More bad news for Bike to Work Day.
I’ve been informed that a member of the Palos Verdes Bicycle Club has died after an apparent hit-and-run Wednesday morning.
According to club member Jim Lyle, John Bacon had just finished relaxing with a small group of club members at Meyer’s Bakery in the Peninsula Center following a morning ride, and left to ride down the hill to his home.
Sadly, he never got there.
Lyle says Bacon’s daughter told him he was found by another cyclist lying in the street on the 1100 block of Granvia Altamira in Palos Verdes Estates around 9:45 am. He was taken a local hospital, where he passed away today.
However, the Daily Breeze reports police are looking for the driver of a white pickup who was seen on security camera following his bike, though they do not identify Bacon by name.
The driver reportedly stopped after the rider went down and attempted to flag down other people in the area, asking them to call 911, then got back in his truck and drove away.
The Breeze says police will not say whether the truck definitely hit his bike, but want to talk to any occupants to determine what happened.
The truck is described as a white, late 1990s to early 2000s Ford F-150, driven by a heavyset white man, around six feet tall and wearing a blue shirt.
According to Lyle, Bacon was a retired engineer in his late 60s; he describes him as a safe rider who always obeyed stop signs.
I’m told his family is aware of his death and has gathered with friends to mourn.
Anyone with information is urged to call Sgt. Luke Hellinga at 310-378-4211.
This is the 38th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 14th in Los Angeles County. It’s third bicycling fatality in the Palos Verdes area this year.
Update: Fox-11 reports Bacon was unconscious when paramedics arrived, and appeared to have suffered a head injury despite his helmet.
Update 2: Larry Altman of the Daily Breeze offers a nice profile of John Bacon, identifying him as 68-year old John William Bacon III of Torrance. The retired father of three was described as a “very gentle soul” and an extremely safety conscious, 100-mile a week cyclist.
Altman also reports police have located the driver in question, but haven’t made an arrest. Or even confirmed that he was struck by a vehicle.
Update 3: According to Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson, a cyclist called the police after spotting what appeared to be the truck in question on Thursday, yet they never bothered to respond to the call; the driver finally left on his own without the police ever coming to check it out.
He also reports that the person who turned himself into the police on Friday did not match the physical description of the driver, and may not have been be the owner of the truck.
And that since Bacon’s death, four cyclists have come forward to report they had previously been buzzed and harassed by the driver of a truck that matched the description of the suspect vehicle.
Which raises the question of whether this may have been an intentional act that went too far. And whether the police are going to investigate it fairly.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for John Bacon and all his family and friends.
Thanks to Jim Lyle and Michael C Barr for the heads-up.