Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

73-year old handcyclist killed in Palm Desert collision on Monday; first SoCal bicycling death this year

A bike rider from Colorado lost her life riding in Southern California, just five days into the new year.

According to the Desert Sun, 73-year old Rose Peters of Durango CO was hit by a car in Palm Desert this past Monday, and died after being taken to a local hospital.

The collision occurred around 11:30 am at the intersection of Mesa View and Highway 74. There’s no word on who may have been responsible, though the paper says drug or alcohol use is not believed to be a factor.

Her hometown Durango Herald adds more information, reporting that she was hit in a left cross when the driver made a left turn directly into her bike, striking it on the side. She suffered extensive injuries, dying about an hour later.

Tragically, Peters’ husband, who was waiting for her further down the road, was unaware of her death until several hours later; according to the Durango Herald, he got the news after calling several area hospitals to learn her condition.

The couple had been married for over 50 years, and had often ridden together on tours such as the Ride the Rockies and the Bicycle Tour of Colorado, as well as riding across the country a few years back.

She was a volunteer with Incight, an organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities reach their full potential. The couple was spending the winter in the area, living in a mobile home.

The wreck is still under investigation. Anyone with information is urged to contact Palm Desert Police Deputy Chris Lauer at 760/836-1600; you can also call anonymously at 760/341-7, re: incident #T150050062.

This is the first bicycling fatality in Southern California this year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Rose Peters and all her loved ones.

Thanks to Zak and new BikinginLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the heads-up. 

 

Update: The holiday bloodbath continues — teenage bike rider killed in Rialto

Word is just coming in that a young bike rider was killed in a Rialto collision this evening, the fourth SoCal cyclist to die in the last three days.

According to the Press-Enterprise, the collision occurred around 5:40 Monday evening near the intersection of Riverside Avenue and South Street; police found the victim on the sidewalk in front of 335 S. Riverside Ave.

He was unresponsive and suffering from major injuries when police arrived, and died after being taken to a local hospital.

The paper identifies the victim only as a juvenile Hispanic male; other sources that aren’t available online yet give his age as 13.

The paper reports the driver remained on the scene and is cooperating with investigators; alcohol is not believed to be a factor. Which could mean that the driver was sober, or had not consumed enough to be intoxicated.

No other information is available at this time, and no word on how the collision occurred.

This is the 85th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th in San Bernardino County. It’s also the first cycling death in Rialto in the last four years.

And hopefully the last.

Update: The victim has been identified as 16-year old Ryan J. Martinez of Rialto. 

According to the Press-Enterprise, Martinez was riding near his father’s home on a new bike he’d just gotten for Christmas. He was reportedly going the wrong way on Riverside when he was hit head-on by a northbound car. 

He died one day after his mother’s birthday. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the Ryan Martinez and his family and friends.

36-year old bike rider killed in Fountain Valley collision; third Southern California bike fatality in three days

Then there were three.

After going a full 30 days without a bicycling fatality, three Southern California bike riders have lost their lives in the past three days, as a rider succumbs to injuries suffered in a Fountain Valley collision on Saturday.

According to KTLA-5, 36-year old Westminster resident Vinh Tran was riding south on Brookhurst Street at Heil Ave when he was struck by a Jeep driven by William Joseph Klein of Santa Ana.

Tran was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, where he died earlier today.

He was reportedly riding next to the curb when he was rear-ended by Klein. A street view shows three southbound lanes on Brookhurst, with right turn lane near Heil; it’s possible Klein may have been attempting to make a right turn when he ran into Tran.

Then again, it’s also possible Klein may not have been in control of his vehicle, since he was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of a prescription drug. He was taken into custody on Saturday on suspicion of felony DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter, and is being held on $100,000 bond.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Fountain Valley Police Department at 714-593-4484.

This is the 84th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 19th in Orange County; that compares with 12 in the county last year. It’s also the second cycling death to occur on Brookhurst in Fountain Valley in the last three years, just 2.6 miles apart.

My deeper sympathy and prayers for Vinh Tran and all his loved ones.

81-year old cyclist killed in San Bernardino rear-end collision

After going nearly a full month without a bicycling fatality anywhere in Southern California, we now have two deaths just days apart in the Inland Empire.

According to the San Bernardino Sun, 81-year old San Bernardino resident William Francis Easley, a well-known business owner, philanthropist and political leader was killed while riding his bike early this morning.

Easley was riding with another cyclist just after six am when he was struck by a car on the 1000 block of E. Lynwood Ave. His riding partner, a local physician, immediately began CPR, but Easley died after being transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center.

The paper reports both riders were using rear flashers and reflectors in the early pre-dawn hour, and that Easley was wearing a helmet; however, it does not note whether he suffered a head injury.

More details come from the Riverside Press-Enterprise, which clarifies that the riders were struck from behind while headed west in the right lane on Lynwood. A satellite view shows an extremely wide right lane; however, it’s likely there were cars parked along the curb at that hour, which could have forced the riders into the traffic lane to void the door zone.

The unlicensed driver remained at the scene and reportedly cooperated with investigators.

Easley was an experienced rider, according to the Sun, and would regularly ride with a small group of cyclists.

He had started his career as an accountant, and had gone to own a chain of business interior companies, as well becoming involved in restaurants and real estate, and had been active in local politics.

His death comes just two days after another rider lost his life in Riverside; prior to that, it had been a full month since the last fatal bicycling collision in Southern California.

This is the 83rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in San Bernardino County; he is also the sixth bike rider to lose his life in the city of San Bernardino in just the last three years.

My deepest sympathy and prayers to William Easley and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Mark Friis, Executive Director of the Inland Empire Biking Alliance for the heads-up.

 

Riverside bike rider killed in sideswipe collision; 1st cycling fatality this month

It couldn’t last.

For the first 26 days of this month, there hadn’t been a single bicycling fatality anywhere in Southern California. It looked, for a time, like we might actually finish the year without another rider losing his life

Sadly, that ended today.

According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, 68-year old Israel Cerda Contreras was riding east in the right lane of Central Avenue east of the 91 Freeway just after noon today.

Witnesses told police that he began weaving as he struggled to ride uphill. As he did, he reportedly drifted into the far left lane on the six lane street, and was clipped from behind by a car traveling in the same direction.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver stopped, and was not suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

To make matters worse, Mark Friis reports the collision occurred in the same spot where David Mendez lost his life earlier this year. Mendez was the first bike rider killed this year; with luck, Contreras will be the last.

This is the 82nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th in Riverside County.

Let’s hope we can finish the year without another one.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Israel Contreras and all his family.

Morning Links: US traffic deaths are down, while bike fatalities go up; more groups spread holiday bike cheer

According to the latest stats from the NHTSA, overall traffic deaths in the US are down slightly, while bicycling fatalities are the only category that went up in 2013.

That increase, to 743 cycling fatalities — up from 726 the year before — is most likely due to increased ridership.

Which doesn’t make it acceptable.

……..

‘Tis the season.

Redlands police donate 23 bikes to help veterans in the Inland Empire. The Santa Barbara Bike Coalition gives shiny new bikes to 24 kids; thanks to Megan Lynch for the link. A Sonoma County businessman donates 150 bikes to kids in need. A San Jose bike charity donates 2,700 bicycles to local kids. Oregon elementary school kids get 25 new bikes.

Why do these stories matter?

Because this is the next generation of bike riders. And every kid — or vet, for that matter — deserves the chance to ride a bike, regardless of whether they can afford one.

……..

Local

Streeetsblog wants your vote for the annual Streetsie Awards for Elected Official and Civil Servant of the year; I’m proud to have a couple of those on my mantle. Not that I actually have a mantle, but still.

A bike riding 24-year old mother fights for safer spaces for her daughter.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a free bike valet at the city’s big party at Downtown’s Grand Park. About time LA did the New Year right.

 

State

A Newport Beach bike rider suffers minor injuries in a right hook.

The wrong-way and allegedly intoxicated San Diego driver who hit a group of cyclists on Fiesta Island, leaving one paralyzed from the waist down, is found competent to stand trial. Although her lawyer successfully argues for a second opinion.

San Diego is sued over a recently installed road diet and bike lane, claiming the city did an inadequate CEQA review; however, California law was recently changed to exempt bike lanes from environmental review.

A bike rider suffers moderate injuries in a Desert Hot Springs collision after he allegedly runs a red light.

A Bakersfield family asks for help after a 46-year old grandfather is killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bike.

The new three-foot passing law gets a thumbs-up from San Jose cyclists; not so much from a local pedestrian.

Evidently, a NorCal driver failed to note the three-foot law, as he whacks a Siskiyou County physician with his right mirror; the victim suffered a broken collarbone.

 

National

Bicycling’s Elly Blue offers an interview with the founder of Black Girls Do Bike.

The editor of an Arizona newspaper reminisces about the places a bike can take you.

The Denver Post questions the $16.5 million cost of the new 18 mile bikeway paralleling a newly rebuilt highway. Funny, but they don’t seem to question what it cost to build the part cars will travel on.

The penultimate stage of next year’s USA Pro Challenge will end in my hometown.

Sadly, a research scientist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory lost his life in a mountain biking fall.

 

International

Now that’s more like it. A diabetic motorist in the UK is sentenced to fifteen months in jail and banned from driving for 20 years — yes, years — for killing a cyclist after he failed to monitor his blood sugar levels.

Caught on video: A Brit bike rider confronts a motorist who nearly hit him after not clearing the ice from his windshield; the driver claimed he could see clearly, but somehow couldn’t see the cyclist.

A British bike rider feels like a pariah when his bike is attacked for taking up space on a train.

Russell Crowe takes the cast of his new movie on 30-mile bike rides to bring more energy to the set.

A Philippine priest rides over 1,100 miles to raise awareness of climate change.

Over 600 bike riders have been busted for drunk bicycling under Taiwan’s new BUI law. And fined the equivalent of a whopping $9 to $18 dollars.

 

Finally…

A bunny gets trapped in the wheel of a mountain bike, and somehow hops away relatively unscathed; and yes, you really do need to see the photo. Former Talking Head David Byrne discusses the joys of bike riding.

And unbelievably, three Dallas cyclists are harassed by a driver who deliberately knocked one off his bike, then got out of his car and started hitting him — and not only do police issue the attacker just a minor ticket for assault, they ticket the victim for taking a beating. Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

……..

Please accept my best wishes for a very merry Christmas. And may this season bring peace and joy and bikes and love to you and all your loved ones.

 Silent-Night

Morning Links: The Times looks at rising bike hit-and-run rates; and the year’s most inspirational video

You already knew hit-and-runs were a problem for cyclists.

But maybe none of us realized just how bad it’s become.

According to the LA Times, overall injury and fatal hit-and-run rates have actually declined since 2000. Except for those involving bike riders, which have increased a whopping 42% since then.

It’s easy to lay blame for the increase on a rising rate of bicycling over the same period, which has grown 61% since the turn of the century, according to a recent report from the League of American Bicyclists. But the fact that overall rates have gone down while bike-involved hit-and-runs have gone up just raises the question of why so many drivers think it’s okay to leave a bike rider bleeding in the street.

Then again, maybe it’s just that a collision with a bike rider is less likely to leave the driver’s car too damaged to flee than a wreck with another motor vehicle.

Regardless of the reason, nothing will change until the law is changed to make the penalties for hit-and-run greater than the potential reward for running away.

And that won’t happen until someone can get it through our out-of-touch governor’s head that hit-and-run is a serious — and deadly — problem.

Especially for those of us who aren’t protected by a couple tons of glass and steel.

………

The Times piece also notes that an overwhelming 80% of all hit-and-runs go unsolved. And only half of the cases that do get solved result in a conviction.

In other words, drivers have a 90% chance of getting away with it if they hit the gas instead of the brake after a collision. No wonder hit-and-run remains at epidemic proportions.

In addition, the story profiles some of the victims of fleeing drivers — at least, the ones still able to tell their own story, including Paul Livingston, whose story was told here last June.

There’s a great interactive map, as well, that drives home the obscene number of bike-involved hit-and-runs every year, and where you need to be on the lookout for fleeing drivers. Including Long Beach, Santa Monica, DTLA, Van Nuys and North Hollywood — in other words, the places where you’re most likely to find people on bikes.

And the paper offers a video interview with Finish the Ride’s Damian Kevitt, who barely survived the gruesome hit-and-run that took his leg.

Then again, it’s not just an LA problem, as a Florida paper asks what kind of driver doesn’t stop after hitting someone.

Or more to point, what kind of pond-sucking scum would even consider it?

………

No surprise, as prosecutors have declined to press charges against the South LA bike rider allegedly beaten by cops while being held down after a brief pursuit.

Police had reportedly ordered Clinton Alford to stop while he was riding his bike on the sidewalk along Avalon Blvd, but he kept going because he says they failed to identify themselves as police officers. Then he ran when someone grabbed his bike from behind, which lead to the alleged beating.

Based on the description of events, though, the police appeared to lack probable cause to make the stop, since sidewalk riding is legal in Los Angeles. Which makes everything that followed, including alleged evidence of drug possession and accusations of resisting arrest, inadmissible in court.

Never mind that filing charges would stand in the way of reaching a settlement with the city over the beating.

………

Unbelievable. A Paso Robles cyclist is dead and her riding partner severely injured because the jerk behind the wheel dropped his effing cell phone and bent down to pick it up. Then had to swerve to avoid the stopped car ahead of him, slamming into the riders in the process.

Never mind that using a hand-held phone while driving is illegal in California.

Or that taking your eyes off the road to pick it up is idiotic.

………

Local

CicLAvia offers a narrative guide to Sunday’s event (pdf) from the real voices of South LA.

An Aussie travel writer takes a 32-mile bike tour of LA in — gasp! — a single day.

West Hills’ Spoke N’ Wheel Bicycles bounces back after a summer fire nearly put it out of business.

An important bike route through the UCLA campus is needlessly blocked by construction. And Porta Potties.

Santa Monica sees a dramatic increase in bicycling since 2000, nearly six times the national growth in cycling. And yes, this story is where I got that stat about the 61% increase in bike riding nationwide.

Riding for a great cause. The Midnight Ridazz annual All City Toy Ride takes place on Friday, December 9th. Thanks to James Hawkes for the link. 

The Eastside Bike Club is hosting a family-friendly Slow ES Cool — Cypress Park Ride to explore some of LA’s and the San Gabriel Valley’s beautiful sites and diverse eateries on Saturday, December 13th.

 

State

Riverside police plan to offer a $10,000 reward in the hit-and-run death of fallen rider D’Andre Sutherland.

A San Bernardino man is the victim of a bike-by shooting; he’ll survive, but may have trouble walking for awhile.

Evidently, they’re just a bunch of old softies, as a group of Hell’s Angels — yes, the notorious motorcycle gang — buy up all the bikes at a Fresno Walmart and donate them for needy kids. And not for the first time.

San Jose prepares to ban all bikes on the sidewalk because of a few overly aggressive riders.

The popular East Bay Bike Party has been cancelled for December due to out-of-control and disrespectful riders.

 

National

Evidently, bad research never dies, as the press continues to report on that highly flawed Governors’ report on bike safety.

Rails to Trails offers 10 great bike movie moments.

Your next GoPro could offer overhead shots, as the company is reportedly developing its own line of drones.

A Maine man admits to fatally running down his bike riding friend while driving drunk, after initially claiming he found him lying in a ditch.

New York City cuts the speed limit in Central Park to reign in all those dangerous bikes.

New York police use faulty, or perhaps made-up, data to justify a crackdown on bike riders.

 

International

A Vancouver writer says motorists must take more responsibility for keeping cyclists and pedestrians safe.

An Ottawa paper goes for major click bait, asking their readers whether an idiot on a bike or a moron behind the wheel is worse. How about the idiot editor who approved the piece?

A new association of the top pro cycling teams plans to bring a little more rationality to the sport.

A London writer offers up five mistakes that cancel out even the best bike lights.

London’s mayor Boris considers holding open streets events in the city after seeing similar events in Jakarta. If he thinks that’s impressive, we should invite him to Sunday’s CicLAvia.

Bike cams are being accepted as evidence in cases against Scottish motorists.

An American man and his 12-year old son tour Amsterdam by bike, including the Red Light District.

Caught on video: A Polish rider participating in a bikejoring competition — racing with dogs pulling her bike — is tackled by, not 10 Lords a Leaping, but a leaping herd of deer.

A Chengdu, China bike rider invents an air purifier that fits in a very big backpack.

 

Finally…

Florida cyclists connect through Facebook to get a man’s $5,000 Cannondale back before he even knew it was stolen. Lance just can’t keep away from the sport, as he admits to motorpacing BMC’s Tejay van Garderen.

And they must make ‘em tough Down Under, as a 13-year old boy rides his bike back home after being bitten by a shark.

………

One quick bonus video: Michael Eisenberg forwards what may be the most inspirational video you’ll see this year, featuring former race car champ and champion paracyclist Alex Zarnardi, who lost both legs in a car racing collision.

Seriously, if he can get back on a bike, so can I.

And so can you.

 

74-year old Laguna Woods bike rider dies following collision two weeks ago; OC bike deaths 50% above last year

More bad news on a weekend dedicated to giving thanks.

Sadly, a 74-year old bike rider has died from injuries he received in a Laguna Woods collision just over two weeks ago.

According to NBC-4, the victim was riding on southbound Moulton Parkway near Santa Maria around 5:57 am on Saturday, November 15th, when he was hit by a 2006 Honda Civic. He was transported to a nearby hospital in grave condition.

Now the Orange County Register reports that Cesar Labastida succumbed to his injuries earlier today.

Both sources report that the driver, who has not been publicly identified, stopped to call 911 and render aid, and that police don’t suspect drugs or alcohol played a role.

No information is available on how the collision occurred or who may have been at fault.

The crash is still under investigation. Anyone with information is urged to call traffic investigators with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at 714-647-7000 or 949-425-1860.

This is the 81st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 18th in Orange County; that compares to 12 for all of last year in the county.

My sympathy and prayers for Cesar Labastida and all his loved ones. 

Thanks to Frank Peters for the heads-up.

Monterey Park cyclist killed in right hook earlier this month

Sometimes it takes awhile for bad news to get around.

Earlier this month, a bike rider was seriously injured in a right hook in Monterey Park. Now I’ve received word that she has died of her injuries.

According to the Pasadena Star-News, the victim, identified as 59-year old Ai-Nei Zhou of Monterey Park, was riding in the crosswalk on Garvey Avenue at Orange Avenue when she was hit by a car turning right onto southbound Orange around 3:30 pm on November 15th.

Zhou was hospitalized with serious injuries; the Cyclist Down Facebook page says she died the following day.

The Star-News reports the driver remained at the scene and cooperated with police.

It’s not clear from the article which direction Zhou was riding. Presumably, she was riding on the sidewalk when she entered the crosswalk; if she going west she should have been easily visible as she rode towards the driver. However, if she was riding in the opposite direction, drivers often don’t look for bikes on the sidewalk, and don’t anticipate cyclists riding out into the street.

Which does not in any way excuse the driver’s failure to see her or stop in time to avoid her. But it does explain why cyclists have to be extra careful when approaching an intersection from the sidewalk.

Look carefully for any approaching cars, especially from behind, and assume the drivers don’t see you. Then refuse to enter the street until all the cars have stopped for you or passed through the intersection.

This is the 80th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and 31st in LA County; both of those totals are comparable to this time last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ai-Nei Zhou and all her friends and family.

Thanks to Carlos Morales for the heads-up. 

 

 

Update: 39-year old salmon cyclist killed in Venice Thanksgiving night

It wasn’t a good Thanksgiving in Venice Thursday evening.

The Los Angeles Times reports that a 39-year old Venice resident was riding the wrong way on South Venice Blvd just east of Speedway when she was struck by a car turning left onto the one-way street from southbound Speedway.

According to the paper, the collision occurred around 5 pm.

Venice 311 reports the victim, who has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, was riding without a headlight shortly after sunset, which occurred at 4:44 pm. The website says she lost balance before being struck, and fell under the car before being dragged roughly 10 feet until the driver was able to stop.

The driver reportedly did not see her riding the wrong direction in the gathering dusk. The visitors from Spain remained at the scene, and immediately called for help.

She was not breathing when firefighters dislodged her from the car, and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

The Venice 311 story includes a number of photos from the scene, including shots of the bike with the rear racks full and the contents of the handlebar basket spilling onto the street.

This collision serves as a tragic reminder to always ride with traffic, even on quiet streets; drivers won’t be looking for you coming from the wrong direction.

This is the 79th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 30th in LA County. It’s also the 11th in the City of Los Angeles.

Sadly, those numbers will grow, as I’m aware of one more recent fatality in the County of Los Angeles; more on that Friday.

Update: John Montgomery visited the site and offers his insights in the comments below, questioning why the driver took so long to stop, and observes that, as always, the victim is unable to give her side of the story. And notes that the LAPD has conducted a thorough investigation at the scene. 

Meanwhile, I’ve received some criticism for using the term salmon; Patrick Miller calls it a “condescending slur” to describe a cyclist riding against traffic — and New York’s famed Bike Snob, who some credit with originating the term, agrees.

While he undoubtedly popularized the term, it has been in use by cyclists for some time; I first heard it decades ago, and have been using it in conversation with other riders ever since. That is not to say Bike Snob did not come up with the term on his own; his original use of the term could easily have been the first time he and many others had heard it.

I have never considered it to be condescending or a slur in any way. It is simply an apt description of an act that is both dangerous and illegal, and one of the leading causes of bicycling collisions. 

No offense was intended. If any was taken, I apologize.

Update 2: The Free Venice Beachhead has identified the victim as 39-year old Summer Baker.

My deepest sympathy and prayers Summer Baker and her loved ones. 

Thanks to Joe Ryan and Venice 311 for the heads-up. 

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