San Diego cyclist dies three months after collision with another rider

Very sad news from San Diego County.

According to an obituary from the San Diego Union-Tribune, 57-year old Santee resident Paul Fleck died earlier this month as a result of injuries suffered in a bicycling accident.

The incident occurred May 10th; his death came almost exactly three months later, on August 9th.

An email forwarded to me from the OFFBAC riding group fills in some of the details.

Apparently, Fleck was riding downhill in the bike lane on Highway 52, though it doesn’t specify where on the highway, traveling at about 30 mph. Another rider was struggling uphill with his head down when he swerved to avoid something and drifted into Fleck’s lane, where they evidently collided head-on.

He had been hospitalized ever since, and appeared to be making progress until he succumbed to cranial bleeding.

No word on the condition of the other cyclist.

This is the 61st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in San Diego County. It’s also the two SoCal road death resulting from a collision with another rider since the first of the year.

Please, ride carefully out there.

Update: I’m told the area where this collision occurred is actually a two-way separated pathway that was built when 52 was widened a few years back, removing the shoulders where cyclists used to ride.

Correction: I originally wrote that there had three bike on bike fatalities this year. However, this is actually the second death this year; the count was off due to an entry error in database. My apologies for the mistake. 

Correction 2: Actually, three cyclists have been killed in collisions with other riders; I was just unaware of the third until now.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for Paul Fleck and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Phillip Young of the San Diego Wheelmen for the heads-up. 

7 comments

  1. Mark Friis says:

    What are the other two collisions with other cyclists that resulted in fatalities?
    Terrible thing to hear.

    • Smorg says:

      One of the other cyclist v cyclist fatal crashes was another head-on collision on the Lake Miramar multi-use path (San Diego) last week. :o( Don’t know where the other incident was.

      • bikinginla says:

        I don’t deliver the victim in the Miramar collision died; last I heard he was hospitalized with a head injury. If you have any other information, please let me know.

        I’ve changed the story above to say that this is the second bike on bike fatality this year, not the third; I had mislabeled another crash in my database, and failed to verify it before posting the story last night in my rush to get it online before going to bed. Sorry about that.

        The other death was an LA rider named Josh Michael, better known as Monster, who collided with another rider on a group ride last February and fell, hitting his head; he was a regular helmet wearer, but had forgotten it that night and decided to ride anyway.

        • Smorg says:

          Hi.
          Unfortunately he died at the hospital later in the day. Severe head injury. :o( His name was Gus Pabalan. I don’t know why the news media didn’t update the story… I suspect they had him confused with the other rider than only suffered minor injury.

          Mr Pabalan was very active at the Mira Mesa Cycling Club, whose facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/groups/357517644330173/ ) (it’s an open public group, so hopefully you can open it okay) is where you can find the death notices. They held a memorial ride for him last weekend ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbDJ8xSb5Ug ). I don’t know why, but this year has really been rather bad for So Cal cyclists. :o(

  2. JD says:

    Our prayers go up for the family and friends of Mr. Fleck.

  3. Steve Pusser says:

    I haven’t heard about this fatality, but Caltrans took a highway with wide shoulders on either side, and crammed the bike traffic into a narrowed, rough, debris-strewn two-way separated bike path. I hold my breath every time I pass another cyclist on this now dangerous path, even at slower speeds. This was no accident—it was bound to happen, and will happen again.

    The DOT points to a fatality that occurred on the shoulder lane, but that occurred when a motorist decided to avoid slow traffic by driving on the shoulder and hit the cyclist. That can happen on any road.

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