Archive for Bicycle Safety

Update: 23-year old Newport Beach e-bike rider died after colliding with parked van

A bike rider has died after he was critically injured while riding in Newport Beach Sunday afternoon.

According to the Orange County Register, 23-year old Corona del Mar resident Jonathan Wilson died about an hour after he collided with a parked minivan.

The paper reports the collision occurred around 1:27 PM at 1801 Bayside Drive, while Corona del Mar Today places the location further up the road near the intersection of Bayside and El Paseo Dr.

Matching photos from the scene with a street view suggest he was riding north on Bayside, in between the two locations.

No explanation is given for how or why he hit the van.

Photos accompanying the Register story show a mountain bike lying near the curb, with the back of the van in badly damaged. That suggests Wilson somehow hit it at a high rate of speed, which is surprising given the flat road surface.

Even though the road has sharrows, the impact point on the van is just to the left of the curb. So the question becomes why he was riding so close to the curb, and how he reached a high enough speed to cause so much damage.

And whether he didn’t see the row of parked cars directly ahead of him, or was forced to the right in some way.

Unless a witness turns up, we may never know.

This is the 40th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in Orange County. That compares with 57 in SoCal this time last year, and 12 in the county.

Wilson also the 11th cyclist killed in Newport Beach in the past five years, and second to die in a solo crash in the city in just the last two weeks.

Update: According to the Newport Beach Police Department, Wilson was riding an electric bike, would could explain the force of impact evident from the damage to the minivan. 

He was initially found conscious and responsive, while suffering from numerous lacerations. 

And no, he was not wearing a helmet.

Update 2: Corona del Mar Today cites a police spokesperson as saying neither drugs or alcohol appeared to be a factor, and it did not appear that Wilson was forced into the van by another vehicle.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jonathan Wilson and all his loved ones.

 

Update: 36 year old bike rider killed in Newport Coast

Sadly, another bike rider has died days after she was injured, in a case that hasn’t made the news.

According to the Orange County Coroner’s office, 36-year old Monterey Park resident Yeny Vergara was injured when she came off her bike around midnight last Wednesday, at 35 Crystal Cove in Newport Coast.

Vergara OC Coroner

She died just after noon on Saturday; no cause of death is given.

A satellite view of the location shows a narrow roadway turning to a dirt road as it leads to the beach. However, it’s possible that she was riding on PCH or bike path next to it, and the coroner simply gave the closest street address.

Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time.

The age and city of residence match a 36-year old master’s racer who has competed in several Southern California races this year. However, that is unconfirmed at this time, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

This is the 39th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Orange County.

Update: A response from the Newport Beach Police Department indicates her fall occurred on state property on the trails deep within the Crystal Cove State Park near the 73 Freeway. The NB Fire Department responded to the call as the closest agency; police never responded since it was reported as strictly a medical call. 

No word on whether she fell, had a medical issue, or collided with another rider, although the latter would seem unlikely if her injury occurred at the late night hour indicated by the coroner. 

Update 2: The Orange County Register reports that Vergara was apparently injured in a fall while riding on the Elevator Trail around 3:45 pm on the 22nd, rather than midnight as the coroner’s report listed. 

She was found lying unconscious on the trail, suffering from an obvious head wound despite wearing a helmet.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Yeny Vergara and all her family.

Thanks to Bill Sellin and Lois for the heads-up.

 

Anaheim Hills bike rider died from solo fall last year; his family makes moving video calling for helmet use

Too often, when a bike rider is seriously injured, it never makes the news. Especially if there’s not a car involved.

Even if it does, there’s seldom any word on what happens after that; no one other than family and friends usually know if the victim bounces back or suffers permanent injuries, or worse.

That’s what happened last year in Anaheim Hills, when bike rider died a month after he was injured in a solo fall.

According to the Orange County Register, 25-year old Gary Lofgren died in an Orange County hospital last October after falling while riding to a park to play football with friends.

A heartbreaking Facebook page created by his sister adds more information.

Lofgren was just two blocks from his home when he fell while riding downhill on September 20th. A neighbor heard him crash as he fell into some trash cans, and ran out to see him try to stand before collapsing hard onto the street.

That was 19 years to the day after his father died.

He was hospitalized with multiple brain bleeds as well as a fracture. And died exactly one month later, apparently without regaining consciousness, a few days after he was taken off life support.

And no, he was not wearing a helmet.

With the help of two friends, his family made a very moving video showing just how much they have lost. And calling for cyclists to wear helmets to keep others from suffering the same fate.

If you’ve been reading this site for awhile, you may know that I never ride without a helmet. But I am also aware of their limitations.

Bike helmets aren’t designed to protect against high speed collisions, where the force of impact can exceed their design capacity. They aren’t a substitute for riding safely, and should be seen as the last line of defense when all else fails.

But relatively slow speed falls like this are exactly what they are designed for.

A bike helmet is a cheap form of insurance against traumatic brain injury, as I know all too well. In 30 plus years of riding, I have only needed my helmet once; in that case, it probably saved my life.

Whether or not to wear one is your choice, as it should be. But like losing weight or giving up smoking, it’s something you do as much for those you’d leave behind, as much as you do for your own benefit.

As this video drives home quietly, and powerfully.

This raises the number of bicycling fatalities in Southern California last year to 86, with 20 in Orange County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Gary Lofgren and all his loved ones.

Morning Links: Good news on Mt. Hollywood Dr; Calabasas driver busted for DUI after injuring two cyclists

Good news regarding Mt. Hollywood Drive at the Griffith Park Advisory Board meeting Thursday night, as reader dangerd explains.

The board motion was passed for currently closed roads to remain closed to private cars as per the vision plan for Griffith Park.

Also Superintendent of Recreation and Parks Operations Joe Salaices stated officially to the board that the Department recommends keeping Mount Hollywood Drive closed also.

They also discussed but did not motion that they would like to find a way to have a shuttle service that would loop around the park on the open roads to places such as the zoo, observatory, Fernwood and Travel Town and possibly out to the local subway stations if they could in order to help mitigate traffic in the park (not on the closed roads). As most of the people visiting are tourists with a majority of them from outside the USA (Europeans, this was found out in the “study” when the road was opened) and as such are used to public transportation so they would be receptive to this kind of service.

Some board members mentioned also trying to guide the tourists to view the sign from the observatory instead of guiding them up the closed roads and trails as the observatory is where there are bathroom facilities etc.

Hopefully the City Council will take their recommendations.

Speaking of the City Council, or ex to be exact, Tom LaBonge stopped by and talked on end about a million of his ideas about the park but did state also that he was in favor of keeping the road closed also.

The Board is definitely headed in the right direction as far as the roads and traffic mitigation is concerned and should be commended for their work to make the park a better place with less traffic.

………

Two cyclists were seriously injured when they were hit by a car on Mulholland Highway in Calabasas Thursday evening. The collision occurred just after 7 pm at the intersection with Old Topanga Canyon Road.

A street view shows bike lanes on Mulholland, with a 45 mph speed limit.

In a report that doesn’t appear to be online as of this writing, KNBC-4 reports that at least one of the victims became trapped under the car, and had to be extricated by emergency personnel.

The driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Update: Chris Willig sends word that the collision may have occurred southwest of Old Topanga Canyon, where there are no bike lanes.

image

………

Romain Bardet soloed to victory in Thursday’s 18th stage of the Tour de France, as Chris Froome continues to cruise in the yellow jersey. Froome admits his rivals’ tactics are pushing him to the limit, even if he doesn’t seem to be breaking a sweat. Then again, maybe he did.

Teejay van Garderen says the hardest part of withdrawing from the Tour was looking his teammates in the eyes. One day after Teejay dropped out, fellow American Andrew Talansky leapt up to 12th; he has two more days in the Alps to make up over 16 minutes. It could happen, right?

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay looks at the seemingly endless rumors of motor doping, which Greg LeMond insists is already happening. Although that doesn’t include getting a tow from a support vehicle, even if Jakob Fuglsang did just get clipped by an official motorcycle.

And Ireland’s Nicholas Roche says pro cycling is cleaner than in Lance’s day. Which isn’t really saying much, is it? Most drug dens are cleaner than cycling used to be.

………

Local

Metro decides that bikeshare interoperability is kind of important after all, but doesn’t commit to actually doing anything about it.

The inconvenience caused by tearing down the current 6th Street Viaduct may be worth it, as the replacement promises to have a protected bike lane.

In what reads like a Greek tragedy, Better Bike says say goodbye to bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd.

That stinky, often ugly flood control basin just off Washington Blvd by the bike path in Marina del Rey will finally get a much needed beautification makeover, including separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians.

The LA Times says you can fend off dementia by exercising, including riding your bike. After all, that same advice worked so well in helping me avoid diabetes, right?

Celebrate the first of LA’s planned Great Streets on the newly bicycle-friendly Reseda Blvd next Thursday.

 

State

San Diego has the nation’s eighth worst roads. Not surprisingly, LA streets are number two — in more ways than one.

BikeSD invites you on a conversationally paced 22-mile ride through San Diego’s Uptown and beach communities on the 1st.

Sometimes, you just can’t win. A Coronado senior citizen complains about bikes on the boardwalk, in the street, at the coffee shop and in the restrooms, as well as on bikeways that haven’t even been built yet.

A popular San Francisco bike route could get traffic circles instead of stop signs to calm motor vehicles without squeezing out bike riders.

 

National

The US Senate begins debate on the new transportation bill, which contains some good news for bike riders. The problem will be getting it past the rabidly anti-bike members of the House.

A new study says police crash report templates should be improved to collect better information from bicycle crashes. Something many of us have been long been advocating.

A writer for Slate says wait a minute, crashes really are accidents if they’re just the result of a momentary lapse in judgment. Sure, let’s go with that. No point in expecting people to actually pay attention in those big, dangerous machines.

An Oregon cyclist is suing the overly courteous driver who waived another motorist through to make a turn, directly into her bike.

A bike-riding Boise four-year old helps save a neighborhood home from fire.

The Department of DIY strikes again, as Michigan bike riders raise enough money to pay for their own four-foot wide bike lane.

New Jersey bicyclists call for a crackdown on double parking in bike lanes. Then again, you could substitute any other state in the Union and write the same story.

Queens NY is giving the Boulevard of Death a bike-friendly makeover.

It’s not always the pedestrians who get hurt in bike collisions; a New York salmon cyclist is critically injured when a man stepped into the street in front of him.

City Lab looks at what it’s really like to haul tourists around DC in a pedicab, while a DC writer says put the damn phone down when you ride.

 

International

I just can’t help being a fan of the Wheelies foldout tricycle mobile coffee bars, and evidently, I’m not alone; their latest version was 90% funded on Indiegogo after just 11 hours.

Caught on video: A Winnipeg cycling instructor gets Jerry Browned* by a honking bus driver passing on the wrong side.

In the last seven years, over half of all London bicycling deaths have involved large trucks; many, if not most, of those victims have been women. Meanwhile, hit-and-run is more than just an LA problem, as over 1000 London cyclists have been injured and two killed by fleeing drivers in just the last year alone.

Forget texting. One in five British drivers take selfies behind the wheel.

An Irish bike rider is fined for crashing his bike into the side of a car driven by his 75-year old parish priest. After all, a man of God couldn’t possibly have cut off the sidewalk-riding cyclist in the fog. Although I’d like to know how someone who’s just 23 could manage to rack up 30 previous traffic convictions.

Munich plans a network of 14 two-way, separated bike autobahns. Wouldn’t that be a radbahn?

 

Finally…

At least she managed to make it all the way across the country before her bike was stolen. If you’re going to bike under the influence, try not to ride into the side of a minivan; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

And if you have to take a dump in the woods while riding your bike, try not to set the forest on fire.

 

*Passed at an unsafe distance, aka being buzzed. Named in honor of the California governor who twice vetoed safe passing legislation before finally signing a weakened three-foot passing law.

 

San Diego-area bike rider killed when minivan driver drifts into bike lane

Bad news from San Diego’s North County, as a 46-year old man was killed while riding in Carlsbad Wednesday evening.

According to the San Diego County Coroner’s office, Eric Steven Glasnapp was riding in a marked bike lane on College Blvd roughly one mile north of Palomar Airport Road at 6:32 pm when a minivan drifted into the lane and hit him from behind.

Despite the efforts of paramedics, he was pronounced dead at the scene just nine minutes later.

No drug or alcohol use was suspected.

And yes, Glasnapp was wearing a helmet; it clearly wasn’t enough to make a difference. A street view shows a virtual freeway with a 50 mph speed limit; a collision at that speed is not likely to be survivable, with or without a helmet.

Sadly, he leaves a wife behind.

This is the 38th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh in San Diego County; it’s also at least the fourth cycling death in Carlsbad since 2010. That compares to 56 in SoCal this time last year, and four in the county.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Eric Steven Glasnapp and all his loved ones.

Morning Links: Scofflaw drivers and bike riders break laws at the same rate; too much news from Tour de France

The next time someone complains about law-breaking cyclists, show them this.

Because a new study from the University of Colorado says bike riders and motor vehicle operators admit to breaking the law at similar rates — eight to nine percent for drivers, and seven to eight percent for bicyclists. And usually for the same reasons.

But there’s one big difference.

Drivers — and pedestrians — will go through a red light to save time, while cyclists do it for perceived safety. By going through the light, bike riders say they can get a head start on traffic while feeling like they’re more visible to others on the road.

Which is definitely true, since every driver seems to see the riders who go through lights and stop signs, while those who stop seem to be invisible.

………

Way too much news from the Tour de France today.

MTN-Qhubeka’s Steve Cummings takes stage 14 of the Tour de France, the first TdF win by an African-based team. And they do it on Mandela Day, no less.

Andre Greipel outsprinted the pack to win Sunday’s stage 15 of the Tour de France; Mark Cavendish claimed stomach problems after getting dropped.

Once again, Chris Froome is on the defensive against unproven accusations of cheating, although he insists cycling is past its Wild West doping era.

Not everyone seems to buy that, though, as Froome’s yellow jersey got a little yellower when an angry “fan” threw urine in his face, while teammate Richie Porte got a punch in the ribs. Meanwhile Cycling Weekly asks if the French really hate Froome. Although I’d say a splash of piss in the face would seem to be a pretty good indication.

Then again, nothing has really changed, has it?

Not all the unruly behavior comes from the fans, as Tinkoff-Saxo sport director Sean Yates got grounded after a team mechanic heaved a water bottle at a TV cameraman who allegedly interfered with Peter Sagan’s bike change. Although it doesn’t really look like interference from this angle.

French rider Jean-Christophe Péraud won the respect of the peloton by not just finishing Friday’s stage with horrific road rash after crashing hard, but making the start line the next day, as well.

And Bicycling explains the tactics of a mass sprint to the finish.

………

Local

Local officials join with congressional leaders in Santa Monica to call for more transportation spending.

Hermosa Beach hopes bikeways can help it go carbon neutral.

Victoria’s Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio takes her kids out for a training wheel-assisted bike ride in Brentwood. No idea what it says about me that I didn’t have a clue who she is.

 

State

An Orange County mountain biker was airlifted to the hospital after being found semi-conscious next to a steep trail at the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.

Runners aren’t safe in bike lanes either; two joggers running in a Poway bike lane suffered serious head injuries when a driver fell asleep behind the wheel.

Friends and family remember BMX legend Scot Breithaupt.

A 54-year old Oxnard bike rider was critically injured when he was hit by a car early Sunday morning; he was reportedly riding without lights and drifted into the right lane, where his was rear-ended by a car. Both stories note he was not wearing a helmet, but no word on whether one could have actually made a difference. Thanks to Anthony Navarro for the heads-up.

A San Jose writer declares a road diet a failure after just three months. By that standard, Walt Disney, the Eiffel Tower and the US space program were failures, too.

Generous Sunnyvale residents have raised over $8,000 to pay the funeral expenses of a 12-year old boy killed while riding his bike on Monday.

 

National

Mohammad Ali famously began boxing after his bike was stolen; evidently, that works to motivate mixed martial arts fighters, too.

A group of Muslim women from various Middle Eastern countries are riding in Iowa’s RAGBRAI to promote equality.

A Niagara bike company specializes in crafting hollow-framed wood bikes weighing less than seven pounds.

A New York rider is in stable condition following a truly bizarre and grisly accident; he struck his head after hitting a pothole, then stumbled and fell onto a fence, impaling himself through the neck.

Police get a lot of bad press these days, but Newark officers are just the latest to pitch in to replace a victim’s stolen bike.

 

International

It seems as though everyone could see a UK cyclist except for the bus driver who killed him. If the driver is shattered, imagine how the victim’s family feels.

Welsh cycling casualties were up 38% in just the last year, possibly due in part to an increase in ridership.

German bike maker Canyon is changing the bike business paradigm by selling its bicycles only on the Internet, for around 600 euros apiece — the equivalent of just $650.

An 83-year old Aussie driver failed two driving tests before his license was finally reinstated; he killed a cyclist just five months later.

A Singapore bike coach says focus on quality components instead of a high-end frame when buying a bike. I’ve always believed just the opposite — buy the best frame you can afford, since you can always upgrade the components.

A Singapore letter writer calls for more consistency in designing bike and pedestrian paths.

 

Finally…

New headlights from Ford could light you up based on your body heat instead of hi-viz. Those high-end racing wheels could be counterfeit.

And national hospitals are overflowing with the victims of bicycling near-misses.

Yes, that last one is hugely tongue-in-cheek.

 

Breaking News: 58-year old bike rider killed in Garden Grove, reportedly ran red light

News is just coming in that a bike rider was killed in Garden Grove this morning.

The Orange County Register reports the 58-year old Victorville resident was riding west on Century Blvd at Euclid Street when he reportedly went through a red light and was struck by a 22-year old woman driving south on Century.

He died after being transported to UCI Medical Center.

The driver remained at the scene; police appear to hold her blameless in the collision.

As always, who was really at fault depends on whether there were any independent witnesses, which the story does not mention.

This is the 38th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Orange County. It’s also the second in OC in just the last two days.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his family.

 

Update: 13-year old bike rider killed in Santa Ana crosswalk

Every traffic death is tragic, but some hit a little harder than others.

Especially when it involves a child riding her bike.

According to multiple sources, a 13-year old girl was killed in a collision with a truck belonging to the Santa Ana Unified School District this morning.

The collision occurred between 7:45 and 7:50 am at the intersection of West Edinger Avenue and South Center Street in Santa Ana, as the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding her bike in the crosswalk.

She suffered major head and chest injuries, and died at the scene, despite the efforts of emergency personnel. The driver was reportedly extremely distraught and remained at the scene to cooperate with investigators.

A report from KTLA-5 says the victim was an eighth grader at Spurgeon Intermediate School, despite the presence of two other schools at that corner. No word on whether she may have been attending summer classes or participating in some other activity at either school.

The station also reports that the truck was making right turn from Center Street onto Edinger when he hit the girl on her bike.

Judging by photos from the scene, as well as a satellite view, it appears the truck was headed south on Center, attempting to turn west onto Edinger. Most likely, the driver was looking left towards oncoming traffic and did not see the girl ride off the sidewalk to his right and into the crosswalk; however there could be other possibilities, as well.

Her bike was still lodged under the truck after the driver stopped some distance from the intersection. Up to 100 people were gathered at the intersection following the crash, according to the Orange County Register, many crying as they sat on the curbs.

This is the 37th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th in Orange County; that compares with 11 in the county this time last year. It’s also the 2nd bicycling death in Santa Ana in the last two months; the other victim was also killed while riding in a crosswalk.

Update: KNBC-4 has identified the victim as Priscilla Vallejo. According to the station, she was not on her way to summer school, and would have entered 8th grade in the fall.

Friends described her as a jokester who was fun to be around. 

Sadly, her mother arrived just after she was pronounced dead. No parent should ever have to see their child like that.

Update 2: The Orange County Register has corrected Vallejo’s age as 13, not 14, as originally reported; she would have turned 14 this Friday.

Update 3: Not surprisingly, the driver won’t be cited or charged in this collision; Santa Ana police say it’s just a tragedy. After all, no driver could be expected to actually look where he’s going before turning right, right?

My deepest prayers and sympathy for Priscilla Vallejo and all her loved ones.

Wednesday night hit-and-run death of Montebello bike rider confirmed

Sadly, we’ve gotten confirmation of another bicycling fatality.

Last night we mentioned unconfirmed reports that a bike rider had been killed in a hit-and-run earlier this week.

Scene of the collision; all photos by Danny Gamboa

Scene of the collision; all photos by Danny Gamboa

Today, the Whittier Daily News reported that 24-year old Steven Garcia was hit by a car around 10:30 pm Wednesday at the intersection of Whittier Blvd and Bluff Road in Montebello.

The driver — or possibly more than one, according to a Gofundme page set up to help raise fund to pay his funeral expenses — fled the scene, leaving him lying severely injured in the street.

He was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he died early Friday morning.

No description was available of the vehicles or drivers involved. And no details on how the collision occurred or who might have been at fault.

According to the paper, he lived in Montebello and worked at a local painting and sandblasting business. The Gofundme page says he was returning home from his job when he was struck.

Ghost bike and memorial for Steven Garcia

Ghost bike and memorial for Steven Garcia

A ghost bike ceremony was held in his honor Saturday night.

This is the 36th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy for Steven Garcia and his family and friends.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

 Steven-Garcia-Crowd

Alleged red light running cyclist killed in Hawthorne collision

A bicyclist has lost his life after allegedly running a red light in Hawthorne Friday evening.

According to the Press-Telegram, 49-year old Los Angeles resident Fernando Gamboa was struck by a car while riding on Imperial Highway east of Sundale Avenue, in the shadow of the 105 Freeway, around 6:58 pm Friday.

The CHP reports he was riding against the light when he rode out in front of a 2015 Camaro, and was thrown 20 feet through the air. He was pronounced dead at the scene just minutes later.

Sadly, family members somehow arrived on the scene, and were informed of Gamboa’s death.

No one should ever have to see a loved one like that, or live with that kind of memory.

Unfortunately, the satellite view of the street is obscured by the highway overhead. However, based on the limited description, it would appear Gamboa was trying to cross the busy street at some point east of Sundale Ave, and was struck by a car that continued through the intersection.

As always, the question is whether independent witnesses saw him crossing against the light, or if the driver is the only surviving witness.

This is 35th confirmed bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th in Los Angeles County. That compares with 53 in SoCal last year, and 20 in the county.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Fernando Gamboa and all his loved ones.

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

%d bloggers like this: