Update: Man killed in rear-end collision in Santa Monica while riding on LA County’s killer highway

Once again, someone has been killed riding a bicycle on PCH.

According to the Daily News, a man in his 20s was riding north on the 200 block of Pacific Coast Highway around 7 pm when he was struck from behind.

A press release from the Santa Monica Police Department places the initial call at 7:03 pm.

The victim died at the scene. He has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin.

No word on whether he was using lights at the time of the crash, which came nearly 45 minutes after sunset.

The driver initially fled the scene, but returned shortly later, which should be considered hit-and-run, but probably won’t be. Police are investigating why the driver failed to stop after the crash.

The person driving, who has not been identified in any way, is not currently suspected of being impaired; no word on whether distraction was involved, or why the driver failed to see someone on a bike directly in front of them.

A street view shows a six-lane highway with a center left turn lane, where drivers frequently exceed the 45 mph speed limit.

Anyone with information on the case was urged to call Investigators Pace or Olson at 310/458-8954; or call the SMPD at 310/458-8491.

At least 13 people have been killed riding bicycles on PCH in Los Angeles County since 2005; eight of those have been killed on the deadly northern section of the highway running through Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Malibu.

This collision occurred roughly across the street from where Erin Galligan was killed while riding home from work in a 2012 hit-and-run; that driver still hasn’t been caught.

This is the 51st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 22nd in Los Angeles County; he’s also the first bike rider to be killed in Santa Monica since Galligan’s death.

Update: The victim has been identified as 23-year old Kazumasa Nozaki

Still no word on what may have led to the crash.

Update 2: 

I received the following email from Carrie Wick, who was one of the first people on the scene after the crash. She reports the driver did not return of his own accord, as the police suggested, and that the police have not been forthcoming about the crash. 

I am contacting you regarding a fatal hit and run incident my friend Kinya Claiborne and I witnessed on PCH Sundaynight where a 23-year-old pedestrian/ bicyclist named Kazumasa Nozaki was struck from the rear and killed by a driver who fled the scene. Perhaps you’re interested in looking into the incident.

Kinya and I were traveling southbound down PCH on October 15 around 7pm, when we noticed debris and a bike in the roadway along with a pedestrian who was laid flat in the east-northbound lane. The victim had significant head trauma and his body was bleeding and distorted. We were the first responders on the scene to provide aid to the victim, who was non-responsive and we called 911 for assistance.

There were several other witnesses including two men who were driving directly behind the driver who struck the pedestrian. They followed the driver, who fled the scene in a white BMW, for 5-10 minutes down PCH honking their horn in an attempt to get the driver to stop. As they were following the driver the witnesses called 911 to report the hit and run, providing the driver’s license plate number and location of the driver. The witnesses took pictures of the car and returned to the scene to provide their statement and evidence in person directly to the police.

There was also a couple on the scene who were driving northbound on PCH and witnessed the bicycle flying in the air when the pedestrian was struck from behind. They also provided their statement to the police on the scene.

There are a lot of inaccuracies being reported. The LAPD/SMPD statement implies the driver fled the scene and returned on his own vs. a hit and run, where the driver immediately fled the scene of a fatal collision. An officer on the scene announced, “We got him”, from the men tracking down the driver and the reporting of the license plate and location to the police.

Also, LAPD/SMPD have not acknowledged any of the witnesses or their statements, including the men who witness the hit and run, tracked down the driver, reported it via 911 and provided a statement to the police on the scene. Authorities are acting like the witnesses and hit and run incident never existed as evident in the press release issued by SMPD on October 16.

It seems as though the LAPD and SMPD have taken a lax approach with completing a thorough investigation and have clearly omitted key facts and witness reports from the fatal hit and run incident. This man does not have a voice any longer and can’t fight for himself, so we will try to on his behalf.

She also reports that the bike was so badly mangled from the impact that it was impossible to tell if he was using lights and reflectors. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Kazumasa Nozaki and his loved ones.

9 comments

  1. JC says:

    I’ve ridden that sections so many times, I stopped in fear for my life.

  2. james says:

    I regularly use PCH between Long Beach and Huntington Beach and the experience is akin to riding on the shoulder of an elevated freeway. Speeds are 50-70mph, but at least I have a shoulder/bike lane in the highest speed areas. This section of PCH looks even worse – it would be like taking the lane on the freeway or riding in the gutter inches from a car going at least 50mph. Unethical, criminally negligent CA traffic engineering once again insures that cyclists and pedestrians are put at unnecessary risk.

  3. Jose says:

    Scenic and higher speed then any nearby northbound makes no sense. The speed limit maybe loved by daily users, but many would support closer slower driving, maybe take out all grade level intersections, so few vehicles need to get closer to water, the idea of a highway being in way of parking lot makes no sense.

    The street view has a drivers face unrecognised by google as it is from above the roofless steering wheel. She is twirling her hair, talking to (copywritng of sphere you linked?) passenger also sharply lit,

    This stretch of beach is easally memorised but I DO NOT RECALL the ghost bike for the waitress who lived in Venice. I walked it I hope, my memory of biking does not include the road, I do recall the beachpath closed much later in evening if at all. (There was no pedestrian access to beach club with the name heard so often as underwriter to pbs etc. That I could get to that day)

    For our safety it should be illegal to share the pch where an ocean safer path is near enough or everyone needs much more of a reminder that over last decade and a half once every 7 years on average a person not a pedestrian or in a car leaves us most brutally.

    The time of colision could of been when not all lanes are needed by cars. When under 2 3rds of peak demand exists the entire slowest lane should be 20mph or more carefullly taken.

    The several mile closure that on anyday has google adivse us to take broadway and 7th instead preceded a car flipping and flaming as reported in Malibu today …
    “First … some sort of serious crash closed the road towards Malibu in the 9 pm hour.

    One person may have been killed … but we don’t have details yet.

    Then … at 2:45 in the morning… someone flipped their car in the curve in the tunnel … it caught fire.

    The driver escaped …. the McClure Tunnel in Santa Monica was reopened at about 4:30.”

    The car burning, the “person”, a dozen hours more later only known as possibly killed… if not for closure not at all known. Had they kept it closed overnight the car would not of burned, not in the tunnel, but then he would not of gotten mentioned as surivable at all perhaps… so a missed ++.

    If you want zero deaths just mandate it close a week anytime it kills. Not complicated.

    • BV says:

      @jose. please tell me you went to school in another country. all three of your entries are absolute gibberish. i have a headache now. 2 words: grammar and syntax.

      • bikinginla says:

        I don’t have many rules rules for commenting on here, but one of the few is avoiding personal attacks. Let’s keep the discussion on the content of the comments, not how they’re made or the person making them.

        And note to everyone: Let’s remember that someone died in this crash, and try to show respect for the victim.

  4. Alvo says:

    “Unethical, criminally negligent CA traffic engineering once again insures that cyclists and pedestrians are put at unnecessary risk”

    There is a dedicated/protected/car-free bike path that parallels the PCH for several miles along this entire dangerous stretch of highway, probably not more than 100 yards west of where this horrific crash happened. Nothing that i’m aware in this area is engineered to steer bikes onto the highway there. It is all engineered to steer bikes and pedestrians toward the bike path and beach. Why in the world would anyone ride a bike on the actual highway through this area?

    • Jose says:

      Alvo your question was answered in 2012, but instead of ‘tolerating’ indecent exposure etc. by others routinely this past week we now take knowing risks for cause.

      Both need to be safe. The 7pm beach path users may include unsafe to pass at full biking speed users. It is dark, recreational.

      The darkness was awsome when i road it. It gives you both anxiety and joy.

      The victim can’t defend himself so more of us who choose to risk need to explain our reasons. Endangering drivers choose to risk our nobly biking lives, it is more evil amd needless the way they do that.

      Besides insufficient light, many reasons including car hating justify being on pch. Not only was it legal, but it was NOT suicidal, nor more so then proper hungerstriking is. We want change, we want to survive to a safer better world. I give the deceased the benefit of ignorance on my part, assume he had a reason to take risk.

      The driver who is not prepared to stop after killing someone is not prepared to drive. His hitting like his leaving however briefly was bad, worse then biking pch for sure.

      To take such risks, buy life insurance, even if not subsidised like that we give military recruits, tolerate “contract marriages” on CL for.

      The line between courage and folly blurs unless studied hard.

      For the turtles, for climate change, one mans lost life can be a great gift. Or you can blame him. Shame us.

      Destroy glibbly further our world his suffering might otherwise protect.

      There is a war for our future being fought. Some avoid driving to help. Some dont avoid risk doing that. It is all good, anyway evil is resisted rocks.

      If this bike was grossly unsafe ,without reflectors even, that I assume would of beem reported. Traffic would of been unimpeded by 8pm, his blood would of been swept up.

      He did not jump to his death. He took a risk many take, one it maybe hard to respect, to forgive, but we should.

      If it was legal it was not only his fault he died.

      “Slow this road down! ” The Queen Mary maybe still a ship parked on a long beach for decades, but pch in sm is no highway, the legality of bikes proves that. Yet we get killed and not enough changes.

      We can mandate daytime running lights. Demanding any commutors take a slowing detour when it is the cars who are detouring just to go faster… hypocrisy!

  5. Jose says:

    The word “riding” is redundant and offensive to me as used by us to describe how he was killed not riding the pch in a car, but operating, using, even equiped with a bike, one he probably owned, debt free.

    The pch is ridden to much by drivers in cars. Once it may have been safe to save cost of parking, cruise for wear and tear including in blood now though not just fuel.

    Maybe sunset parking should be free instead of prime ticket time.

    The coastal pch is just a bad mixture of local and not, I have seen the bus on foot on it in Malibu, it is so bizarre, the trailer parks, the speed, the waves, the linen napkins left in sand by diners who tip c notes to valet to dine before an as if private ocean NFL brightly lit.

    I maybe wrong but worse then quaint the pch seems.

    You reported the construvtion before my SM years began. Glancing at what you wrote then and maybe i saw it then, it seems the pch on Silicon beach shut during many rush hours?

    To maintain a permanent drastic speed reduction all we need to do is detour this traffic.

    Give cars one gawking or to beach parking etc. lane only.

    The cops share a number for us to call if witnesses, but are powerless to act on what we know.

    My math was so wrong about 2012..why i added a decade then tried to spin it away mystifies me.

    PCH roulette trauma.

    The median wall has one purpose. Stopping pedestrians from in crossing making it safe to be passed by cars.

    To complete street remove the concrete the huge crumple protects drunk drivers from.

    It forces high speeds.

    If not ticketed even at 7pm this road would flow so slow.

    If the cops did not whip us into whizzing by, enough of us would take the right lane. We have to crowd it in cars first, slow.

    A daily right lane slow down would solve this.

    A turning from right lane only or bike only policy.

    How can cars share a lane at multiples of our speed that is not even straight? They can’t even get threw a tunnel alone.

    Worse then death comments in 2012 are shocking.

    To be hit from behind is the worst. The women who want to risk it need to see the accident pictures from yesterday.

    I would rather be raped by ten stinking campers then so be killed.

    If you get cited for driving too slow, i think volunteers will be found to appear in court, pay your fines.

    The miniority can slow this road by just using less gas.

    1% can slow it to 20 with ease.

    Cars are good for being pumped from behind.

    Get your airbags free. Save lives, cruise the pch to stop the madness.

    Like the BMW commercials note, this man died because nobody slowed down, likely dozens or hundreds of deathly selfishselfish drivers passed him unsafely in not blocking the killing driver from bumping him off.

    When you see a bike slow down, dont pass, not if your on the pch in SM! In five minutes your duty is up.

    Give the bike five minutes of safety I say, be that hero.

    No way you can be fined if you refuse to pass for this valiant reason. Put your blinkers on. Give the bike space, but not dnough for some other driver to pull in front of you and slaughter them.

    Watch the real videos of us being killed to have the courage.

  6. JD says:

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

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