Last week I received an email reporting an apparent bicycling fatality last Thursday.
In it, Kevin Walsh quoted a friend of his who reported passing a downed rider near the Lancaster/Lake Hughes area.
I was on a ride today (motorcycle) and I went to the Rock Inn out in Lake Elizabeth. About 7 miles northwest of there on the road out to Avenue D, there was a road biker down, a fatality. Chippies were all around and I didn’t see any civilians other than the biker. He had a reddish road bike and a bluish colored bike helmet. I couldn’t see his clothing because he was in the street covered by a small tarp. His bike didn’t look mashed so I don’t know what happened, it was off in the dirt on the shoulder. He was clearly deceased though. This was about 3 p.m. today. I sincerely hope this wasn’t one of your people…
“It was pretty gusty out there. I’m not sure that this person was hit, I had to proceed both ways past the accident scene and there was no debris or skid marks I could see…I am confused how the person would be deceased and out there in the lane headed south east, actually in the roadway but their bike would be out in the dirt–unless they were standing on the road-side of their bike on the roadbed, and got clipped…and the bike got knocked away.”
Despite my efforts, and that of Walsh and others, we weren’t able to confirm the fatality.
Until today, that is, when an anonymous source forwarded a collision report from the CHP, which identified the victim as 82-year old Leslie West of Lancaster.
On January 16, 2014, at approximately 1105 hours, West (P-1) was riding his bicycle southbound on Pine Canyon Road, south of Three Points Road. P-1′s friend was riding along side, near the right edge of the road, at a slow speed, climbing an slight hill of roadway. Due to unknown reasons at this time, P-1 fell to his right, with the bicycle. Los Angeles County Fire Department and CHP were dispatched and responded to the scene. LA County Fire personnel arrived on scene and began medical aid. They were unable to revive P-1 and he was pronounced deceased at 1135 hours. There is no further information at this time and the investigation is continuing.
Google Maps shows Pine Canyon turns into Three Points Road as it travels north, which connects to Avenue D.
Judging from the description, it’s possible that West may have lost control of his bike and was injured in the fall; more likely, he died of natural causes that may or may not have been a result of riding.
As tragic as this, or any death, is, I can think of a lot worse ways to go.
This is the ninth bicycling-related fatality in Southern California so far this year, and the fifth in Los Angeles County.
My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to Leslie West and all his loved ones.
Thanks to Kevin Walsh for the heads-up.