Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Mountain biker found dead after being missing overnight in Carbon Canyon Regional Park

Mountain biking is usually a safe sport, resulting in nothing more than a few scrapes and bruises.

Yet for the second time in less than ten days, a mountain biker has been killed riding on an off-road trail in the Inland Empire.

According to KABC-7, 43-year old Long Beach resident Sokha Pho was found dead today in a remote region off the Raptor Ridge Trail in Carbon Canyon Regional Park, just over the San Bernardino County line from Orange County.

However, KCBS-2 places the location in Chino Hills State Park.

The station reports he had gone riding yesterday morning, and relatives called authorities when he did not return as expected yesterday afternoon. Rescuers from Orange and San Bernardino Counties conducted a search by foot, vehicle and air before spotting his body around 2:30 pm, suffering from obvious signs of trauma.

Commenters on a member’s only Facebook group said the trail, which is normally safe, was overgrown with foliage and virtually impassible; one rider told me she decided not to ride the trail yesterday because she couldn’t get through the overgrowth.

This is the 14th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in San Bernardino County.

Correction: KABC-7 originally identified the trail as Rafter Ridge, rather than Raptor Ridge. I’ve changed the story to reflect the correct location. Thanks to Bob for the catch.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Sokha Pho and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Lois for the heads-up.

Murrieta mountain biker killed in trail riding fall last Saturday

The Murrieta Patch is reporting that a mountain biker has died after losing control of his bike on a local trail.

Sixty-five-year old Murrieta resident Dennis Fabozzi was reportedly trailing a group of riders around 1 pm Saturday on a dirt trail near Tenaja Road and Via Volcano, when he fell and struck his head on a rock, resulting in a serious neck injury.

Witnesses performed CPR until paramedics arrived; however, he died at the scene without regaining consciousness.

The story notes that he was wearing a helmet. Unfortunately, that would have done nothing to protect his neck from blunt force trauma.

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

My deepest prayers and sympathy for Dennis Fabozzi and all his loved ones.

74-year old man killed in Burbank collision Friday afternoon

Bad news doesn’t always make the news right away. And sometimes, the police point the finger the wrong way.

That appears to be the case here, where a bike rider was killed in Burbank Friday afternoon.

According to the Burbank Leader, 74-year old Jin Soo Oh was riding east on Empire Ave around 2:35 pm when he was hit by a car turning right onto Westbound Empire from southbound Frederick Street.

He was taken to County-USC Medical Center, where he died a short time later.

The driver, who remained at the scene, was not cited.

Based on the extremely limited description, it appears Oh may have been riding against traffic on the wrong side of the street. It’s also possible that he was actually on the sidewalk and attempting to cross Frederick.

However, instead of blaming the victim for riding the wrong way, or the driver for not seeing him, Burbank police appear to be placing the blame on Oh’s lack of a helmet. Which wouldn’t matter if he hadn’t been hit by a car.

And whether it matters at all depends on whether Oh’s injuries would have been survivable, with or without one.

This is the 12th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jin Soo Oh and all his family. 

Morning Links: CD1 race gets dirtier, bike rider assaulted on LA River path, and fixing streets is Vision Zero, too

As predicted, incumbent CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo is getting down and dirty as he fights to retain his seat in the face of a strong challenge from outsider Joe Bray-Ali.

Today’s attack from the city’s most anti-bike councilmember comes in the form of repeated accusations that Bray-Ali is just a Republican in Democrat clothing. And that he only switched parties to run for office — fighting words in the strongly Democratic and independent district.

Except he isn’t. And didn’t.

Bray-Ali is the first to admit he was, briefly, registered as a Republican several years ago as he searched for his place in the political landscape, before landing in the Democratic party after equally brief stints as a Green and an independent.

And never mind that Los Angeles local elections are supposed to be non-partisan, so whatever the hell party he belongs to shouldn’t matter in the slightest.

More amusing is Cedillo’s claim that he’s running a grassroots campaign.

Which is absurd coming from a career politician who gets the overwhelming majority of his donations from outside the district. And who has been in bed with mega donors like Chevron and Walmart for years, leading to questions whether their donations have influenced his votes.

After Saturday’s bizarre Lyin’ Joe episode, and today’s overblown tweetstorm attacks, it’s starting to look like Gil has been studying at Trump U.

And learning all the wrong lessons about how to conduct a campaign.

………

A bike rider reports he was the victim of an assault on the LA River bike path at the Los Feliz overpass when he was punched by one of two men partially blocking the pathway.

Fortunately, he was able to maintain control of his bike, and didn’t stick around to find out what they wanted.

While incidents like this are relatively rare, it’s a reminder to always remain alert and aware of your surroundings when you ride, especially on bike paths or anywhere else out of direct public view. He did the smart thing by getting out of harms way as quickly as possible before stopping to call the police.

He doesn’t give the date or time of the attack, but it makes me wonder if that’s why I saw a CHP cruiser turn onto the bike path as I passed by on Los Feliz Monday afternoon.

LA bicyclists have long called for regular police patrols on the bike paths in the city and county, to little effect; incidents like this sometimes result in an increase in patrols, which die down after awhile as other hotspots take precedence.

Thanks to Chris Klibowitz for the heads-up.

………

I may not have made myself clear the other day.

While I am a strong believer in the need to fund Vision Zero projects in Los Angeles, and feel that it should take precedence over repaving streets and filling potholes, that doesn’t mean the latter isn’t important, as well.

As yesterday’s tragic news reminded us, bad roads can be an expensive annoyance to people on four wheels. But they can be deadly to those of us on two.

Vision Zero should not attempt to improve safety at the expense of our streets, but in conjunction with repaving efforts to ensure a safe riding, driving and walking environment for everyone. We have to somehow find room in the budget to pay for both.

Because it doesn’t matter whether our streets are dangerous because of aggressive drivers, bad road design or crumbling street surfaces. The results are the same.

And human lives are at stake.

………

This is seriously one of the scariest close passes I’ve ever seen, as a driver for a British market buzzes within inches of a cyclist. But says it’s okay since he didn’t cross into the extremely narrow bike lane.

Just as scary is the response from the company, which was basically “We didn’t hit him, so who cares?”

Thanks to Jon for the link.

………

I’ve never had a lot of heroes.

Willie Mays when I was younger, Bobby Kennedy and Dr. King as I got older, though both were gone before I reached my teens. But there are a lot of people I’ve admired; a few I’ve tried to emulate.

And one of the best and brightest of those was killed in crash early Wednesday morning.

Steve Tilford was everything I wanted to be as a young rider. A passionate cyclist who was among the first wave of American riders to storm Europe and show that we could compete on equal terms with the best names in the sport, he made it all seem effortless, competing on the road and winning in mountain biking and cyclocross.

According to various press reports, Tilford was driving on I-70 just west of the Colorado – Utah border when his van crashed into an overturned semi. He and his passenger were standing outside of the van, injured but okay, when a second semi plowed into the overturned truck, striking Tilford.

He died a few hours later at a hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado.

His passenger, Vincent Davis, was injured, and the driver of the second truck was killed as well.

VeloNews sums up the reaction in the cycling world, while the BMC Racing Team’s Jim Ochowicz remembers him and offers his condolences to Tilford’s partner Trudi Rebsamen, a soigneur with the team.

And Bicycling revives a 1998 profile of Tilford, saying he is why we ride.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I have something in my eye.

 

………

Another of those young riders from the 80s, American cycling great Andy Hampsten, is happy to share his love of cycling with young riders in Sonoma County.

Scientists are trying to take the hell of riding cobbles out of the Hell of the North.

………

Local

The jury’s still out on the 2024 Olympics, but LA will be hosting the 2017 Police & Fire Games.

Sunday marks the return of the Brompton Urban Bike Challenge scavenger hunt in DTLA.

Bike SGV invites you to attend the opening of the Jeff Seymour Family Center on Monday.

Topanga Canyon Blvd will be closed this weekend to repair storm damage and remove that big rock blocking the roadway.

Speaking of big rocks, CiclaValley discovers Big Rock Canyon.

 

State

The OC Breeze estimates that 15,000 people attended Saturday’s Garden Grove open streets event.

San Clemente plans to provide a safer route to an elementary school by improving bike lanes and sidewalks on Avenida del Presidente.

Indio is looking for public input on plans to install sidewalks and bike lanes. That’s easy. Yes. Please.

Sad news from the San Joaquin Valley, as a man was killed riding his bike in Southeast Bakersfield.

A Visalia man is scheduled to spend the next 34 years behind bars for shooting a bike rider from his moving car.

Bay Area bike riders will finally be able to ride halfway across the Bay Bridge on weekdays. Then turn around and ride back, since it will be several years before the bikeway goes all the way across, if then.

A UC Berkeley architecture professor wants you to bike along the big, not-so-beautiful wall already standing on the Mexico border with the US.

Folsom is planning to complete the Johnny Cash Trail near the prison where he recorded the best selling live album of all time.

Chico police bust an ebike thief who broke in from the shop next door to steal a $3,000 bike from a local dealer.

 

National

A writer for City Lab says bike helmet laws do more harm than good, and the idea that they improve overall safety for cyclists isn’t backed up by the evidence.

Someone vandalized over 200 of Portland’s 1,000 bikeshare bikes.

Great read. When a reader asks why bicyclists don’t have to carry insurance, an Oregon columnist responds “don’t be that guy.”

Alaskan fat bike riders are risking their lives by riding through railroad tunnels to get to a near-wilderness area that’s closed for the winter.

Prosecutors offer an undisclosed plea deal to a road raging Arizona driver who allegedly murdered a bike rider earlier this year; he faces up to 25 years if he’s convicted.

Someone walked out with $8,000 worth of bike clothes from a trio of Dallas bike shops.

A bike-riding Florida cop struggles to find answers in the wake of a recent tragedy, saying ultimately we must learn to care about others on the road, and encourage them to care about us.

 

International

Caught on video: A Canadian thief demonstrates just how fast a poorly secured bike can be stolen.

Four of London’s most dangerous intersections are scheduled to get bike and pedestrian friendly improvements. Which is exactly how Vision Zero is supposed to work.

The Guardian asks if London’s cycling czar is tough enough to take on critics and bike-haters. On the other hand, at least they have one, unlike some cities I could name.

Sometimes they do come home. Australian police recover an American man’s bicycle two years after it was stolen from a laundromat.

Designer and cyclist Paul Smith is creating cycling jerseys for a bike race to help raise funds to rebuild a Japanese town devastated by the 2011 tsunami.

Abandoned bikeshare bikes are crowding out humans in a Shenzhen, China park.

 

Finally…

No, popsicle bike is not a thing, but it should be. No, throwing your bike at an ex-friend who owes you money is not the correct way to use it.

And which of these things are you doing wrong in your cycling class?

That’s easy. Not riding a real bicycle outside, to start.

 

Update: Popular cyclist dies nearly three weeks after hitting a pothole during weekly Montrose Ride

Last week, the LA City Council’s Transportation Committee debated whether to patch potholes or fund Vision Zero projects, ultimately deciding in favor of safety over street repair.

Today, we got a painful reminder that sometimes it’s the same thing.

Word broke on Facebook today that Edgar Lim passed away last week, nearly three weeks after he suffered catastrophic injuries hitting a pothole.

According to a post by Freddie Arellano, Lim died at 8:35 pm last Wednesday, after being injured while riding on March 11th.

A post by Steven W Hansen indicates Lim was participating in the weekly 8 am Montrose Ride when he hit what Hansen describes as a huge, unavoidable pothole near 1510 Huntington Dr in Alhambra during the first few miles of the ride.

And yes, he was wearing a helmet.

Hansen reports the pothole had been patched a week later, too late to save the very popular rider.

This is the 11th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Los Angeles County.

Update: I’ve received second-hand reports from people who were on the March 11th ride that Lim may have lost control to avoid hitting the pothole, striking his head on the curb. However, even if that is the case, the pothole would have been the proximate cause of the crash, since he would not have swerved if it hadn’t been there. 

As Albert Lakes points out below, though, we don’t have all the facts at this point; all we can do is consider the limited information that is available and draw our own conclusions.

My deepest sympathy and prayers Edgar Lim and all his family and loved ones.

Thanks to Lynn Ingram for the heads-up.

Update: Pico Rivera bike rider left to die by hit-and-run driver in early morning crash

Yet another bike rider has been murdered by a heartless cowardly driver in Los Angeles County.

According to KABC-7, the victim, who the coroner said appeared to be a woman in her 30s, was found by someone passing by the Pico Rivera crime scene shortly after 2 am this morning.

The Whittier Daily News places the wreck on Rosemead Blvd south of Rex Road; photos from the scene show a retaining wall, which would appear to put it at or near the railroad overpass between Rex and Slauson.

She was taken to a local hospital, where she died.

KTLA-5 reports that evidence from the scene suggests she may have been riding on the sidewalk when the car jumped the curb and struck her.

Sheriff’s investigators say there are no apparent witnesses. However, based on debris from the crash site, they’re looking for a dark green Honda Accord, 2003 to 2007, with significant front end damage.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Pico Rivera Sheriff’s Station at 562/949-2421.

This is the tenth bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the seventh in Los Angeles County; nearly half of the deaths in the county have been hit-and-runs.

Given the hour, the driver should be assumed to have been under the influence at the time of the wreck.

Once found, he or she should face a second degree murder charge for making a conscious decision to leave the victim to die in the street, rather than call for the prompt medical attention that might have saved her life.

Of course, since hit-and-runs are seldom taken seriously in LA County, that’s not likely to happen.

Update: The LA Times reports a suspect was arrested after deputies pulled over a 2005 Honda Accord for several vehicle violations two miles from the crash site, and saw extensive damage to the front end that matched the suspect vehicle. 

Twenty-one-year old Berta Ramirez of Pico Rivera was arrested, and was being held on $50,000 bond.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 45-year old Pico Rivera resident Suzanne Corona. Her accused killer was released on bail a day after the crash. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Suzanne Corona and her loved ones.

52-year old bike rider killed in Anaheim hit-and-run; driver captured following police chase and shooting

An Orange County man was killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bike early Sunday morning. But for once, the driver didn’t get away.

According to the Orange County Register, 52-year old Anaheim resident Encarnacion Salazar Munoz was riding east on Ball Road, just east of Gilbert Street in unincorporated Anaheim, at 5:20 am when he was struck by an SUV headed in the same direction.

He died at the scene.

According to a CHP spokesman, the driver had veered into the the bike lane where Munoz was riding, and fled the scene after striking him.

KCBS-2 reports Anaheim police later spotted the driver, 25-year old Riverside resident Jason Roy Rocha, when they tried to pull him over for an unrelated traffic violation. Rocha fled from the police, losing the officers, until he crashed his Ford Expedition into a fence at the intersection of Seal Beach and Westminster boulevards in Seal Beach.

He reportedly came out of the SUV holding his arm as if he had a weapon; a Seal Beach cop responded by firing his gun, missing Rocha. He was taken into custody on suspicion of hit-and-run and driving under the influence.

Munoz leaves behind a wife and three kids. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay his funeral expenses; so far it has raised just $85 of the $25,000 goal.

This is the ninth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, four of which have been hit-and-runs. He is the third person killed while riding in Orange County since the first of the year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Encarnacion Salazar Munoz and his family. 

Thanks to John Damman for the heads-up.

Update: Man in 30s killed riding his bike in La Palma Monday night

A man has been killed in a bicycling collision in the small OC community of La Palma.

According to the Orange County Register, the victim was struck by a car driven by an 18-year old woman, while riding on La Palma Avenue just west of Moody Street around 10:45 pm.

The Orange County coroner reports he was taken to UCI Medical Center, where he died at 11:16 pm. He has been identified only as a man in his 30s.

The driver remained at the scene and called 911. She is not suspected of being under the influence.

No details are available on how the collision may have occurred; the Register says it is unclear if he was using a crosswalk at the time of the crash.

A streetview shows two lanes in both directions on La Palma with a center divider and left turn lane in both directions, with the same on Moody. There are curbside bike lanes on both streets.

This is the eighth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Orange County; he is the first bicyclist killed in La Palma since at least 2011.

Update: The Orange County Coroner has identified the victim as 52-year old La Palma resident David Garcia. Thanks to Bill Sellin for the heads-up.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for David Garcia and his loved ones.

72-year old Torrance woman killed while riding on sidewalk

Sad news from Torrance, where a 72-year old woman was killed in a collision with a delivery truck.

According to the Daily Breeze, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding her bike southbound on the west sidewalk of the 19600 block of Van Ness Ave when she was struck as the driver attempted to turn north on Van Ness.

However, there are no driveways on the west side of the street, and there does not appear to be a sidewalk on that side, which suggests she may have actually been on the east side of the street.

If that’s the case, the driver would have been looking for traffic to his left as he turned right, and may not have seen her approaching on the sidewalk to his right — even though he would appear to have had an unobstructed view.

Unfortunately, while riding on the sidewalk may appear to be safer than riding in the street, drivers tend to focus their attention on oncoming traffic, and may not notice someone coming towards them from the opposite direction.

Even though they should.

This is the seventh bicycling fatality this year, and the sixth in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and her loved ones.

 

 

Update: Bike rider killed in North Hollywood Monday evening showing a kindness to a stranger

Sad news tonight, as yet another bike rider has been killed in LA County.

Unfortunately, very little information is available at this time.

According to the LA Daily News, a bike rider was killed in a collision at 12500 Strathern Street, at the intersection with Whitsett Ave. KCBS-2 places the time of the wreck at 6:31 pm.

The victim died at the scene.

There’s no word on the identity, age or sex of the victim or the driver, or on how or why the crash occurred.

A street view shows both Strathern and Whitsett are four-lane streets with left turn lanes, controlled by a traffic signal; there are parks on both sides of Strathern on the west side of the intersection.

This is the sixth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year; all but one of which have occurred in Los Angeles County. It’s also the second fatal crash involving a bike rider in the City of LA since the first of the year.

Update: Now that a few details are in, the story seems even sadder. 

According to a source with the LAPD, the victim was riding his bicycle southbound on Strathern when he saw a basketball roll into the street from the nearby park. So he walked his bike to the middle of the street, laid it down to toss the ball to someone on the sidewalk, and was struck by a van. 

He died at the scene. 

His death will go down in the official stats as a pedestrian, rather than a bicyclist, since he was not on his bike at the time of the crash. But he was one of us, doing what so many of us have done so many times in an attempt to show a little kindness and courtesy to a stranger.

The driver was not suspected of being under the influence; no word on whether he or she will be cited for the crash. 

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 54-year old Stanley Martin Digerose.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his or her loved ones. 

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