Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Update: 17-year old bike rider killed by DWP truck in Granada Hills

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Ghost Bike for Philo Ragni; all photos by Danny Gamboa

There’s something seriously wrong when a kid can’t even ride his bike home from school.

According to KTLA-5, a 17-year old boy was struck and killed by a DWP truck Wednesday afternoon, just a block away from John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, where he was a student. Other sources give his age as 16.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was riding south on Woodley Ave at San Fernando Mission Blvd when he was hit the northbound truck, driven by an electrical worker for the department. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

There’s no word on how the collision occurred; however, since it happened at an intersection while they were traveling in opposite directions, it suggests that one or the other may have been turning onto San Fernando Mission.

The station reports there were several bikes lying on a corner of the intersection following the wreck, one with a mangled front wheel.

And yes, the DWP did offer a brief statement of sympathy.

This is the fourth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Los Angeles County. It’s also the first in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year.

Update: KNBC-4 reports the victim was a senior at the school, and had been riding with a group of fellow students. However, the story is not online yet.

Update 2: KACB-7 has identified the victim as 17-year old Philo Ragni.

According to the station, the LAPD said the DWP truck was headed north on Woodley when a group of kids crossed the street going west on San Fernando Mission; no word on who had the right of way.

However, police report that a Metro bus was driving by at the time of the collision, and may have captured the collision on video.

Update 3: KCBS-2 contradicts the KABC report, suggesting that Ragni and his friends were riding south on Woodley when he suddenly turned across the path of the truck. The station says Ragni, whose given name was Philomene, was a popular student who friends say was always happy, though troubled by the recent death of his mother.

The station also reports he was not wearing a helmet; whether or not that is relevant depends on just what injuries he suffered, and whether or not the collision would have been survivable with one.

And I neglected to include earlier that the driver remained on the scene and was cooperating with investigators; he passed a sobriety test at the scene. He is said to be devastated by what happened.

Adding to the tragedy, KTLA-5 says Ragni died on his little brother’s birthday.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Philo Ragni and his loved ones.  

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Bike rider dies after January hit-and-run in West Covina; third bike rider killed in SoCal this year

And then there were three.

The San Gabriel Tribune reports that Emilio Simon, a 50-year old resident of West Covina, died Thursday after fighting for his life for nearly two weeks following a hit-and-run last month.

Simon was walking his bike in the middle of the block across Francisquito Ave just west of California Ave in West Covina around 8:10 pm on January 23rd when he was hit by a westbound SUV.

The driver fled south on Sunset Ave, apparently without stopping, leaving Simon suffering from severe injuries in the street.

The car was described as an older silver Jeep Grand Cherokee, 1997 to 2001; police said it may have damage to the front driver’s side.

Anyone with information is urged to call West Covina police at 626/939-8500, or 24-hour tip line at 626/939-8688.

Let’s catch this jerk.

This is the third bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in LA County; that compares to six in the county this time last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Emilio Simon and his family. 

Palm Desert bike rider killed in early morning collision; DUI suspected

We knew it couldn’t last.

After a rare month in which only one bike rider was killed anywhere in Southern California, another rider has lost his life on SoCal streets.

And just five miles from the site of last month’s tragedy in Palm Desert.

According to the Press-Enterprise, 51-year old Bermuda Dunes resident Todd Barajas was hit by a 2002 Porsche driven by Thomas Karl Doczi of Rancho Mirage at 2:18 am Saturday morning, on westbound Hovey Lane just west of Corporate Way.

No word on where Barajas’ bike was positioned on the roadway or how the collision occurred. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Doczi was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter; according to the Desert Sun, police suspect he may have been driving drunk.

This is just the second bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, compared to 13 this time last year. And it’s the second in both Palm Desert and Riverside County since the first of the year.

Remarkably, no bike riders have been killed anywhere else in Southern California since the end of last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Todd Barajas and all his loved ones.

 

Morning Links: January was a good month for SoCal cyclists, walkability survey and still more bike events

Good news for a change.

To the best of my knowledge, only one bike rider was killed anywhere in Southern California last month.

One.

That’s ten less than lost their lives in the seven county region last January. And significantly less than the average of 7.25 deaths in the month of January over the previous four years. In fact, it’s the first time since March of 2012 that only one bicyclist has been killed in any month.

It could be a statistical fluke.

Or it could be that improvements in infrastructure, education and enforcement, as well as the much-touted safety in numbers effect, are finally beginning to pay off.

Lets keep our fingers crossed. And hope this soon leads to a month, or even more, with zero deaths. Something that has never happened since I began tracking SoCal bicycling fatalities in mid-2010.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ve finally turned the corner. And are on our way to safer streets, not just for cyclists, but for everyone.

We can hope.

……….

If you’ve got a few minutes, CSUN sociology master’s student Elizabeth Bogumil could use your help answering a few questions on walkability and livability.

The anonymous survey is designed to examine the relationship between the ability to walk in a community and its quality of life.

Here’s my short answer. If you can’t walk — or bike — safely and enjoyably wherever you are, there’s no point in living there.

Period.

………

Still more upcoming bike events, in addition to Friday’s long list.

The LACBC is hosting a Northeast LA organizing workshop on Wednesday to discuss options, including bike lanes, for a five block stretch of North Figueroa.

Join Multicultural Communities for Mobility and the East LA Community Corporation this Saturday for the extensively named Equity in Motion Bici Tour: A Look at Transit Oriented Development in Boyle Heights.

Bike Talk and the Feminist Library on Wheels invite you to the February 22nd Open Books “Lost Cyclist” ride to three independent book stores, including a talk by bike historian David Herlihy.

Head down to San Diego County on March 7th for the St. Paddy’s Palomor Punishment ride up the area’s favorite hill climb.

Or head north on April 25th for the Wildflower Century through northeastern San Luis Obispo County, sponsored by the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club.

………

Local

The Times says the 3.5 pound, foldable Foldylock is serious about securing your bike. Then again, lock up your bike like they show in the photo, and you could kiss your wheels goodbye.

Santa Monica police arrest three 20-year old men with a truck load of stolen bikes.

Better Bike says file Beverly Hills’ dangerous Crescent Drive sharrows under C for crap facilities. Then again, that’s my take on most sharrows, anywhere.

The Glendale News-Press says not so fast on those ridiculous pedestrian crossing flags. Next they’ll expect us to wave a flag while we ride down the street.

An Azusa bike rider suffers serious injuries in a solo fall due to mechanical failure while apparently racing another rider. Yet somehow, the press seems to think the most important detail is that he might be a transient.

The Long Beach paper wants to know how the city treats its cyclists.

 

State

Laguna Beach installs five miles of sharrows in an attempt to route riders away from the Coast Highway.

Great idea. A San Diego program gives bikes refurbished by prison inmates to ex-offenders so they have reliable transportation while they transition back into society.

San Francisco’s SAFE Bikes program takes credit for a 20% drop in bike thefts in the city.

 

National

The Verge asks if it’s time for the Feds to mandate software to disable mobile phones while driving. That would be yes. Or maybe hell yes.

The US imported over $1.3 billion worth of bicycles through November of last year, compared to $140 billion worth of motor vehicles; then again, bikes are a lot cheaper.

A Phoenix man pleads not guilty to murdering murdering two bike riding women in the early ‘90s.

A petition calling for a three-foot passing distance in Wyoming gains over 1,000 signatures in just two days; the organization sponsoring it is named for one of the state’s fallen riders.

A Delaware website calls for boycotting the conservative Koch brothers over their opposition to funding active transportation and transit projects. Unfortunately, given the huge size and reach of their holdings, that would be almost impossible; a better tactic would be to pick one Koch company to target.

A US sailor chases her Olympic dreams in Miami, just months after suffering serious injuries while bicycling; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

 

International

Bike riders Tweet about how they got into cycling. My origin story begins with a matinee showing of Breaking Away in a nearly empty theater, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

More people are riding bikes in London than ever before, while the Independent offers tips on how the city can keep the momentum going; actually, it’s good advice anywhere.

Famed Italian automotive designer Pininfarina jumps on the bike bandwagon. Nice try, but it doesn’t even come close to the world’s most beautiful bike, at least not in my humble opinion.

FC Barcelona looks back at the first great Spanish cycling champion, who wore the football (aka soccer) club’s colors when they had a bike team early in the last century.

A young South African cyclist offers bike tours through one of Johannesburg’s oldest townships; after less than five years, his company is now rated as one of the top five activities in the city.

Aussie great Cadel Evans calls it a career, while his countryman discovers attempting to set a new hour record really hurts.

 

Finally…

Here’s how LA can close its budget deficit; an Australian city collects nearly $50,000 in just four months by fining drivers who park in bike lanes. A Canadian cyclist uses his bike to fend off a charging cougar; I’ve used a similar technique to defend against angry drivers.

And a British ad encourages cab drivers to get a dash cam in case they run over a cyclist. Yeah, like that would ever happen.

 

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.

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‘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.

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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

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