Sad news from Huntington Beach this morning.
Schultz was unconscious and suffering from a serious head injury; he died at 2:45 pm after being taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange.
He appears to have somehow lost control of his bike and fallen, perhaps after striking a fixed object; police investigators say no other vehicle appears to be involved. Of course it’s always possible that a passing car or truck, or some other action, could have caused him to lose control.
A satellite view shows a four lane roadway with bike lanes on either side; there’s no word on which direction he was riding.
Anyone with information is urged to call Accident Investigators Josh Page at 714-536-5670 or Bob Barr at 714-536-5663.
This is the second bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Orange County. And it’s the fourth bicycling fatality in Huntington Beach in just the last eight months.
Update: An Orange County rider sent this in response to the Register article.
Curiously, the article states that the road was “free of hazards” and that no vehicles were involved. Both are suspicious statements. First, on Saturday morning, that’s an incredibly busy stretch of road. It crosses Beach Blvd (a stroad that Caltrans won’t let the city put bike lanes on). It’s right by the Walmart driveway, and westbound leads directly to Central Park, whose sports fields are slamming busy on Saturday mornings. Also, the westbound stretch borders the cemetery, so it’s kind of treated like a speedway, and a lot of motorists punch the gas when they see the pesky yellow light of the signalized “intersection” of the Walmart driveway, which can lead to a lengthy red light in letting a backed-up line of motorists exit the parking lot. As far as the “free of hazards” claim, DOUBTS. Hunny’s pretty good at maintaining a street sweeping schedule, but there’s been so much grit & gravel & puddles & leaves & mud & fronds & trash & hidden potholes thanks to the storms lately, it’s been harrowing riding pretty much everywhere. Not to mention, I really have no confidence in the ability of HBPD’s Major Incident Reconstruction Team to assess what counts as “hazards” to a bicyclist.
Update 2: According to the LA Times, he was wearing a helmet. That raises more questions, since it suggests that either the helmet failed, or the force of the impact somehow exceeded the design capacity of the helmet.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Richard Schultz and his loved ones.