Bicyclist killed in crash after getting doored in Burbank

Sadly, last night’s breaking news has been confirmed.

As we noted earlier, KNBC-4 reported last night that a bike rider had been killed after getting doored at Alameda Avenue and Mariposa Street in Burbank.

Unfortunately, however, they failed to post the story online.

Now the Burbank Leader has confirmed that 53-year old Burbank resident Lenny Trinh died after the driver of a parked car opened door as Trinh rode in a bike lane on Alameda, knocking him off his bike and into the path of an oncoming pickup.

Trinh was taken to a nearby hospital where he died of his injuries.

The paper places the time of the crash at around 5 pm Monday, between Mariposa Street and Griffith Park Drive.

For a change, both drivers remained at the scene.

According to California law, the driver is always at fault in a dooring, as long as the victim is riding legally in the direction of traffic.

CVC 22517 clearly requires drivers to check for traffic before opening a car door and ensure that it does not interfere with traffic.

And yes, bike riders are considered traffic, in or out of a bike lane.

While dooring is one of the most common types of bicycle crashes, deaths are rare, averaging less than one per year in the entire SoCal region.

And they can be eliminated entirely if drivers are trained to use the Dutch Reach, opening the car door with their right hand so it forces them to look left over their shoulder.

This is at least the 18th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in LA County; it’s also the fifth bicycling fatality in the LA area in just the past two weeks.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Lenny Trinh and all his family and loved ones.

17 comments

  1. doug moore says:

    I’ve been doored twice. Very lucky both times.

    First time, I had an instant yard-sale in the slow lane. Kind strangers helped get my bike and other stuff on to the side walk. The guy who opened his door never looked at me or said one word until the cops arrived. Later I found out he was a lawyer. I had severe bruising on my right shoulder and collar bone. He was found at fault.

    Second time, the door opened as most of me and bike had passed the ‘business end’ of the door and my rear bike bag actually pushed it back into the driver. No injuries, just a few scratches on the car with some apologies all around.

    I wish things could have been different for Lenny Trinh and offer his family and loved ones much sympathy. God Bless them all.

  2. Vera Valentine says:

    Thank you for posting. I also offer my condolences to the family of Lenny Trinh.

    I work on Alameda (near Olive) and travel this route during lunch to Pavilions near where the incident took place. I am based in Hollywood, and feel more comfortable riding there than in Burbank because of the speeds of traffic particularly on Alameda, and Magnolia as well as the confrontations I’ve had with drivers on those roads. I don’t feel the city of Burbank is doing enough to educate drivers or to enforce speed limits.

    I heard of the accident from a colleague traveling home this direction yesterday and came across a small “news” link posted on the city web site here http://www.burbankca.gov/?page=503

    • BikingInBmore says:

      Not an accident. Totally avoidable. Should be treated as an assault.

      • Vera Valentine says:

        Agreed. Colleague that brought it up thought it was an accident at the time, before we learned it involved a cyclist based on all the police cars etc. Don’t know about assault, but I would definitely like to know more about the driver who didn’t look before dooring someone. And assume the truck was likely flying down Alameda with no time to stop as most cars do on that stretch…

  3. joninsocal says:

    Appalling news and so many in such a short time. I’d just point out that bike lanes in the door zone are an insane design concept and a pretty useless gesture. There is no obligation/requirement to ride in a door zone bike lane as its covered as a hazardous condition exception. Of course the downside of that is drivers see you outside the bike lane and get riled.

  4. WorriedinBurbank says:

    I’m hoping and praying this isn’t the gentle soul I became acquainted with at the Whitnall Highway dirt track. He rides his bike to the park and then runs on the track. If anyone knows whether or not this is that Lenny, please leave a comment here alerting me to that fact. Thank you.

  5. Erick De Leon says:

    He was a Burbank mail man he was a great man father and a coworker as well as a husband too. I will miss you and hope to see you one day. I pray for you and you kids and wife.

  6. shaun wallace says:

    So sorry to read about this, but PLEASE stop pushing the “Dutch Reach” as the solution to the problem,… it’s NEVER going to happen. In fact we’ll never even get 1% of drivers to do so, yet even if 99% of drivers miraculously did it it would still be risky to ride down a line of parked cars.
    Yes the parked car driver was at fault, no doubt, but cyclists can avoid this by staying away from parked cars. Spreading THAT message is where our efforts should be. I realize where there are bike lanes up against a row of cars it can be tricky, but there are ways to almost totally avoid that most dangerous part of the road. Not only does staying out avoid doorings, but it also increases riders’ visibility and thus cuts down on other types of incidences such as cars pulling out, or right hooks.

    • Ethel Mertz says:

      Well Shaun, if I’m on a bike and you inadvertetnly open your door, and I hit it, you door is going to come off too! Fair enough, burgerking.

    • Schubert John says:

      Amen, Shaun. Bike lane designers have had 45 years to try to make the door zone safe. They never have and they never will.
      Use the travel lane. There! Problem solved!

  7. Frank says:

    Biggest catch with the Dutch reach is that a passenger in a four door vehicle behind the driver won’t think to use it, and they can’t use the mirror either. Passengers both in front and in back exiting a vehicle parked on the left side of a one way street won’t think to use it either.

    The best solution is to not encourage riding in the door zone period. Cities should not install bike lanes in the door zone even with small buffers as they often aren’t enough. Even a startled bicyclist night dart out into the travel lane to avoid an opening door. As far as I’m concerned any Professional Engineer stamping a set of plans that calls for door zone bike lanes is in violation of engineering ethics. Door zone bike lanes also place the bicyclists using them at a greater risk of drive outs, walk outs, right hooks, and left crosses.

    Doorings are also heavily underreported. Unless there is an injury or a death they typically don’t get recorded into crash statistics because they don’t involve a “motor vehicle in transport.”

  8. JJD says:

    Our prayers go up for the family and friends of Mr. Trinh.

  9. A. Bauer says:

    Got doored recently by a neighbor. Luckily I was not going very fast so no harm no foul. He said “I did not see you”, I said “you did not look”. The bike ended up on the ground, I did not. First time it has ever happened to me.

  10. BikingInBmore says:

    “And they can be eliminated entirely if drivers are trained to use the Dutch Reach, opening the car door with their right hand so it forces them to look left over their shoulder.”

    Dutch reach is useless. It does nothing at all to force a shoulder check.

    I have experimented with it.

    “And they can be eliminated entirely if cyclists are trained to stay at least 5 feet or 1.5 meters away from parked cars, keeping them away from opening car doors.”

    Fixed it.

  11. X says:

    So nobody has provided an example of a place where this issue has been addressed, which I assume has occurred, so am reluctant to speculate on hypothetical solutions.

    It is an example of quick settlement activity that evades review by juries awarding punitive judgements.

    So we can lobby google etc. to give us a box to check or better always specify a safer route even if it requires batteries to be comparably quick AND safe.

    Maybe a special siren we can run when we want to be spared?

%d bloggers like this: