All week, I’ve been hearing rumors of a serious accident on an LA Wheelmen ride over the weekend.
Today I got confirmation. And the news is worse than we thought.
According to the LAW Facebook page, group president Pam Leven was involved in a riding accident when she touched wheels with another rider on Sunday. Both she and the other rider went down hard; unfortunately, she suffered injuries including a broken hip and collarbone, as well severe head and facial trauma. The second rider was not seriously injured.
She was taken to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where she died at 3 pm today after being taken off life support without regaining consciousness.
And yes, she was wearing a helmet when she fell.
I haven’t been able to find any other details yet; I’ll share them if and when I do. Please let me know if you have any additional information.
Her death is going to touch many local riders very deeply, as the Wheelmen are a popular riding group in the city, and Pam was well known, and clearly, well loved. In addition, she was the treasurer for the Independent Writers of Southern California for over 20 years; I’m told members of the group are in shock over her loss.
This is the 83rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, in what has turned out to be a very bad year. Since she was taken to UCLA, I’m assuming this occurred in LA County, which would make her the 35th bike rider to die in the county this year, compared to 22 last year.
She is also the sixth SoCal rider to die as a result of solo falls or collisions with another rider this year.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Pam Leven and her husband Bob, and all their family and loved ones.
Update: The initial draft was based primarily on Facebook comments, and contained a number of errors, which have been corrected above. Thanks to Monica Vogl for the corrections.
Update 2: I’ve received an unconfirmed report that the fall that took Pam Leven’s life occurred Sunday afternoon near the intersection of Sunset Blvd and Amalfi Drive in Pacific Palisades.
That places it within the City of Los Angeles, which has now seen 15 bicycling deaths this year.
Update 3: In a comment below, cdp8 points us to the California Triple Crown blog, which offers an online memorial to Pam Leven. In it, he says she was on the Wheelmen’s Newcomer’s Ride when they turned off of Sunset, and she touched wheels with another experienced rider.
From what I’ve been able to pick up, it sounds like no one was at fault here; it’s just the risk we all assume when we get on a bike and ride at that level. I could have lost my life a dozen times over in the years I’ve been riding if things had just gone a little differently.
It’s also clear that she was loved very deeply, both within and outside the cycling community, and she will be very missed.