Not every fallen cyclist makes the news.
Sometimes riders lose their lives, and no one even notices aside from family and friends. And we may never know we lost a brother, a sister, a friend we never knew, and now never will.
That’s what almost happened here.
A rider died earlier this month, only a few miles from where I live, on an intersection I know well. But the only hint came in a tweet from filmmaker and photographer Danny Gamboa, who posted a photo of the newly installed ghost bike.
And that’s how I learned Josh Michael, aka Monster, had died earlier this month.
The details are still sparse. What I’ve been able to gather from Facebook is that it appears Michael was riding on the weekly Night Owls ride on Tuesday, February 11th (actually the 4th), when he somehow fell at the intersection of Sunset Blvd and Crescent Heights.
Tragically, while he normally rode with a helmet, he’d forgotten it that night, but decided to ride anyway. And he was only planning to join the group for a few miles, just to say hi to his friends.
But something caused his bike to go down, hitting his head on the pavement. He passed away almost two weeks later on Sunday the 16th.
We’ll never know if he would have survived if he’d been wearing his helmet. But this type of solo fall is exactly what bike helmets are designed to protect against.
This is the 18th bicycling fatality this year, and the seventh in Los Angeles County. He’s also the fifth rider to die in the City of Angels already this year.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Josh Michael and all of his loved ones.
Update: Now it makes a little more sense.
According to his friend Huey JD Steven, Michael was riding downhill on Crescent Heights towards Sunset with a group of riders around midnight on Tuesday, February 4th.
He was riding at speed, maybe a little faster than necessary, when he somehow missed the call for a right turn, bumped another rider and fell, landing on his head.
He was taken off life-support on Sunday the 16th.
As Steven put it,
He went out loving what he did.