Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

San Diego bike rider killed after going through red light; third SoCal bicyclist killed this week

A San Diego-area man has been killed while riding his bike, the third bicycling fatality in Southern California this week.

According to the Union-Tribune, the 44-year old victim was struck by the driver of a pickup truck in Chula Vista around 10 pm last night.

The paper reports the collision occurred at Second Avenue and Palomar Street, where witnesses say the victim, who has not been publicly identified, went through the red light on southbound Second.

However, San Diego’s NBC-7 says he was traveling east on Palomar, which would mean the driver was on Second.

He suffered severe head and injuries, and died after being taken to a local hospital.

The 22-year old driver stayed at the scene; police don’t believe drugs or alcohol use was a factor.

A street view shows a four lane road with left turn bays on Palomar, and a two lane street on Second. Palomar has a 35 mph speed limit, while residential Second should have a 25 mph limit.

The severity of the victim’s injuries, despite wearing a helmet, would suggest that the driver may have been traveling faster than that.

This is at least the 36th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th that I’m aware of in San Diego County.

It comes after a bicyclist was killed in LA’s San Fernando Valley on Monday, and another was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run in Torrance yesterday.

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

Update: Bike rider killed on Winnetka Blvd in the San Fernando Valley

Word is just breaking that a man in his 60’s was killed yesterday while riding his bike in the Winnetka neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley.

The victim was reportedly riding his bike in the crosswalk on westbound Lanark Street crossing Winnetka Ave when he was struck by the driver of a 2001 Toyota Corolla around 6:30 pm.

He was taken to Northridge Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A street view shows a wide four lane roadway on Winnetka, with a center left turn lane and a bike lane in both directions, and an uncontrolled crosswalk on the west side.

No other details are available at this time.

This is at least the 35th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 18th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

A ghost bike ceremony is tentatively scheduled for 9 pm tomorrow night. (Note: This originally said it would be held on Tuesday, but it will be Wednesday, instead.)

Update: According to a source with the LAPD, the victim is an unidentified, 72-year old ebike rider.

He was struck when he rode off the north sidewalk on Lanark into the crosswalk, and was struck by a driver headed north on Winnetka. 

This is yet another reminder of the dangers of sidewalk riding. Drivers often aren’t looking for you there, so you have to assume they don’t see you. Even if you have the right-of-way, it’s often safer to wait until cross traffic has passed. 

And always carry some form of ID. This crash is even more tragic knowing that the victim’s loved ones may have no idea he was killed.

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

Thanks to Zachary Rynew and Steve Spence for the heads-up. Photo of the victim’s ghost bike from Steve Spence.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in early morning Torrance hit-and-run

Yet another person riding a bike has been murdered by a heartless hit-and-run driver.

According to KTLA-5, police responded to a report of a crash involving a bicyclist in Torrance around 5 am today.

KCBS-2/KCAL-9 reports the victim wasn’t breathing when officers found him lying in the street at Hawthorne Boulevard and 227th Street. They attempted CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

He has been identified only as an adult male.

Police are looking for a tan or light gold 2006 to 2009 Toyota 4-Runner with front-end damage and part of the bumper missing. A security camera may have captured video of the crash and could show the suspect vehicle.

No other information is available at this time.

A street view shows a two lane residential street controlled with a stop sign on 227th, while Hawthorne has four wide lanes in each direction with no traffic signals for several blocks, allowing drivers to go as fast as traffic will allow.

Which means he or she could have probably traveled as fast as he or she wanted at that hour.

Just to be clear, there is simply no excuse, ever, for hit-and-run.

Drivers who leave their victims to die in the street should face a charge of felony murder, because they made a conscious decision to let a human being die rather than make a simple call for help.

Maybe then this hit-and-run epidemic would finally stop.

This is at least the 34rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: KNBC-4 reports the victim, who still hasn’t been publicly identified, was a man in his 40s. 

They also say the speed limit on that stretch of Hawthorne is 45 mph. Chances are the driver was going faster. 

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 32-year old Jonathan Valbuena, who is described as being homeless. Which does not change tragedy or outrage in the slightest. 

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

Thanks to Brian McCarthy and Serena Grace for the heads-up.

 

Woman killed in Lancaster bike crash earlier this month

Somehow, we missed this news earlier this month.

Looking for information about yesterday’s fatal collision in Lancaster uncovered news of a woman who was killed while riding her bike in the same city on Monday, August 13th.

According to the Antelope Valley Times, the victim, identified only as a Hispanic woman in her 50s, was riding north in the bike lanes on Sierra Highway below Oldfield Street when she was struck and killed.

The paper reports that she attempted to cross the five lane Sierra Highway, unexpectedly swerving left in front of an oncoming driver traveling in the same direction.

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

A statement from the sheriff’s department said it doesn’t appear that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash, nor was excessive speed.

As always, the question is whether there were independent witnesses to the crash. Drivers who drift to the right or fail to see a bike rider often assume the victim must have swerved in front of them, when that’s not always the case.

Anyone with information is urged to call traffic investigators at the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station at 661/ 948-8466.

This is at least the 33rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

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

Bike rider killed in Lancaster rear-end collision Saturday morning

A man was killed Saturday morning when he was the victim of a rear-end collision in Lancaster.

According to a news release from the LA County Sheriff’s Department, the victim was struck from behind while riding his bicycle west on Avenue K east of Stanridge Ave around 6 am.

A driver traveling in the same direction reportedly swerved into the bike lane, throwing him forward. However, there are no bike lanes visible in a street view or satellite image of the seven lane street.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was taken to a local hospital, where he died of his injuries.

The male driver apparently stayed at the scene. The report says it does not appear that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash, although authorities are investigating whether speed played a role.

It’s unclear what the speed limit is on the street. However, the straight roadway and wide lanes, with long segments uninterrupted by traffic signals, would appear to encourage high speeds, regardless of the posted speed.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station Traffic Investigators at 661/948-8466.

This is at least the 32nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 15th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

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

Update: 67-year old bike rider dies days after Glassell Park collision

Sad news from Glassell Park, where a 67-year old man has died after his bike was stuck by an SUV driver earlier this week.

However, it’s unclear what day the crash happened.

According to The Eastsider, the victim, identified as Apolinar Venancio, was struck on Avenue 34 east of Eagle Rock Boulevard in LA’s Glassell Park neighborhood.

The crash occurred around 6:15 pm either Wednesday or Thursday; the story cites both days in different places.

Police report Vanancio was riding on the sidewalk along Avenue 34 when he allegedly rode out off the sidewalk between two cars, and into the path of the SUV. He was knocked to the street, suffering a head injury.

He died at a local hospital around 9:30 am Saturday, surrounded by his family.

The driver remained at the scene following the Glassell Park crash.

A street view shows a narrow, unmarked two lane roadway on 34th, with curbs along most of the street.

The question is where Vanancio came off the curb, and why he wouldn’t have been aware of the SUV bearing down on him, if the collision occurred as it was described by police.

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD Central Traffic Division Detectives at 213/833-3713 or the Central Traffic Division Watch Commander at 213/388-3746.

This is at least the 31st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 14th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

It’s also the fourth bicycling death in the seven county SoCal region in just the last eight days.

Update: A GoFundMe page for the man friends called Don Polo has raised over $2,200 of a $20,000 goal to pay his funeral expenses. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Apolinar Venancio and all his family. 

Thanks to Walk Eagle Rock for the heads-up. 

Photo of Apolinar “Don Polo” Venancio from the GoFundMe page; other photos courtesy of Felicia G.

 

Breaking News: Bicyclist killed this morning in Cypress collision

The Cypress Police Department is reporting that a bike rider was killed this morning.

Unfortunately, that’s about all they’re reporting.

According to the department, a crash was reported by several people at 6:06 am Thursday at the intersection of Ball Road and Walker Street in Cypress.

When officers arrived, they found the bike rider was already dead. The victim has not been identified in any way pending notification of next of kin.

The driver remained at the scene.

No other information is available at this time.

A street view shows an intersection with two lanes and left turn lanes in every direction, along with bike lanes on both Ball and Walker.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Cypress PD Officer Eric Mount at 714/229-6634.

This is at least the 30th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 3rd that I’m aware of in Orange County.

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

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Update: Road bike rider killed in East San Diego County crash

A man has been killed riding a road bike in an unincorporated area east of San Diego.

According to the Union-Tribune, the victim was riding south in the bike lane on Avocado Blvd just above Nabal Drive in the Casa del Oro neighborhood of San Diego County around 8 am. He reportedly swerved into the traffic lane, and was struck by a car driven by a 63-year old woman.

The man, who has not been publicly identified, was taken to a regional trauma center, where he died from his injuries.

The only identifying information given is the make of his bike, a Masi Gran Corsa road bike.

As always, the question is whether there were any witnesses other than the driver.

It’s possible that he may have swerved out of the bike lane to avoid an obstruction, or moved left to turn onto Nabal Drive without checking for traffic.

However, it’s also possible that the driver may have been speeding, or drifted into the bike lane and only assumed the he swerved in front her. The lack of physical evidence in bike crashes can make it difficult, if not impossible, to identify the exact point of impact.

Crashes like that are so common they are often referred to sarcastically as an SWSS, or Single Witness Suicide Swerves.

Hopefully we’ll get more information soon.

This is at least the 29th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 6th that I’m aware of in San Diego County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 61-year old La Mesa resident Daniel Lusteg

And yes, he was wearing a helmet. In this case, it was not enough to help.

Meanwhile, Frank Lehnerz forwards a Google image showing what might have made Lusteg swerve.

What hasn’t been mentioned is that if he swerved around this or any other object, it would suggest that the driver didn’t give a three-foot passing distance as required by law.

Otherwise, anything less than a swerve into the left turn lane shouldn’t have been enough to cause a collision. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Daniel Lusteg and his loved ones.

Thanks to Jeff Kucharski, Charles Schenck and Frank Lehnerz for the heads-up. 

 

35-year old San Pedro man killed in Long Beach collision Thursday morning

A San Pedro man rode his new e-bike to work for just the second time yesterday.

And the last.

According to the Long Beach Post, 35-year old Ben Rael — described by his brother as having “the biggest damn heart you can imagine” — had saved up for six months to buy the bike he lost his life riding.

The Press-Telegram reports Rael was riding west on the south sidewalk on 7th Street approaching Martin Luther King Jr. Ave around 6:35 am Thursday. Witnesses say he rode off the sidewalk and into the street against traffic, and was immediately struck by the driver of a large pickup.

Rael was apparently thrown into the back of the truck, where the driver performed CPR until paramedics arrived; he died after being taken to a nearby hospital.

Police said alcohol was not a factor.

However, damage to the truck, and Rael’s shattered bicycle, suggest that speed may have been. It’s possible that the driver may have been speeding, or that Rael may have been traveling at a high speed when they hit head on.

Or both.

Either could explain why he apparently rode out directly into the path of an oncoming truck, which is the lingering question in explaining what happened.

This is at least the 28th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ben Rael and all his family and loved ones.

 

Bike rider dies after collision on a San Diego freeway early Tuesday morning

Earlier this week, we mentioned a bike rider had suffered major injuries when he was hit by a driver on a San Diego freeway.

Sadly, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports the victim died of his injuries the next day.

According to the paper, 53-year old San Diego resident David Sheridan was struck by the driver of a Toyota Camry around 5:15 am on the southbound State Route 163, near the transition to State Route 52 in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood.

Earlier reports indicated the driver’s car was traveling at 60 mph as she transitioned from westbound SR-52 to southbound SR-163. She crashed into Sheridan’s bicycle after the driver ahead of her swerved to avoid Sheridan as he rode in the traffic lane ahead of her.

He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died at 11:38 am Wednesday.

The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators.

There’s no explanation given for why Sheridan would have been riding on a major freeway where bicycles are not allowed.

A satellite view shows a four lane freeway on the southbound side, with a double transition lane entering from both directions of SR-52.

It’s possible Sheridan may have been riding on the shoulder of the freeway, and was caught in traffic when he tried to cross the entrance lanes. However, that is just speculation.

There’s no word on whether he had lights on his bike at that pre-dawn hour. The U-T also notes that he was wearing a helmet, even though it wouldn’t have done a damn bit of good under those circumstances.

This is at least the 27th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth that I’m aware of in San Diego County.

And this is the third SoCal bike rider killed while riding on a freeway in recent memory.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for David Sheridan and all his loved ones. 

Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up. 

 

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