way they do in an attempt to antagonize drivers. Most cyclists ride in the manner the feel is safest; the problem is, too many drivers have no understanding of bike safety from the riders perspective. What may seem dangerous or antagonistic to you may, in fact, be the safest way to ride.

      That said, there is a need to educate many riders on what is, in fact, safe and legal. Some don’t understand the law or safe riding techniques, while other enjoy the adrenalin rush of breaking the rules.

      Of course, the same can be said of many drivers on the roads, as well.

      • bikingila

        First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with the accident victims family and loved ones. May he rest in peace!

        I couldn’t help it but notice your comments above and have a few words to say… I actually do drive quite a bit in the Antelope Valley as well as in Los Angeles and I must say, if you believe “it is absurd to think anyone rides they way they do in an attempt to antagonize drivers” then you either do not drive at all or you are simply turning a blind eye to what happens on the streets each and every day.

        For one, you can make whatever statements you want about lane sharing and how a bicyclist can take up an entire lane and that vehicle drivers can wait until it is safe.. Though you should keep in mind that the laws prohibiting anyone (pedestrian, rider or driver) from impeding traffic are still in effect. And until you can convince the state legislature to change those laws, bicyclists should have to bare some of the responsibility too. Traffic laws are enacted for two main reasons, one is safety, and the other “the normal and reasonable movement of traffic”. This is a responsibility that all users of such highways/roadways are bound by!

        Another violation that many bicyclist are committing with everyone looking the other way, is that they are not bringing their bicycles up to meet the requirements to make their bicycles street legal. The MUST use some sort of light on the front and back as well as reflectors visible form either side. This is not an option!

        Third, bicyclist need to understand that they cannot behave like a vehicle when they want to be in the midst of traffic and then act like a pedestrian so that they can bypass red lights or the mandatory stops. When a bicyclist is crossing in a crosswalk, s/he MUST dismount her/his bike and walk it across the street…. Inconvenient? Yes, but it is the law and until it changes, a bicyclist getting hit because he felt like zooming into the crosswalk from the sidewalk and out of a driver’s blind spot, is not going to be blamed on the car driver, nor is the driver going to be the one with likely injuries… (Skate boarders do this a lot as well).

        The same way you expect drivers to act sensibly and courteously, bicyclists should know (or learn) how to reciprocate.

        For anyone who is wondering, I am an avid bicyclist myself and have been ever since I was 5 years old. I ride 20 to 25 miles a week but you can be sure that I would not ride a single foot without being on a bicycle that is street legal, I don’t ride sidewalks, I don’t run red lights and I wear my helmet.

        Lastly, don’t get me wrong, bikinginla, your efforts are appreciated and the potential health environmental benefits that we are bound to reap from less driving and more biking are a welcome idea, but not when it places me in a position where I have to live the rest of my life feeling guilty because some idiot bicyclist thought he could challenge a car and win!

        • bikinginla says:

          First off, thank you for a reasoned response. However, you are incorrect on several points.

          According to the law in California, impeding traffic does not apply in any situation when there are two or more lanes in each direction, or any other situation in which the driver following is capable of passing. And even then, it requires a minimum of five cars stuck behind the vehicle and unable to pass.

          If a driver can legally change lanes or cross the center line to pass, he is not being impeded. That is not my interpretation of the law; that is how the LAPD and LA City Attorney’s office have defined it.

          Second, even though the law is subject to interpretation, there is no requirement under California law to walk a bike across a crosswalk anywhere it is legal to ride a bike on the crosswalk, as it it legally considered an extension of the sidewalk. The state legislature recently amended the law to say bicyclists can ride along a crosswalk; the LAPD interprets that to mean a cyclist can ride in the crosswalk as long as they are traveling in the same direction as traffic.

          You are right that bikes are required to have lights and reflectors, but that law only applies to bikes ridden after dark.

          Yes, bicyclists are required to observe the law, just as drivers are. And just like many drivers, many bike riders fail to do so.

          But few, if any, ride they way they do to antagonize anyone. To believe so is to assume that people on bikes are anti-social at best, mentally ill or suicidal at worst.

          Seriously, would you intentionally try to piss off someone with the capability of killing you, then walking away saying it was just an “accident?”

    • Bryan Laine says:

      You obviously do not ride bicycles! remind me to not ride while your driving

  4. Roberto says:

    Single speed bike should be banned , this bikes has no brakes.a
    Close friend of this young man .

    • bikinginla says:

      The problem isn’t single speed bikes; the problem is a lack of brakes, which are required under California law, even though the requirement is often ignored.

      My heart goes out to you, and all of this man’s friends.

    • 1blue1 says:

      Where brakes are the law, comply. However, I rode my track bike (now called a fixie) on roads for years without brakes, and would surprise you how quickly I could stop and the only brakes I had were my legs and a thick leather palm in my glove.

    • Bryan Laine says:

      I also knew Manuel. Here is the problem. I have lead group rides for over 5 years now. I have had up to 30 riders on a ride. The blame is on the group Manuel was riding with. When the train was approaching and the crossing gates began to drop,members that Manuel was riding with made a decision to cross the path of the on coming train (Which I happened to be on) That caused a chain reaction which basically caused Manuel’s death! To riders who were with Manuel, Think about your actions before you act! If the lead riders who decided to dart across the tracks(And you know who you are) just would have stopped, Manuel would be alive today……. ( It takes approx 10 seconds if that for the metro link train to pass) Oh and get some frickin brakes and wear a helmet! .

      • val says:

        I wish people would get the story straight. Sure you may have been on the train, but you were not there. I don’t know where people are getting their stories from. Manuel was actually NOT riding with a group. He was riding with only ONE friend who was about a block and a half ahead.

        • val says:

          Also, it was dark, he had his head phones on and was coming from an area where there’s buildings and lights distracting him.Maybe he didn’t see it? Maybe he didn’t hear it? Maybe his first reaction was, “I’ve already gone too far I better hurry up and cross over?”

    • If we’re going to talk about banning a type of bike there is an important differentiation to make between single-speed bikes and fixed-gear bikes. While both only operate at one “speed” determined by the chain ring/sprocket combination, a single-speed utilizes a freewheel hub that allows coasting whereas a fixie’s direct-drive transmission does not. People do put brakes on fixed-gear bikes, but to marginal effect.

  5. Karl says:

    The rough consensus is that this fatality is also collective responsibility in nature. I do not though join in placing blame on some of the rider’s that managed to get across the tracks sooner. The link provided is not actually to the track crossing, but rather too rubber wheeled vehicle only roads.

    Travel the short distance to the crossing and much can be observed. The pedestrians who can legally travel in either sidewalk either are at risk of being run over from passing car traffic on there left from behind them or if walking on the left sidewalk denied any gate across there lane, if you can even call the small diference in impediment between up and down on the right side intentional.

    But this was not a pedestrian. This was someone whose undeterred crossing would be far more trivial stop. Although some can jump a foot or more without a ramp I doubt the deceased would of tried doing that even if he could. What is missing here is just few inches of raising beam from the ground along the tracks. It would be only attitude not expense that has only half the road requiring even ducking or kiddy wheel diameter wheels.

    The resistance to these gates being oblivious to other then cars crossing being recognized saddens me.

    I oppose those who ask who is getting killed and why instead of focusing on how we choose not to prevent there deaths as if our arguments they consented in an informed way have any merit at all.

    These people are guilty mainly of trusting us to do far better, of reasonable denial of risks we recklessly impose upon them, of being your, or even dumb- which is not a excuse for us to take there life.

    We are talking about a fraction of a cent from each of us not being spent. I’m good for many cents towards intervening in human nature and requiring that if tracks like this are to cross sidewalks and bike lanes in areas people of all levels of maturity and ability are welcome then there should be a far lower number of fatal collisions- say that which would require over twenty dollars from each of us to prevent instead of well under a penny.

    However as a public policy matter anywhere people are slaughtered willy nilly for lack of tens of thousands of dollars even being spent should require that fact be disclosed to any potential buyer of real estate and especially all occupants including minors. Should any resident be able to prove, and that means no video of them acknowledging receipt of notice is available, then they can get a refund of there purchase price as a claim against title or moving costs and release from any lease.

  6. Karl says:

    Your website is doing some of the best journalism as I search legal help the industry is confirmed to be doing as one lawyer notes ‘jury tampering’ for decades. Even victim survivor family foundation are autocentric sadly though, here is a report I filed just now with one:

    Angels on Track Form Submission
    Below is what you submitted to info@angelsontrack.org,webmaster@puc.state.oh.us,ORDC.Safety@dot.state.oh.us on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 02:38:59

    Details of Other Danger: Witness report the gate triggered Angel to cross when the first train passed even though the second train didn’t allow the gait to go up all the way- just enough to result in Angel’s death.

    event: Four years ago this “one two the end of you” took another life from this same highschool. Officials falsely mention what they are spending to build underpasses for cars etc. as reason to keep killing kids. Ironically the ADA in insisting that those already wheelchair bound must be jined by new one’s instead of using the crosswalk only contributes tothis fiction. Your website is car mentioning mainly, but yesterday, the sidewalks not getting gates in even one direction- despite the same crossing doing that for cars when cars require licences and therefore LESS need for gates- killed another youngster in a bike train where his conductor wasn’t licensed and should not of been able to decide for him as is reported to be teh case in having him be clipped off of the groupride.

    City: california 11 days ago

    County: common knowledge

    Streets: as widely reported

    Railroad: ols website in tv news but not that fact

    Affliation: friend of the slaughtered’s

    Reporter Phone: 5555555555

  7. Jennifer page says:

    Manny was taken from us too soon. He left behind a beautiful daughter, my niece. God has a plan for Manny. He’s now a guardian angel looking over everyone. You’ll never meet someone with a heart as big as his. He didn’t have an ounce of hate in his body. Unfortunately with his passing his family is left with the costs of his funeral services. So if you can donate to help Manny receive the funeral he deserves. Please keep Manny, his family, my sister and his daughter in your thoughts and prayers. http://www.gofundme.com/4w7mco

  8. Shelley says:

    If the bicyclist was wearing headphones, if he was following a group or wasn’t, if he lagged behind his friend, or even if he didn’t, he clearly was not acting in a responsible manner. If bicycle behavior is strictly dictated by California law, or if the man did not have an ounce of hate in his body, and if he left a daughter behind, he injured someone else that day: my friend the engineer on that train. Railroad rules state that blowing the horn for the crossing and ringing the bell are actions that would indicate the eminent approach of that train. Your last act on that day by ignoring the dropped gates and the approaching train, was to injure my friend.

  9. Wil says:

    The problems is mass vs. larger mass. It doesn’t matter what the verbal rules say or laws, if you are on a bike and your aggregate weight is 200 or so pounds, you will die when you are hit by a mass 20 to 100 times your weight, and/or when that transfer of kinetic energy from the larger mass accelerated you into the rough road below, or the tree next to you, or the ditch beside you.

    Right of way laws do nothing to circumvent newtonian physics. Anyone who writes, types, disseminates or proliferates that any law, rule, bike lane, etc. will do this is proliferating misinformation.

    If you ride on the road with autos and trucks, you risk death. It’s a far greater risk than riding a motorcycle, because bikers do not wear protective gear (adequate helmet, skin protection (read: leather), gloves, shoes). There is no chance for a cyclist verses a car and the hard and rough road surface.

    Give me a motorcycle and proper protective gear any day over riding a bicycle on a road filled with cars. In today’s era of cell phone use, and texting while driving, the odds are even worse.

    It’s laughable that anyone would seriously entertain the idea that more rules and cyclist formations negate these facts. The only solution is to ride somewhere else but the road. Riding is no longer what it was anymore. Road riding shared with autos no longer has a risk reward payoff commensurate with long life.

    • bikinginla says:

      Wil, there’s probably more misinformation in that comment than any other on this entire site.

      To start with, the relative risk of death in bicycling is far lower than for motorcycles for the same amount of time doing each. Motorcycling has 8.8 fatalities per million hours of riding in the US, while bicycling has just 0.26.

      Meanwhile, your risk of dying in a motorcycle collision during your lifetime is one in 1020; in bicycling, one in 4,919. By comparison, your risk of dying in a motor vehicle collision is one in 84. And you are nearly twice as likely to die in a passenger car as on a bike for a comparable time period.

      The differences in relative risk between motorcycles and bicycles are easily explained by the differences in speed. Most bike riders travel at a relatively sedate 10 to 15 mph; even the best bicyclists seldom travel in excess of 30 mph for an extended period. Motorcycles, on the other hand, often travel at freeway speeds or higher.

      While motorcyclists to have the benefit of better helmets, they also need them because of those higher speeds. And your reference to leathers is just bizarre. Motorcycle leathers are intended to prevent road rash; they do absolutely nothing to protect against broken bones or internal injuries.

      The seemingly inevitable risk of death you cite in a collision with a motor vehicle is absurd. It has far more to do with the speed of the vehicle than the mass. A pedestrian hit by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph has a 95% chance of surviving the collision; at 40 mph that drops to just 20%.

      Finally, in 2009, Americans took 4 billion trips by bicycle. The same year, there were an estimated 52,000 injuries serious enough to require medical attention, and 628 deaths. That makes the chances of returning home safely from any given ride an overwhelming 77,000 to one — hardly the bloodbath you suggest. And the risk of death just one in over 6.3 million.

      Done properly, bicycling is a reasonably safe activity, which can be made even safer by riding defensively and obeying the rules of the road. Not to mention improving infrastructure, educating motorists and increasing enforcement.

      Next time, try to get your facts straight before you attempt to frighten bike riders off the road.

      • Wil says:

        Hey just stating an opinion. Keep riding on the roads if that’s ur choice. You wanna put your life in the hands of a texter or cell phone talker, that’s your choice.

        I simply choose not to anymore. There are other riders who have done the same thing. If that’s not you…GREAT! I just have too much to live for and many people that rely on me. I can let cycling on the road go. Ive been riding over 40 years. Ive written opinions on this kind of legislation and have successfully contributed to bike lane formation on public roads. The lanes do reduce the risk, but this was before the cell phone/texting problems we see today. These really accelerate the risks a cyclist on the road in Los Angeles is exposed to more that any other factor.

        I was pro cycling most of my life. I am not anymore in this city for the reasons I stated. This isn’t copenhage nor denmark. This is a CAR culture, and that has very important implications for cyclists.

        There are many cyclist who have stopped riding for these reasons, and the reasons are sound. You can still ride if you want to. Maybe some readers will consider whether or not it’s really worth it for them under the current conditions.

        Are you going to bet your life and functioning on the presence of a little white line and some laws in a book? I am not longer going to do this. Others have chosen the same thing. You do what you want

  10. John Lloyd says:

    “The problems is [sic] mass vs. larger mass. It doesn’t matter what verbal rules say or laws.”

    So laws and rules of the road don’t matter? Sorry, this is just an absurd statement, akin to saying that since human flesh is no match for a knife or bullet, we should do away with laws prohibiting murder. After all, if nothing matters but the laws of physics, why bother having any laws at all?

    “Right of way laws do nothing to circumvent newtonian [sic] physics. Anyone who writes, types, disseminates or proliferates that any law, rule, bike lane, etc. will do this is proliferating misinformation.”

    Again, by this logic we should get rid of traffic lights and stop signs at all intersections, because collisions between cars will inevitably happen and no right of way rules will prevent death or injury to someone in case of a collision because of the Newtonian laws of physics. While we’re at it, why don’t we get rid of air traffic control and FAA airline safety regulations, because, hey, planes will fall out of the sky. Nothing you can do about it. It’s just physics. And, come to think of it, why do we bother inspecting buildings for safety. If they’re going to collapse, it’s just the laws of physics. And food safety? Hey, bacteria is just a fact of life, get used to it.

    “The only solution is to ride somewhere else but the road.”

    Another absurd statement. So, the city of Portland, which has created an excellent network of bike lanes, protected bike lanes, cycle tracks, bike boxes, and other bike-friendly infrastructure on its roads, had zero bicycle fatalities in 2013. Zero. This, despite seeing a large increase in people riding bikes for transportation. See also, Minneapolis, New York, or, if you really want to see how infrastructure and laws make a difference for cyclists, see Copenhagen or Amsterdam. The fact is, infrastructure matters. Laws, rules, and the right kind of bike lanes make a difference. If you don’t think so, you’re living in fantasy land.

    “Wil” is a troll. Like all trolls, his absurd nonsense should be mocked, scorned, then ignored.

    • Wil says:

      They do make a difference, but they don’t stop cell phone users and texters from hitting you on your bike. So a painted line on a road stops a texter from hitting you? Really, wtf kind of thinking is this? This is the reasoning of someone who isn’t being logical.

      This is Los Angeles, its not Copenhangen nor Denmark. This is a driving your car culture, that’s why we don’t have train transit like other places that effectively gets people to places. We have metrolink and that system is very limited.

      If you think your little white lines are going to eliminate this significant new risk, then more power to you. I’m not risking my life on the roads anymore with cars. It’s not worth it financially, fitness wise, or any other way. If you want to ride, ride off the road, ride on the San Gabriel or Santa Ana River trails, ride on the beach trails. Bikes and cars don’t mix here in LA.

      You can your own opinion, makes your own choices. You can pretend the risk isn’t real when you ride bu tyou know it is. A bike lane may reduce the risk for sure, but nothing will eliminate it. Cell phone usage and texting is killing a lot of people in auto-auto related accidents, bikes have no chance in these kind of situations. You can just research this for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

      Is this kind of reasoning unsound? NO. Does it rain on the parade of some people’s idea of how things SHOULD be? Yes. The problem is how things SHOULD be isn’t how they are NOW. And NOW the risks of riding have risen to the point where I choose not to ride on the roads.

      Why is this such a problem for you? This is a FORUM, where differing views are supposed to be expressed. I fyou can’t handle that without hurling insults, people just take you less seriously. If you want to live with a ride-at-all-costs mentality, that is your choice. I choose not to. WTF is wrong with that?

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