Update: 66-year old woman killed riding her bike in Laguna Hills

Sad news from Laguna Hills.

According to KTLA-5, a woman was killed when she was hit by a vehicle while riding her bike at Paseo De Valencia and Kennington Drive around 1:40 pm Saturday.

The victim was identified only as a woman in her 60s, pending notification of her family. No other information is available at this time.

A photo from the scene shows a Toyota minivan with its windshield smashed on the right side.

A satellite view shows what appears to be a bike lane on the southbound side of Paseo De Valencia, while the Aliso Creek Bikeway parallels the road on the northbound side, crossing Kennington in the crosswalk. There is a traffic signal at the intersection.

Paseo De Valencia marks the border between Laguna Woods to the west and Laguna Hills on the east. The OC Sheriff’s Department places the collision on the Laguna Hills side, suggesting the victim may have been riding on the bikeway and was struck when she attempted to cross Kennington; however, that is merely speculation at this point.

This is the 23rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Orange County; that compares to 44 in SoCal and nine in the county this time last year.

Update: The Orange County Register reports the 66-year old victim was riding south on the bike path when she rode out into the northbound traffic lane on Paseo De Valencia to avoid other cyclists coming in the opposite direction. As she did, she was hit, apparently head-on, by a minivan driven by a 59-year old man, who remained at the scene.

Bystanders performed CPR until the fire department arrived and took her to Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, where she died less than half an hour later.

She may be known in the local bicycling community, as friends described her as an avid cyclist who rode 30 to 40 miles a day.

Update 2: The Orange County Coroner’s office has identified the victim as 66-year old Michiko Day of Laguna Woods.

Bill Sellin forwards a graphic that clearly shows what happened to cause the collision. 

The red arrows represent the route Day took as she exited the bike path to cross Kennington Drive, then swerved into traffic to avoid other riders, indicated by the blue arrows. 

So she appears to have been a victim, not just of the car and driver that took her life, but an inadequate bikeway design that forces riders off a protected bike path and out into the street before coming back into the crosswalk.

Day-Collision-Site

 

Update 3: The Orange County Register reports that Michiko Day was just one block from home when she was killed while riding in Laguna Woods last month. Her riding partner confirms what we thought, that poor road and bike path design may have contributed to her death.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Michiko Day and her loved ones.

7 comments

  1. JD says:

    We lift up our prayers for the family and friends of the victim.

  2. For those of us not local, you have a boundary but you give the same name for the localities on either side. We know one side is Laguna Woods, but we don’t know which side and what the other town is.

    • bikinginla says:

      Sorry, it got a little confusing dealing with two towns with nearly identical names on opposite sides of the street, and I got it wrong.

      The collision occurred in Laguna Hills, on the east side of Paseo De Valencia. The other side of the street is in Laguna Woods.

      I’ve corrected my mistake, so it should be clearer now.

  3. Peter says:

    This is a classic example of the dangers of a sidepath design. It is very difficult to design a safe way to cross intersections. With this design, the only safe way to proceed is to dismount and cross as a pedestrian.

    It would be much safer to just bicycle properly in the street, sharing the lane with the motor vehicles than to use this design. No conflict at intersections AND you are much more visible to motor vehicle traffic.

    • bikinginla says:

      Actually, that’s not true. A British Columbia study shows protected bike lanes reduce injuries by up to 90%. However, the pathways have to be designed well.

      In this case, the exits to the bike path at the crosswalk should have been designed on a straight line leading to the crosswalk, rather than using the ADA-compatible cuts angling out into the street, which would have prevented this wreck.

      In addition, there should be a right turn stop arrow to prevent drivers from turning right onto the cross street while cyclists are crossing, and allow drivers to turn only when the light is green for drivers on Kennington, which would eliminate any conflicts.

  4. Steve Olah says:

    This woman in her sixties was a fulltime working engineer. She swims 30 minutes every morning at 7AM, rides to the gate of Black Star Canyon or to the gate at the end of Silverado Canyon every Saturday AND Sunday, and she was an avid piano player. Superwoman. I know, I was her friend for 35 years.

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