78-year old Glendora bike rider dies after being taken off life support

One of my policies on this site is not to report a bicycling fatality without some sort of confirmation.

Which means you many never hear about some of the tragedies that pass through my inbox. But I’d rather keep some bad news under wraps than risk injuring friends and family of a reported victim by reporting a story that may not turn out to be true.

So when I received a report on Thursday that a Glendora rider had died of injuries he suffered earlier this week, I reached out to various sources who might be able to verify the facts.

Sadly, that confirmation came today, in a news story from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

The paper had reported earlier this week that a 79-year old rider was critically injured in a left cross collision in Glendora on Monday.

He was riding west on Foothill Blvd at Elwood Ave around 2:30 pm Monday when a driver headed in the opposite direction turned across his path, forcing him into the passenger side of the vehicle. He was revived by police officers, who found him with no pulse and not breathing when they arrived.

He was stabilized by LA County firefighters, and taken to the ICU unit at Foothill Presbyterian Hospital.

Then on Thursday, a comment from Trish said he had been disconnected from life support and died on Wednesday.

That 79 yr old cyclist in Glendora was my son-in-law’s father. He cycled every day and then would come home and walk his dog. He was in excellent health and very fit. Sadly, he was removed from life support yesterday, and passed away shortly thereafter. Sure with drivers would look before they make left hand turns….really look, not just for cars!

Today’s story in the Tribune identified the victim as 78-year old Francisco Alvarez of Glendora.

The 86-year old driver who hit him stayed on the scene and cooperated with investigators. While the case is still under investigation, the paper reports no criminal behavior was suspected — despite the obvious failure to observe right of way and make a safe turn, resulting in the death of an innocent person.

Maybe this will go down as just another “oops,” excused by the age and, presumably, declining skills of the driver.

This is the 10th confirmed bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Los Angeles County.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for Francisco Alvarez and all his family.

Thanks to Trish for the bad news.

 

5 comments

  1. JD says:

    Our sincerest heartfelt prayers go up for the family and friends of Mr. Alvarez.

  2. D. D. Syrdal says:

    How awful. My deepest sympathies to Mr. Alvarez’s family.

  3. Tom says:

    This is your second article in a row describing deaths caused by octogenarian drivers. In general they are very likely to have declining cognitive abilities, degraded eyesight, and almost guaranteed slow reaction times.

    Frankly, old drivers scare the heck out of me.

    Couple yrs ago in PV, an old lady (70+) was driving wrong side of the street, right at me & my son. Her hands were clenched on the wheel, her gaze was rigidly locked straight ahead (but she didnt see us), she exhibited none of the visual cues than indicated awareness of her surroundings.

    It’s long past due that elderly drivers (say, 70+) be required to renew licenses in person, take an eye exam, a written exam, maybe even the driving exam.

    Yeah, I’ll be old one day too (much too soon!), but if I’m a hazard, I hope someone takes me off the road.

    • bikinginla says:

      Couldn’t agree more. I’ve known drivers in their 90s who could drive as well as anyone, but far more who were no longer as sharp behind the wheel in their 70s and 80s. My own grandmother gave up driving in her late 60s when she realized she could no longer do it safely.

      We need to find an effective way to weed out drivers who have lost their abilities due to age, while permitting those who can still drive safety to continue to do so.

      Right now, it’s up to family members to take the keys away from aging drivers. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done was tell my father-in-law he was never going to drive again — then give up full-time employment so I could be free to take them shopping or to doctors’ appointments, or be there in case of an emergency.

      But it should be the state’s responsibility to identify dangerous drivers of any age and get them off the road before they kill someone. Not after.

      • Joe B says:

        This would be a whole lot easier if there were a reasonable and realistic alternative way for older nondrivers to get around. Telling Mom that she can no longer drive is one thing; telling her that she has to quit her job and can’t do half the things she wants to do because there’s no good transportation is something else entirely.

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