61-year old bike rider killed in Huntington Beach; second cycling death in the city in just five days

Not again.

For the second time in just five days, a bicyclist has been killed in a Huntington Beach collision.

According to the Orange County Breeze, the OC Coroner’s office has identified the victim as 61-year old William Rowland, Jr of Costa Mesa.

Rowland was hit by a car shortly after 7:30 pm Friday at the intersection of Yorktown Ave and Education Way in Huntington Beach. He was transported to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he died shortly after midnight the following day.

A satellite view shows a bike lane in each direction on Yorktown, with the three-way intersection controlled only by a stop sign on Education Way.

No other information is available at the time; the paper reports the collision is still under investigation.

His death follows on the heels of the alleged DUI collision that took the life of 55-year old Michael Bastien of Huntington Beach on Monday, less than eight miles away.

This is the 66th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 14th in Orange County. And it’s the 6th cycling death this year in Huntington Beach, which has apparently become a very dangerous place to ride a bike.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for William Rowland, Jr and all his loved ones.

7 comments

  1. KB says:

    I am not sure whether beach near property in this town is becoming more or less of a bargain but half a dozen is that many too many for any city from the getgo not just May or whatever to nary even the first week of S September.

    Is this enough bloodshed for people to notice? The more who die the cheaper it would of been to spare any or all of them. It is so past time to do the math again. Literally for less the the price of just a single square foot of each home we can prevent all fatalities like this. I ask all- is every single inch so necessary that so many must die even for a bonus 144 to what fit another skinned cat’s fur rug as if they,not our bodies, would be better stacked like firewood an anticipation of a winter that has never been nor will be. How many fatalities should a city be allowed before we shut it down. Everyone knows that you can cover all the asphault roads with gold an inch deep before the revenue easally obtained from making them legal to only walk and bike on is exhausted. Instead we flood them with valiant blood and pretend to ignore each and every thud.

  2. JD says:

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

  3. Joshua Cohen says:

    I seem to be getting a lot of wrongful death cases lately. Scary and depressing, especially when we look to bike lanes as the safe means to get around. Yet more compelling evidence for the need for cycle tracks.

    Sending positive energy to Mr. Rowland’s family.

  4. It’s not the bike lanes or lack of cycle tracks. It appears to be intersections that just dump everyone into the same area with no clear guidance, especially uncontrolled intersections where our auto-centric lifestyle (and that is a multi-level statement) has produced a situation where drivers feel that they have the right of way over every bicycle regardless of who has the actual right of way under the rules, and cyclists that feel pretty much the same about cars.

    Solving that problem will take some time, not so much for the cyclists as for the drivers. given the difference in the lethality of motor vehicles and bicycles cyclists having invalid ideas of right of way tend to weed themselves out of the user pool if not the gene pool. Drivers survive wrecks with cyclists at a rate of almost 100%. This tends to reinforce the entitled mentality of drivers. I think something like the Dutch method of impounding every vehicle that hits a cyclist or pedestrian and taking it apart until all safety systems are checked out (brakes and steering, mostly) will drastically reduce motor vehicles hitting vulnerable road users because unlike the Netherlands we don’t have a ubiquitous web of bicycle infrastructure and public transit to handle the transportation needs of those who choose or are forced to not use motor vehicles. Going without your vehicle in the US is a much greater hardship than in the Netherlands.

  5. David says:

    In this area (HB), I see many kids/teenagers riding bikes in all sorts of manner; against the traffic flow, in the middle of the street, or with their heads buried in a phone. Yet, the riders getting killed are older and, I assume, more experienced in their bike skills and ability. Why is this?

  6. James says:

    What does “riding in the middle of the street” mean? Making a left hand turn from the left hand turn lane? Taking the lane? In Huntington Beach no one seems to understand why any cyclist would make a left hand turn or not be right up against the curb.

    In HB cyclists are encouraged to vacate the bike lane at all intersections and ride in the crosswalk or press a button (any button regardless of what it does) and then re-enter traffic. If you position yourself correctly at an intersection you are likely to be interpreted as someone who is “in the middle of the street.” I have been the object numerous road rage outbursts simply because I waited in the left hand turn lane. Last week I sat in a midblock left hand turn pocket waiting for a break in traffic when a driver came at me head on passed me with a foot to spare, all the while yelling “you are in the middle of the street you piece of shit.” He continued another 50 or so yards before making a left, only after driving the wrong way past my left hand turn lane. When a cyclist positions himself to the left of a right hand turn lane or is in a bike lane to the left or a right hand turn lane you will be interpreted as a reckless cyclist who is “in the middle of the street” and yelled at.

    It is true that in HB many cyclists do ride salmon but there is a pretty obvious explanation for that. The cities streets are highways and people are too scared or unskilled to make left hand turns. How many beach cruiser riding HB residents are going to cross 5-8 lanes to make a left turn mid-block? And major intersections protected by lights (there are only major intersections in HB)? Few would dare try.

    Just about every cyclist I observe in HB thinks the cross walk is a part of the bike lane. They all believe they have to press a button and yield to motorists turning right. Every intersection regardless of whether or not it has a loop detector or bike lane is believed to be a place a cyclist cannot be. It’s pretty amazing that HB still insists on using bicycle beg buttons even when they move the bike lane to the left of the right hand turn lane and install bicycle specific loop detectors. The result? 90+% vacate the bike lane, cross the turn lane to press a button that is totally pointless when there is motor vehicle traffic (an there always is). Even worse HB still has right hand turn lanes to the left of bike lanes.

    In HB, traffic engineers, the police dept. and motorists seem to believe that bicycle should only hug the curb and make right hand turns, in other words ride a square around the block or stay on the sidewalk.

    It is interesting that whenever I read about a collision in OC on this website the people who comment never have much to say about traffic engineering, road policy and law enforcement. People in OC are too stupid to learn from their mistakes or bad design. Huntington Beach is a city filled with bike lanes, but they are poorly designed, dangerous and too scary few all but a few people to use.

  7. James says:

    Another issue in HB is that motorists don’t know how to make a right hand turn near cyclists. They either race ahead and cut you off, initiate the turn when they are to your left and expect you to yield or stop in their lane, turn the steering wheel right and prepare to be rear ended and push right into you. And this is when they see you.

    Yorktown is a highway, like every other street in the city. It has a speed limit of 45, a design speed of 55 and intersections are half a mile apart. It is a lot like driving on a rural highway, you can speed without care and don’t really have to pay any attention. It a relaxing “high performance” urban highway. Great for texting. There is nothing about the road that hints at ambiguity, nothing to suggest the existing of pedestrians or cyclists – I’d be surprised if a majority of drivers even recognize the bike lanes in HB. And this is one of the safer-feeling streets in HB. An ideal, no a less dangerous route connecting the river with downtown/beach with several schools along the way. It is the best this city can offer and it is still a highway that turns motorists into speeding zombies.

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