Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Downey bike rider killed in collision with Metro Blue Line

Word broke late Saturday night that a cyclist may have killed in a collision with a Metro Blue Line train in the Florence neighborhood of Los Angeles.

KABC-7 tweeted that a bike rider had been killed crossing the tracks at East Gage and Holmes Avenues, citing a report from the CHP. However, while the Highway Patrol dispatch confirmed a fatality, it did not identify the victim as a bike rider.

Any question was resolved Sunday evening when KCBS-2 confirmed that a 51-year old Downey resident was killed when he rode his bike in front of the train, which was traveling at 50 mph at the time. At that speed, such a collision is unlikely to be survivable; he was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:01 pm.

The victim was not publicly identified pending notification of next of kin.

No word on why he did not see or hear the train approaching, or whether the crossing arms were working properly.

This is the 47th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 20th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the sixth cycling death in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year.

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

 

Don’t expect justice. Not on a bike, not for hit-and-run. And not in Beverly Hills.

Paul Livingston, back on his feet.

Paul Livingston, back on his feet. Photo by Brandon Lake.

Three days in jail for felony hit-and-run.

Exactly half the time her victim spent in a coma. And just a fraction of the seemingly endless days he spent in the hospital, let alone long months in rehab.

No wonder Paul Livingston is mad.

Maybe you remember the story.

Just over three years ago, June 12, 2011, to be exact, Livingston was riding his bike through the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills when he was rear-ended by a driver, who a witness described as weaving in and out of traffic “as if she was drunk.”

In fact, that same witness was dialing 911 to report the driver when she heard the sickening thud of the impact that nearly took Livingston’s life.

As Don Ward tells the story in LA Streetsblog,

Last summer Paul Livingston, an experienced cyclist of 15 years, was commuting along Santa Monica Blvd heading east through Beverly Hills. He began slowing as he approached a stale red light. Relaxed, it was about 6pm on a clear skied Sunday afternoon and his lane – the right lane – was clear. He was estimated to be moving at about 8 miles per hour. Suddenly his world changed forever. Witnesses describe an impatient and unpredictable driver racing in and out of pockets heading east towards the soon to be green light that Paul was approaching. Paul had no chance. He was smashed from behind and thrown. It was reported that the driver never braked but instead accelerated to get away after impact.

Even worse was the terrible toll caused by that collision.

The impact was so harsh that Paul suffered multiple spinal and pelvic fractures, severe internal bleeding and abdominal injuries. He spent 6 days in a coma and another month in the hospital. Doctors performed spinal fusion surgery to 5 levels of his vertebrae. Because of his disability he was let go from his job at SIR Hollywood, and as a result his medical insurance was terminated. With no ability to work he lost his apartment soon after. Paul’s hospital bills add up to well over $1 million dollars. The driver not only left Paul with a massive hospital bill, she stole a life’s joy from him as he lie broken in the street that day. Paul may never again ride a bicycle. None of the witnesses that stayed managed to get a plate, just a vehicle description.

In fact, it was far worse.

In a follow-up piece, Streetsblog’s Sara Bond wrote,

The last thing Paul remembers that day is being put on a stretcher before he woke up in a hospital bed six days later. He suffered spinal and pelvic fractures. His pelvic bone, broken in half and pushed upwards into his bladder had severed blood vessels causing him to bleed internally. When he was first admitted to the hospital he was hypotensive, which means his organs were shutting down with the lack of blood and his body was going into shock. Paul underwent three abdominal surgeries within the first two days just to stop the bleeding. On the fourth day, the doctors were able to fix his pelvis and then he went through spine surgery only to have pelvic surgery once again to get it back to its original position. Paul also suffered from post-operative infection from the abdominal surgeries. Finally, with his fever gone, he was healthy enough to have his spinal fusion – as a result, Paul is a bit shorter now.

Yet despite the severities of his injuries, he credits his helmet with saving his life, and the large bike bag he was carrying with cushioning the impact from the car and protecting him from even greater harm.

The driver, Victoria Chin, called police to turn herself in the next day — after she’d had time to sober up, if the witness was correct — claiming she didn’t stop because she couldn’t find a parking spot.

Well, okay then.

Or at least, that seemed to be the laissez faire — if not incompetent — attitude of the Beverly Hills police.

Rather than send a patrol officer out to see her — let alone make a badly needed arrest — the officer she spoke with told her she had to come to the station turn herself in, and to bring the car with her. Instead, she showed up the next day with no car and a lawyer in tow, refusing to say or do anything other than identify herself.

And that’s when things got strange.

Livingston's warped bike doesn't begin to capture the extent of his injuries.

Livingston’s badly warped bike doesn’t begin to capture the extent of his injuries.

As far as the BHPD was concerned, no harm, no foul — ignoring that her victim was in the ICU at Cedars Sinai in a medically induced coma at that very moment.

Because of the botched non-investigation, the DA initially declined to press charges. It wasn’t until Livingston’s own lawyer conducted his own investigation and handed them a gift-wrapped case on a silver platter that they even deemed it worth pursuing.

Not that they really seemed very interested, even then.

“I never got the feeling Marta (Miller, the prosecuting attorney) gave a shit about me or my case,” Livingston said when I spoke with him last week.

In fact, he had a bad feeling about it from the beginning.

Chin’s defense attorney, a former Los Angeles DA, boasted on his website about using his connections with the office to benefit his clients. And when Livingston asked about it, he was told that Miller had worked with him for over 10 years.

But no one else seemed to see a conflict of interest; his request for a new prosecutor never even received a response from the DA’s office.

Evidently, his intuition was on target.

At the final court hearing, Miller refused to even acknowledge his presence before the plea deal was announced. Livingston says he knew a deal had been made by the guilty expression on the face of the prosecutor who should have been fighting for society’s, if not his, interests.

Chin entered a plea of no contest to felony hit-and-run. Or rather, a plea was entered on her behalf; she had moved back to her family home in Pennsylvania, and after her initial hearing, didn’t attend any court sessions until she was ultimately sentenced.

That plea deal should have been good news. California sentencing guidelines for felony hit-and-run call for 16 months to three years in state prison, with a fine of $1,000 to $10,000. Severe bodily injury brings an additional one-year enhancement, while permanent injury or death calls for another two to four years.

You’d think titanium rods permanently embedded in your back just to hold your body together would qualify as permanent injury.

But you would be wrong.

As a result of an incredibly generous deal, and despite the felony conviction, Chin was sentenced this past April to just 120 days in jail.

County jail.

Not state prison.

And given the current overcrowding conditions in LA County lockup, Livingston was warned that she wasn’t likely to serve anything close to the full term.

But he was shocked to learn she’d been released after just two days behind bars.

Two days.

Combined with another day in jail following her arrest, her total incarceration adds up to just three days, compared with the minimum 26 months in state custody she should have received. And just half the time Livingston spent in a coma because of her actions.

On the other hand, she was ordered to pay $638,434 in restitution.

Not that he will ever see the money.

Livingston’s insurance company has a $468,000 lien on any judgment. Cedars has another for $150,000. And whatever is left when they’re done will go to St. Vincent Hospital.

And not like anyone realistically expects her to pay.

Like most California drivers, she had the minimum liability insurance coverage of just $15,000 required by California law; an amount that hasn’t been increased since it was established in the 1970s.

Which also means that, while he’s almost assured of winning his civil suit, Livingston probably won’t see a dime for his lost wages, pain or suffering. The only hope is that Chin may — key word, may — have been driving as part of her job that day; if that turns out to be the case, her employer could be on the hook for the full amount of what should be a multi-million dollar settlement on top of the restitution.

Let’s hope so.

……..

Despite everything, Paul Livingston remains remarkably upbeat.

“I’m so lucky,” he says. “I got so lucky.”

Without the herculean efforts of the paramedics and ER staff, he probably wouldn’t have made it through the first night. Even after that, so much could have gone wrong that could have changed his life forever.

Yet today, he pronounces himself fully recovered, physically anyway. He’s jogging a couple of miles every other day, doing push-ups and pull-ups, even lifting weights.

And he’s back to work as a drummer in a reggae band.

On the other hand, as Streetsblog noted, he’s not back on his bike, and probably never will be.

“I’m not riding anymore and I miss it. But there’s absolutely no way I would get on a bike in traffic again, anywhere.”

He also has to bite his tongue when he sees someone else riding a bike on crowded city streets.

“I want to tell them, if you only knew the danger you’re in, not just of getting hurt, but of the person who hit you never being brought to justice…”

His voice tapers off, leaving the thought dangling in the air.

He’d never actually say it, of course.

He knows the sheer joy that comes from riding a bike, and wouldn’t want to take that away from someone else.

But for all his upbeat attitude, the pain and financial stress has taken its toll.

I’ve gotta be honest. I’ve been really bummed out about the medical liens, insurance bullshit, and the reality of possibly not getting anything financially for my pain, suffering and all the emotional stress. I’m a professional musician and I lost my studio in Hollywood, my apartment, my job, my medical insurance. It’s been just one gnarly fight after another.

I had to fight to stay alive, I had to fight to learn how to walk again, I had to fight to get disability payments, I had to fight to get the Beverly Hills DA’s office to press charges and it just keeps going.

The hell I went through is something anyone would go to great lengths to avoid and that’s what’s hard to explain to people.

Until you experience trauma like that, you just don’t know. Imagine not being able to sleep while in pain waiting for spine surgery wondering if you’re going to still be able to walk again, go to the bathroom by yourself, and have sex again.

The physical pain was absolutely brutal but the emotional trauma is something that still haunts me. And I have to live with titanium rods and screws in my back forever.

So yeah, she took a lot away from me and the fact that she only did 3 days in jail makes me want to pack my shit and move to Montana.

But I want to try and help change things here so that other people don’t have to go through the hell I went through.

Yet remarkably, Paul Livingstone is not a vengeful man.

If she had shown some sign of remorse; if she’d just come up to me one time to say she was sorry, I might have let the whole thing go.

But she never did.

……..

Maybe I should let the story end there.

But as someone who has long argued for tougher hit-and-run laws, and applauded the efforts of Don Ward, Damian Kevitt, state Assemblymember Mike Gatto and others to pass hard-hitting legislation, I realize it doesn’t really matter.

This obscene epidemic will never end, and the physical, emotional and financial toll of hit-and-run will continue to build as long as police, prosecutors and the courts refuse to take it seriously.

This should have been an easy case for the police to investigate. But they didn’t care.

It should have been a clear-cut prosecution for the DA’s office. But they didn’t care.

It should have been a chance for the judge to send a message that this kind of behavior won’t be tolerated in a civil society, and that there are serious consequences for running away like a coward and leaving another human being to bleed, and possibly die, in the street.

But he didn’t care.

Or if anyone did, not enough to actually do anything about it.

Until we change the attitude that traffic crime doesn’t matter and people don’t have to be held accountable for their actions, nothing will ever change.

Livingston is right. We can expect a lot of things when we ride.

But justice isn’t one of them.

Especially not in Beverly Hills.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in close pass on Mt. Baldy Road last Saturday

No name.

One lousy paragraph.

Evidently, that’s all the life of a Fontana cyclist is worth, as the Claremont Courier reports a bike rider was killed on Mt. Baldy Road last Saturday.

According to the paper, the 59-year old victim was riding south on Mt. Baldy Road near Evey Canyon around 7 am on Saturday, June 14th, when a 77-year old driver attempted to pass him. She hit him with the passenger side mirror of her SUV, knocking him to the ground with great force.

He died after being airlifted to USC Medical Center with severe head trauma. The paper notes that he suffered the injuries despite wearing a helmet, which suggests a significant impact.

No other information is available at this time, including the names of the victim and driver.

The collision is still under investigation. However, even without the new three-foot passing law going into effect until September, this would appear to be a clear case of unsafe passing at the very least.

This is the 46th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 19th in Los Angeles County.

Update: Comments from Cheryl and Sierra Ornelas identify the victim as Carlos Vasquez, who was riding with his son at the time of the collision.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Carlos Vasquez and his loved ones.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Breaking news: Laguna Beach bike rider dies following last night’s collision

Bad news from Laguna Beach.

According to the Laguna Beach Independent, 55-year old John Greg Colvin has died of the injuries he suffered when he was hit while riding on the Coast Highway Tuesday night.

The Orange County Register had reported last night that a then-unidenfied rider was critically injured when he was hit by a car on Coast Highway near Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach around 7 pm.

The Independent places the time of the collision at 6:56 pm, when the northbound bicycle was rear-ended while traveling in the right lane.

Colvin was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, where he later died.

Apparently, there’s some confusion over whether the 19-year old Prius driver fled the scene. The Register says he stopped nearby; however, the Independent says a witness followed him to El Morro Elementary School, where he was detained by police.

Google Maps places the school a full mile north of the collision site.

Drivers are required to remain at the scene and render aid in the event of a collision. Even though driving to another location a mile away would appear to be a clear violation of the law, the driver was not arrested or cited.

This is the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in Orange County; that compares to just three in the county this time last year.

Update: A press release from Laguna Beach-based EventMover Inc. announced the hiring of John Colvin in 2012; LinkedIn identifies him as a member of the Irvine Chamber of Commerce. However, without the middle name, there’s no assurance it’s the same person.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for John Colvin and all his loved ones.

Morning Links: Cyclist critically injured in Laguna Beach; lawsuit filed against LA County, LASD in Milt Olin case

Late breaking news as this goes online.

According to the Orange County Register, a 55-year old bike rider was critically injured when he was hit by a car on Coast Highway near Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach around 7 pm Tuesday. Despite initial reports that the driver had fled the scene, he actually stopped a short distance away and waited for authorities.

No word yet on how the collision occurred; a satellite view of the street shows a wide parking lane or shoulder, but no bike lanes.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a full and fast recovery.

……..

The only real question is why they waited so long.

Not surprisingly, the family of fallen cyclist and former Napster executive Milt Olin has filed a lawsuit against LA County, the LA Sheriff’s Department, and the deputy behind the wheel when he was run down from behind while riding in a Mulholland bike lane last December.

According to the LA Daily News,

The family “suffered a profound loss, a loss of a wonderful husband and father, and actually a wonderful human being, as all his friends will tell you,” attorney Bruce A. Broillet, who is representing the family, said Tuesday. “We believe the sheriff (deputy) was operating his vehicle negligently, inappropriately and this never should have happened. We will be seeking to hold the county, the sheriff (deputy) and the Sheriff’s Department accountable for the death of Milton Olin.”

The claim seeks an unspecified amount in damages for loss of love, care, protection, moral support and financial support, among other things. It also seeks more than $30,000 in damages for medical, burial and funeral expenses.

Meanwhile, the DA’s office is still reviewing the Sheriff’s Department’s self-described unbiased investigation of their own officer nearly a month after the results of the five-month investigation were turned over to them.

No word on what conclusions they reached, if any, or when or if the DA will announce whether charges will be filed.

Or whether it was an official or unofficial departmental policy that resulted in Olin’s death, as many suspect.

……..

Local

In response to Metro’s advice for cyclists on how to share the road with buses, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers his own five astute points on how Metro can better interact with us.

The LACBC will be providing free bike valet at the Roaring Nights at the LA Zoo.

Claremont is sponsoring a free bike safety class for children and adults this Thursday.

Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies arrest two men for a string of armed bike path robberies.

 

State

The Coronado Historical Society is hosting a series of guided bike rides around the island this summer.

An OC businessman is riding 5,000 miles to raise funds to help end malnutrition, while a Menlo Park man is competing in the Race Across America to raise funds for the Stanford Cancer Institute.

Police arrest a bike rider for groping a Bay Area woman before riding off.

A sharp-eyed Sacramento-area man spots someone riding this daughter’s stolen BMX bike.

 

National

Speaking of RAAM, the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay looks at Dave Zabriskie and his four-man Legends of the Road team.

Momentum Magazine examines the next great bicycling cities; shocked! shocked! am I that LA failed to make the list.

CLIF Bar teams up with People for Bikes to get more people on bikes.

A writer for Crain’s Chicago Business says we all have to get along, no matter how many wheels we travel on.

A bike shop in the Windy City installs a 24-hour bike parts vending machine.

Memphis turns half a divided highway into a two-way biking and walking path along the Mississippi River.

The Alabama man who posted videos of himself running cyclists off the road pleads guilty to reckless endangerment. And gets off with a mere loving caress on the wrist.

 

International

An Irish man learns not to honk and swear at a group of cyclists. Because they might turn out to be off-duty cops.

Forty-one amateur riders prepare to ride the entire 2014 Tour de France route.

Caught on video: a bike riding Japanese schoolgirl learns the hard way to stop at the stop sign and look both ways before crossing an intersection

 

Finally…

Repeat after me: When you’re carrying six bags of meth and wanted on outstanding warrants, stop for the damn red light — but don’t do it directly in front of a pursuing police car after trying to flee.

And it takes a real schmuck to steal a 9-year old’s bike at gunpoint.

 

19-year old bike rider killed in South LA hit-and-run

Yet another teenage cyclist has been murdered by a heartless hit-and-run driver.

Late last night, news broke that a South LA pedestrian had been seriously injured by a driver who fled the scene. By this morning, it was clear that the victim, identified as by the LA Times as 19-year old Oscar Toledo Jr., had been riding a bike when he was run down.

KNBC-4 places the collision around 9:40 pm at the intersection of South Normandie Ave and West 47th Street. Toledo was reportedly crossing Normandie on 47th when he was hit by a car traveling south on Normandie; no word on which direction he was riding. However, the Times story says he was making a left, apparently onto Normandie.

The driver fled the scene, evidently without slowing or stopping.

Toledo was transported to a local hospital in critical condition; KNBC reports he died there while the Times says he passed away in the ambulance.

Police are looking for a red Toyota Corolla or burgundy Pontiac, which suggests there may have been at least two witnesses to the crash. KNBC reports police will be looking to see if  collision may have been captured on surveillance video from local businesses.

KABC-7 quotes an LAPD detective, who says the vehicle may have front end damage constant with striking a bike.

“The young man was 19 years old, leaves behind a caring family, his mother, his brother. It’s very important that if witnesses have any information to come forward so we can solve this crime,” said Render.

Anyone with information is urges to call the LAPD at 877/LAPD-24-7.

This is the 44th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, which compares with 32 this time last year. It’s also the 18th cycling death in LA County, and the fifth in the City of LA; three of those five deaths have been hit-and-runs.

Update: KTLA-5 reports Toledo had recently become a father; now a child will grow up never knowing his dad. A ghost bike will be installed at the location Friday evening.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Oscar Toledo Jr. and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg and James Johnson for the heads-up.

Morning Links: Phillip O’Neill memorial ride and walk, cyclist’s rights on PCH, and a new bike video from LACBC

4314394Hard to believe it was a year ago that Phillip O’Neill lost his life riding on a Pasadena street.

O’Neill was on a bike date when he was struck from behind with enough force to throw him into a parked car on the other side of the street.

Fortunately, his companion was unscathed, although I’m told witnessing the collision took a tremendous emotional toll. As did the loss of someone she, and many others, cared about.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition is holding a memorial ride and walk this Sunday to remember Phillip as someone who should still be with us, and who is sadly missed. And to help ensure he will be the last bike rider or pedestrian to be killed in the city.

Let’s hope they succeed.

Phillip O’Neill Commemorative Ride/Walk this Sunday at 7:30 PM

This Sunday, June 15, we’ll be walking and riding to commemorate the one year anniversary of the death of Phillip O’Neill. Phillip was riding his bicycle on Del Mar on June 15, 2013 when he was struck from behind and killed by a motorist. Phillip was an amazing person who had already accomplished a tremendous amount at a young age. We mourn his loss.

We also gather to pledge to work together make our streets safer for people like Phillip and all the pedestrians and bicyclists in Pasadena. We want Pasadena to be a place where this never happens again.

DATE: 
Sunday, June 15, 2014
SCHEDULE: 
7:30 p.m.  Riders gather at City Hall, walkers gather at Grant Park.
7:45 p.m.  Riders and walkers depart from their respective locations.
8:00 p.m.  Riders and walkers gather at Grant Park for commemoration.
RIDE INFORMATION:
Ride gathers at Pasadena City Hall, Garfield steps (100 N. Garfield Ave., 91101). Rides to Grant Park via Del Mar (past ghost bike on Del Mar and Wilson). Please bring your bike with lights and in good working condition.
Pasadena City Hall: 100 N. Garfield Ave., 91101
WALK INFORMATION:
Walk gathers at Grant Park. Walks west on Blanche Street, south on Wilson, east on Del Mar, and north on Michigan to return to Grant Park.
Grant Park: 232 S. Michigan Ave., 91106
TO RSVP and LEARN MORE:
https://www.facebook.com/events/664199610324547/

#PhillipO’NeillGhostRide

Thanks to Candace Seu and the Caltech Bike Lab for the heads-up.

……..

Usually I try not to link to anything this old.

But everyone who rides PCH through Malibu should carry a copy of this 2009 — or maybe 2010 — letter from former CalTrans District 7 Director Michael Miles, which specifies that cyclists are allowed to ride in the right traffic lane. And that there is no restriction on the number of cyclists who can ride side-by-side in an non-sharable lane.

Then again, maybe every rider everywhere should carry a copy, since too many motorists and law enforcement officers still don’t seem to get it.

……..

Vote for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s entry in the DoGooder LA video competition.

……..

The Race Across America — aka RAAM — kicked off today as solo competitors departed from the Oceanside pier; teams leave on Saturday. A UK rider hopes to be the first British woman to finish the race, while Pippa Middleton — yes, that Pippa Middleton — will take part in the team competition.

……..

Local

KCBS-2 reports on the cyclist-buzzing Metro bus driver we wrote about yesterday.

LA is slowly pedaling to a more bike friendly future.

Metro, CICLE and Bike Odyssey LA host a Pedal Powered Street Theater Ride on June 21st.

Streetsblog invites you to join in a family-friendly fundraising walk and party to honor Streetsie Award winners Jessica Meaney and Alissa Walker.

Great looking plans for resurrecting the Pacoima Wash, including a bike path.

Team Bike Santa Monica invites you to join the National Bike Challenge.

The Downey Kids Bike Festival is scheduled for the end of this month.

 

State

As it turns out, Newport Beach is facing more than one lawsuit from the families of fallen cyclists.

A San Francisco cyclist and musician is getting close to a $3.75 million settlement after he was run down by a city street sweeper two years ago.

Oakland is remaking famed Telegraph Avenue to be more bike friendly, which should benefit local businesses.

Huh? An Oroville judge rules a hit-and-run driver didn’t cause great bodily injury when he killed a bike rider.

 

National

How HR Departments can encourage bicycling by employees.

USA Today looks at 15 fantastic bike trails across the US.

Pro rider Taylor Phinney is on the road to recovery, and refusing to be bitter about the injury that ended his season.

Cyclists participating in Colorado’s Ride the Rockies get caught in a blizzard, and have to be bused to a warmer location.

Good for her. A university website profiles a transgender TCU student and BMX rider.

A GoFundMe campaign for New England cyclist and Internet jokester Ryan Kelly, whose daughter was born last week with major heart problems.

An Atlanta SUV driver fled the scene after making a U-turn to deliberately run down a bike rider following an argument, dragging the victim 50 feet under his car.

 

International

Now that’s more like it. The UK gets serious about speeding by increasing the maximum fine to £10,000 — the equivalent of $16,745. That should make a dent in someone’s wallet.

Yorkshire cyclists create a bike-themed lingerie calendar to raise money for an air ambulance.

UK police search for yet another road raging cyclist who tried to throttle a motorist. Not that we all haven’t been tempted, but still.

A new report shows separated bike lanes in Sydney carry as many people as the cars in the lanes next to them.

 

Finally…

How to avoid seven beginner cyclists faux pas; I still get that chainring tattoo almost every ride. And Torrance paramedics discover a three-foot python in the backpack of a bike rider after he’s hit by a car; the victim should be okay after suffering a broken collarbone and ribs.

 

Breaking news: Bike rider killed on 5 Freeway in Santa Ana

This one doesn’t make a lot of sense.

According to the Orange County Coroner’s office, a male bike rider was killed while riding on the 5 Freeway in Santa Ana last night.

The collision took place on the southbound I-5 north of 4th Street just before 11 pm, when the rider was struck by multiple vehicles. The victim has not been publicly identified; no word on whether authorities know who he was, or if it is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

No information is given for how the collision occurred, or whether he was riding on the shoulder or in the traffic lanes. However, there is an exit ramp at 4th; if he was attempting to continue on the freeway it would have put him in the path of exiting vehicles.

And no explanation is given for what he was doing on the freeway at that hour. Or at all.

Hopefully more information will become available later that will shed light on this troubling case.

This is the 43rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in Orange County; that compares to just two in the county this time last year. And he is the fifth cyclist to be killed in Santa Ana in the last 36 months.

Update: It gets even stranger.

According to the Orange County Register, 21-year old Tustin resident Jordan Ames was riding south in the center carpool lane — not the right shoulder — when he veered in front of traffic and was hit by a Honda CRV. He was then thrown into the main traffic lanes, where he was hit multiple times.

How he even got to the car pool lane on a busy freeway — let alone what he was doing there — is still to be determined. A lot of questions will have to be answered before this one makes any sense.

Meanwhile, a commenter describes coming on the scene in the immediate aftermath of the crash. But be warned, the description is very graphic; you may not want to read it.

 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jordan Ames and his loved ones.

Thanks to James Johnson of Johnson Attorneys Group for the heads-up.

Whittier rider dies of injuries suffered in Downey collision last month

Ghost bike in memory of Sal Sahagun; photo by Danny Gamboa

Ghost bike in memory of Sal Sahagun; photo by Danny Gamboa

Most bicycling collisions never make the news.

Even when they do, there’s seldom any follow-up. So we may never know if an injured rider made a full recovery or succumbed to his or her injuries days or weeks after the collision.

And no one other than a handful of people close to the victim will ever know.

That’s exactly what happened when a bike rider was critically injured in a collision with a big rig truck in Downey last month.

According to the Los Cerritos News, a 46-year old Whittier resident was hit while he was riding his bike at the intersection of Florence and Fairford Avenues around 8 am on Friday, April 25th. A satellite view shows a busy intersection leading to a freeway onramp, with heavy truck traffic visible in the photo.

No word on how the collision occurred; however, at that hour, he was most likely riding to work. The paper reports the driver was not charged, though the investigation was ongoing at the time.

Then no further word until someone reached out to the LACBC last week, asking for help in honoring a co-worker who had passed away recently after being injured in a collision on April 25th. However, they couldn’t find any information confirming the death, and reached out to me to see if I’d heard anything.

Sadly, that news came today, when a family member confirmed that Sal Sahagun has died of the injuries he suffered in that April 25th collision.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to get more details later.

This is the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Sal Sahagun and all his family and loved ones.

Thanks to Colin Bogart for the heads-up.

54-year old bike rider killed in Ramona collision

Sometimes it’s clear that something bad has happened.

But exactly what often isn’t clear for hours — or sometimes days — afterwards.

That’s what happened Wednesday morning when word broke of a serious collision involving a bike rider.

First reports from the CHP put the collision west of San Diego in El Cajon, then later reports placed it in Ramona — even though the two cities are miles from one another. That was followed by initial news reports in which a CHP spokesperson confirmed someone had died, but said it wasn’t clear if the victim was the cyclist or the driver.

It took until late Wednesday afternoon before it was clear what had really happened.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, 54-year old Ramona resident Juan Perez Alarcon rode out of a dirt driveway on Warnock Drive at San Vicente Road just before 6:30 Wednesday morning, and directly into the path of a westbound car traveling at 45 mph. Other reports place the collision a long block away at Warnock Drive and Keyser Road.

Alarcon died at the scene shortly after the collision, despite the efforts of the driver and two others to tend to him.

No explanation is given for why he was apparently unable to see the oncoming car or stop before entering the roadway. However, judging from the satellite view, it’s possible the driver could have rounded the corner at San Vicente and gotten up to speed before either had a chance to react, if he’d been driving aggressively.

The paper notes he was not wearing a helmet, but does not say if he suffered a head injury. A side impact at that speed is unlikely to be survivable, with or without a helmet.

This is the 41st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in San Diego County. He is also the third cyclist to be killed in Ramona, with a population of under 21,000, in the past four years.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Juan Alarcon and his family. 

Thanks to Marvin Davis for the heads-up. 

 

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