Update: Bicyclist killed in Loma Linda collision; first SoCal bike death of 2016

That didn’t take long.

Just four days into the new year, a cyclist has lost his life, the first bicycling fatality of 2016 in the seven-county Southern California region.

According to the Press-Enterprise, 33-year old Loma Linda resident Steven Ortiz was hit by a car while riding at Bryn Mawr Avenue and George Street at 12:07 pm today. He was pronounced dead at Loma Linda University Medical Center half an hour later.

A street view shows a two-lane, three-way intersection with a stop sign on George.

Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time.

This is the first bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in San Bernardino County; there were three cyclists killed in the county last year.

Update: The Press-Enterprise reports that the wreck was caused when Ortiz was apparently left-crossed by the 92-year old driver. 

According to the brief description, both Ortiz and the unidentified driver were traveling south on Bryn Mawr. However, the only way they could collide under those circumstances would be Ortiz was riding on the wrong side of the road, which is not mentioned in the story. 

It’s also possible that the paper may have gotten Ortiz’ direction wrong. 

Update 2: Mark Friis forwards a press release from the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department that indicates the Press-Enterprise did get it wrong.

The release says that Ortiz was riding north on Bryn Mawr, rather than south, and was unable to stop when the southbound driver turned left in front of him onto George. 

Which raises the question of whether a 92-year old driver still belonged behind the wheel. 

Ortiz SBSD press release

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Steven Ortiz and his family. 

Thanks to Erik Griswold and Mark Friis for the heads-up. 

 

12 comments

  1. JD says:

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

  2. Mrs. Delgado says:

    Sorry for the family’s loss, prayers.

  3. William Bracken says:

    Steven was an excellent cyclist. More talented than he knew, I think. Seemed like he could get a KOM on every ride if he felt like it (and at some point on almost every ride, he felt like it and did it). That’s no small feat on the heavily ridden segments around Redlands, Loma Linda and Riverside. What makes this especially tragic, though, is that Steven was such a thoughtful, generous, funny, intelligent and humble person. I know this because all these traits came across so clearly just from his Strava posts, which is how I knew him (we were planning to meet and do a big climbing ride together one of these days…). My sincere condolences to his family and friends. So very sorry for your loss.

  4. SteveO's Girl says:

    My SteveO would never ride on the wrong side of the road!!

  5. Thomas says:

    I would like more details. in order for this accident to have occurred, one of the individuals did not stop at the stop sign. Although I see a lot of support for Mr. Ortiz, it is impossible to say who is at fault without that information.

    • Thomas says:

      I have managed to read the blurred out police report on this same page and it makes no mention of whether the driver stopped. It does however, state that Mr. Ortiz was “unable to stop”. I drive through this intersection nearly every day. The southbound direction has a strong downward grade and a bicyclist can travel very fast…too fast, and there would be too little time for him/her to swerve or stop. Too fast, and it would be possible for a driver of any age to miss seeing the bicyclist against the varied, colorful background of the east side of the southbound road. It’s a horrible, awful tragedy and I ache for both Mr. Ortiz and his family as well as for the elderly driver.

    • SteveO's Girl says:

      Steven Ortiz was my boyfriend, it was a 3 way intersection but not a 3 way stop. There is no stop sign on the Bryn Mawr northbound, downhill direction. There is no stop sign on the Bryn Mawr southbound uphill direction. There is a stop sign on George St. Steven was coming northbound, drivers should yield to oncoming traffic. The speed limit is 35 mph as it is a wide residential st, however there is still relatively little traffic. I’ve spent a lot of time there and it was unfortunate timing. Apparently the driver was 93 years old and saw Steven but was spatially disoriented and thought Steven had already passed him, so he thought it was safe to turn. I don’t understand how a mind can get confused like that, but then again I’m not 93 years old. It is unfortunate and tragic and Steven was a careful cyclist.

      • SteveO's Girl says:

        Oops To clarify, the driver was turning left onto George st, drivers turning left should yield to oncoming traffic, Steven was oncoming traffic. There was no stop sign for either of them, only for people turning onto Bryn Mawr from George St, which there was no one so that is irrelevant.

        • Thomas says:

          I see, I thought this was at the four-way stop at the elementary school. I got my streets confused. Very tragic, very sad. I hope you have lots of support to help you through this difficult time.

      • bikinginla says:

        My deepest sympathy for your loss. I wish there was something we could say to ease the pain, but just know there are others who care, even if we didn’t know him.

  6. Richard Fox says:

    What a tragic story. I’m passing this along that I just noticed on Facebook: https://www.gofundme.com/rj7u39pg

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