Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Update: West Covina bicyclist killed in (alleged) drunken late-night hit-and-run

For once, there was a cop around when he was needed.

Unfortunately, it came too late for a bike rider in West Covina last night.

Multiple sources are reporting that a bicyclist was killed in a high-speed hit-and-run just before midnight, and the allegedly drunken driver arrested moments later just a few blocks away.

Forty-four-year old La Puente resident Jose De Jesus Ruiz-Villanueva was riding his bike north on the 1100 block of South Valinda Avenue, just above Merced Avenue, at 11:49 pm when he was hit from behind by a car traveling at a high rate of speed.

A police officer who was writing a report at nearby Melinda Elementary School heard the collision, and gave chase as the driver sped away, he stopped the car on Cameron Ave, where he noticed substantial damage to the vehicle.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, a second officer went back to the scene, and found Ruiz-Villanueva dead at the scene.

The paper reports he had been on his way to work when he was killed.

Police arrested 25-year old Presley Danielle Rodriguez of Glendora on suspicion of felony driving under the influence causing great bodily injury or death and felony hit-and-run. She was booked on $100,000 bail.

Unfortunately, this occurred in Los Angeles County, where cases like this are usually plea bargained away, leaving the drivers to face little or no jail time.

This is the 64th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 25th in Los Angeles County.

Eight of those 25 deaths have been hit-and-runs.

Update: The driver, Presley Danielle Rodriguez, faces up to 15 years in prison on charges of hit-and-run and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. And for a change, the court appears to be taking this case seriously, increasing her bond to $150,000, $50,000 more than prosecutors requested.

The SGV Tribune reports Ruiz-Villanueva was on his way to work at A-1 Power Sweeping Co in Baldwin Park; his bicycle was his only form of transportation. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jose De Jesus Ruiz-Villanueva and his family. 

Update: Twelve-year old Oceanside boy killed in collision with pickup while riding his bike to school

Sometimes you just want to scream.

A 12-year old Oceanside boy is dead, evidently because a driver neglected to look both ways before pulling out of a driveway.

According to multiple sources, the victim apparently struck the side of the driver’s pickup as he pulled out of an RV park driveway at 1510 South Coast Highway at 7:03 this morning.

The Seaside Courier reports the driver was turning left onto the Coast Highway when he heard a thump on the side of his truck. He made a U-turn into another driveway, and got out to find the victim lodged under his rear tire.

The boy’s bike was lying nearby, as other drivers helped guide the truck off of him, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. He was flown to Tri-City Hospital, but died a few minutes later.

Despite a lack of witnesses, police suspect the victim was riding against traffic in the bike lane, while on his way to a nearby school.

However, even if he had been riding the wrong way, he should have been clearly visible unless the driver neglected to look to his right as he prepared to pull into the center turn lane.

It’s also possible that the boy would have survived if the driver had simply stopped when he heard the thump, which was most likely the sound of his bike hitting the side of the truck.

A 12-year old boy is unlikely to have been riding fast enough to suffer significant, let alone life threatening, injuries by colliding with the side of the pickup. It’s probable that the fatal injuries were caused when the driver made his U-turn with the boy trapped underneath.

This is the 63rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th in San Diego County.

Update: The victim has been identified as Logan Lipton, a champion surfer who loved skateboarding and frequently rode to school. 

Tragically, though, his uncle says he was unusually apprehensive about going to school his bike on Thursday.

Update 2: A comment below from Barbara says the driver is a bicyclist himself, and is very torn up about this, which is only natural. 

She also says that he didn’t see Logan on his bike because the sun was just beginning to rise.

However, even at that early hour, there should still be enough light to see. And the sun could not have been in the driver’s eyes because the street runs north and south, and he would have been facing west. 

We can sympathize with the driver; something like this must be devastating to live with. But it’s far worse for Logan’s parents, family and friends.

It’s entirely possible that Logan may bear some responsibility for what happened if it can be shown that he really was riding against traffic. And he would have been more visible with a light at that early hour, if he didn’t have one on his bike.

But let’s not forget that cars are big, dangerous machines, and it only takes a momentary lapse in attention to have life altering consequences. 

Update 3: A gofundme account has been started to help the family pay for funeral expenses; Logan’s father is a Carlsbad police officer.

He was honored by his fellow surfers with a paddle out on Sunday.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Logan Lipton and all his family and friends.



Bicyclist killed in Compton collision

More bad news, as a Compton bike rider was killed in a collision Monday morning.

According to the Press-Telegram, the victim, identified only as a man in his 30s, was riding north on Compton Ave around 6:30 am when he was struck by a vehicle driving east on El Segundo Blvd.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver remained at the site following the collision.

A satellite view shows a signalized intersection with four lanes in each direction, with a center left turn lane; Compton narrows to two lanes south of El Segundo.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 62nd bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 24th in Los Angeles County.

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

Update: Bike rider dies following wrong way collision in Boyle Heights last week

Word is just coming in that another bike rider has died after being hospitalized following a collision.

Last week EGP News reported that a bike rider had undergone surgery after suffering major injuries while riding in Boyle Heights.

The victim was riding against traffic on westbound Fourth Street near South Mission Road around 10:15 pm on Monday, October 12th when he was hit head-on; the driver remained at the scene.

An email from his niece identifies the victim as Adolfo “J.R.” Haro. The family just learned of the collision and his death because he was not carrying identification.

She also reports the driver was speeding.

A vigil will be held and a ghost bike installed at 6:30 tonight.

This is the 61st bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 23rd in Los Angeles County; it’s also the 10th bicycling death in the City of Los Angeles.

Update: An LAPD officer reports that Haro was walking his bike in the streets against traffic, rather than riding, even though there was a sidewalk he could have been using.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Adolfo “J.R.” Haro and his family.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Morning Links: gofundme for HB bike victim, bike lane and salmon cyclist signs in Santa Ana, and more CicLAvia

A gofundme account has been set up for the victim in last week’s Huntington Beach bicycling collision, who passed away over the weekend.

I’m told that his name won’t be officially released until his parents can arrive here from Mexico to identify the body.


Last week, our Orange County correspondent mentioned in passing that she’d spotted what looked like the initial markings for a bike lane near the Santa Ana courthouse.

Now Mike Wilkinson sends confirmation that the lanes are going in. Along with signs telling salmon cyclists to turn around.

Santa-Ana-bike-lane-1 Santa-Ana-bike-lane-2


A reader writes to share her post-CicLAvia experience with an aggressive driver.

CicLAvia was its usually flurry of fantasticness that was over too soon. By 3pm, I was already commiserating with a friend about jonesing until the next one! You know the feeling, kind of like late Christmas morning.

But. But then. CicLAvia was over. And the road closures had created hordes of people operating vehicles under the influence of rage which doesn’t subside immediately when those barricades come down.

I was mashing westbound on 3rd Street, approaching Olive and minding the countdown timer. Despite what I, as a slowpokey old woman, consider a scary amount of speed, there’d be no time for me to clear the green. I braked at the yellow. The sedan behind me did not. Instead, the driver passed me on the left and shot into the Third Street Tunnel. How he didn’t sideswipe the vehicle in the designated left turn lane, I will never know.

Technically, the driver didn’t hit me; he hit the cardboard Militant Angeleno crossbucks protruding from under the flap of my Chrome bag. There was a single, loud THWIP as the cardboard bent and smacked my left flank. I knew immediately that my art project had been damaged, but didn’t feel the welt forming until I’d cleared the tunnel, and couldn’t pull off my dress to verify until I got home. The wound can barely even be called that; it’s just superficial, no broken skin and it won’t scar.

If I hadn’t already had a bad feeling about this driver, I would have been in the middle of the lane, exactly where I was supposed to be. I’d be writing this from the hospital, or not at all.

And no, I didn’t report it. I was hot and sweaty and tired, and had no information to give the police. I’m not even certain of the driver’s gender. “Mid-sized silver-grey sedan, last seen heading west.” Yeah, that’s helpful. Besides, the LAPD has made it crystal clear that hit and runs are too difficult to investigate, and an incident so minor that it doesn’t warrant reporting will serve only to divert resources away from solvable crimes. Also, I didn’t feel like explaining to an officer who should already know that it’s 100% legal for a cyclist to be in the left lane at that location. I was on a one way street and fixing to turn left onto Flower, and even in a car it’s fucking suicide to try to get over into the left lane. In the tunnel it’s impossible, and upon emerging, the two lanes immediately split into five.

Earlier in the day, I’d gotten rear-ended at the Mandatory Dismount Zone, and that collision was merely hilarious. It would’ve been awesome to have a rear-facing camera to have recorded the expression on the apologetic perpetrator’s face! But alas.

At least the event was fun from start to finish!



KPCC recaps Sunday’s 5th Anniversary CicLAvia, where a good time was had by all.

The LA Times notes that thousands of cyclists, skaters and pedestrians turned out, but still insists on calling CicLAvia a bike festival.

The Times also seems shocked that white people would support the Black Lives Matter movement at CicLAvia. Wait. Who says CicLAvia is a liberal event? Or do they suppose that conservatives would never set foot on a bike, let alone set foot on foot?

CiclaValley offers a good summation of Sunday’s CicLAvia. Seriously, does anyone realize just how hard it is keeping all those damned internal caps straight?

Getting people out of their cars and onto feet and bikes at CicLAvia not only improves moods, it results in a noticeable reduction in air pollution, according to a UCLA study.

And yes, there will be another CicLAvia, although you may have to wait awhile, as it returns to the Valley next March.

In non-CicLAvia-related news, KPCC looks at LA’s ban on locking bikes to parking meters, which is largely ignored by riders and cops alike, and how the ban could be lifted in Westwood to address the area’s acute shortage of safe bike racks.



A San Diego salmon cyclist is lucky to survive a head-on collision with just a broken arm after reportedly veering out into traffic; police suspect she may have been drinking.

BikeSD’s Sam Ollinger tells the story of the organization’s birth and its efforts to create a world-class bicycling city.

Injuries have tapered off at a Marin County bike park six weeks after opening.



Volkswagen cheats on emissions tests, and USA Cycling could pay the price. And at the same time the group is getting competition, no less.

Unbelievable. A driver flees the scene after killing a Utah handcyclist, and will have charges dismissed in just 36 months if he pays a measly $2500 in court fees and writes an apology to the victim’s family. Evidently, life is really cheap in the Beehive State.

A pair of mountain bikers ride into a dispute over overuse of wild trails in their attempt to ride all the rideable Colorado mountains over 14,000 feet elevation.

A Kansas letter writer insists that highways are meant for cars, and there’s nowhere to pass groups on cyclists who take the lane on the one he drives, even though it has both a right lane and a left lane.

A Houston bike rider gets screwed twice; once by a deputy constable who hit him while responding to a call, and again by a law that limits his compensation to just $100,000, forcing him to pay his medical expenses out of pocket.

A Texas bike rider called both 911 and his wife before passing out after suffering five fractured ribs, a broken left fibula, a partially collapsed lung and some nasty road rash when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver.

Congratulations to Anderson IN, which just conducted a road diet to give the city its first bike lanes. Although that’s got to be the widest damn center turn lane I’ve ever seen.

A Massachusetts driver is charged with fleeing the scene after killing a motorized bike rider he described as a dear friend; he reportedly got out and looked at his friend before driving off, promising a witness he’d be right back.



Six large international cycling events team together to form the World Association of Cycling Events. Yet somehow, they leave out CicLAvia, which should serve as proof to the Times that it isn’t a just bike event.

A British driver suffering from sleep apnea was told by his doctor not to drive the day before he killed a bicyclist.

There’s a special place in hell for the thieves who stole a British boy’s bike while he was being treated by paramedics after falling off a scooter.

Dublin thieves steal 14 bikes a day.

A 12-year old Australian boy is the latest bike rider to suffer a slashed neck because some asshole — and I use the term advisedly — strung a rope across a trail. Note to The Age: Attempting to decapitate someone by stringing a rope between two trees may be a lot of things, but a prank, it ain’t.

An Aussie developer rejects claims that an improved bikeway will encourage investment along the corridor. After all, that’s only been shown to work around the world, so why would anyone expect it to work there?

An Australian writer insists the Dutch don’t go far enough to make cities bike friendly, and that urban centers should be redesigned to make bikes the default mode of transportation.

An 18-year old British bike rider passes through Thailand four months after leaving London on an around the world journey.



You could ride your next bike lying down. Or maybe you’d prefer a chainless bike with the seat set next to the handlebars. Or you could build a one-of-a-kind bicycle that’s like no other, except it looks suspiciously like a lot of other four-wheel pedal cars.

And a Brit writer criticizes cyclists for unfairly criticizing her for unfairly criticizing cyclists. But not all cyclists.

Got that?


Update: Road raging driver intentionally kills bike rider in Exposition Park hit-and-run

KABC-7 is reporting that a bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run near LA’s Exposition Park Thursday morning.

The collision occurred around 9 am near South Vermont Ave and West 39th Place, which places it just west of the Coliseum.

No information is available on the victim or how it happened at this time.

The suspect vehicle is a silver or white full-size SUV with a male driver, last seen making a left turn onto 39th. The vehicle may have a broken driver’s side mirror.

That suggests the collision took place on northbound Vermont at or before 39th. A satellite view shows a four-lane street on Vermont with a median and center turn lane, while 39th is an undivided two-lane street.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD.

This is the 58th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 23rd in Los Angeles County; it’s also the ninth in the City of LA.

Three of of those deaths in LA, and seven in the county, have been hit-and-runs.

Update: KTLA-5 identifies the victim as a 35-year old man, and places the location across the street from 3833 S. Vermont Ave, next to a bus stop

The report also says the driver was last seen fleeing north on Vermont, rather than turning onto 39th, as the initial report indicated.

Update 2: It gets worse. According to KABC-7, the driver intentionally ran down the victim following an argument over who had the right of way. 

A witness to the crash reports the victim had attempted to cross Vermont against the light while the driver had the right-of-way, leading to an argument between the two. 

The driver, who must have gotten out of his SUV, pushed the rider over before threatening to run over him.

Then he apparently got back in his car, and did exactly that.

That makes this murder, rather than just hit-and-and. As if that isn’t bad enough.

Update 3: The City of Los Angeles offers a standing $50,000 reward for any fatal hit-and-run. 

Update 4: KNBC-4 reports the victim’s bicycle is missing; however, the story is not online yet.

Update 5: I’m told a ghost bike will be placed at the scene at 6:30 pm tonight (Thursday).

Update 6: A report on KTLA-5 indicates that both the victim and the driver were headed north on Vermont before the altercation. They also report that vehicle may be a domestic SUV, and that the driver sped off with the bike still stuck underneath, which explains why it wasn’t found at the scene.

Update 7: Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD’s South Traffic Division at 323/421-2577.

Update 8: According to My News LA, an arrest was made in this case four days after the incident, but apparently no public announcement was made. 

Thirty-one-year old Andrew Williams has been held on $1 million bond in the death of Ruben Wharton Vanegas, who had not been previously identified. 

Williams was scheduled to be arraigned on felony counts of murder and hit-and-run on Wednesday, November 4th; he faces 25 to life upon conviction. 

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

Update: Bike rider killed by apparent drunk driver in Lake Elsinore

There’s no excuse. Period.

According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, a bike rider has died as the result of a collision with an allegedly drunk driver in Lake Elsinore.

The victim, identified only as a 21-year old man from Murrieta, was riding on Railroad Canyon Road south of Summerhill Drive around 8:58 pm Friday, when he was hit from behind by a 75-year old driver.

Police arrested the driver at the scene after concluding that she had been drinking.

The bicyclist was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died the following day.

The press release does not say how far below Summerhill the collision occurred, or which direction they were traveling.

A satellite view shows two lanes headed south, with a right turn leading onto a freeway onramp, and an optional right turn from the center lane. Northbound, there are three lanes, with an additional two left turn lanes leading onto the freeway, and a double left at Summerhill, along with a right-turn only lane.

Nearly 30 people are killed by drunk drivers in the US every day, at a cost to society of over $59 billion dollars a year.

The cost to their loved ones is beyond measure.

There is simply no excuse for getting behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs. Ever. If you think you’re okay to drive, you’re not. And someone else is likely to pay the price.

This is the 57th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh in Riverside County.

Update: The Press-Enterprise has identified the victim as Murrieta resident Mark Heigel. The story reports the 75-year old driver who killed him, Thelma Jeanette Trachy, was released from jail Saturday.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Officer Roberge at 951/776-1099 or sheriff’s dispatch at 951/776-1099.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mark Heigel and his loved ones.

Update: Bike rider killed in apparent Sante Fe Springs train collision

Word is just coming in that a bike rider was killed in Sante Fe Springs today.

The Whittier Police Department tweeted at 2:49 this afternoon that their officers were investigating the death of a bicyclist at the railroad intersection of Rosecrans and Marquardt.

No other details are available at this time.

The implication is that he or she was hit by a train, but that has not been confirmed yet.

Henry Fung writes that the train tracks run diagonal to the streets at that intersection, and the warning gates are placed prior to the intersection, rather than next to the tracks. So it could be possible for a rider to be inside the gates when they come down, and not see the warning before a train comes.

This is the 56th bicycling fatality this year, and the 22nd in Los Angeles County.

Update: The Whittier Daily News reports the victim, identified only as a man, was riding north along Rosecrans around 2:45 pm when he slipped between the crossing arms, and was struck by a freight train.

Let this serve as a reminder to never, ever go around, under or through railroad crossing arms. They’re down for a reason.

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

Update: Bicyclist found dead in Cathedral City hit-and-run Saturday night

The local TV station calls it an accident.

A better description would be the actions of a heartless coward with a callous indifference to human life.

Or maybe just murder.

According to the Desert Sun, the body of an unidentified bicyclist was found lying in the roadway on Dinah Shore Drive in Cathedral City around 9 pm Saturday. It was clear he had been hit by a car.

KESQ-TV reports that the victim, identified only as a man in his late 30s or early 40s, was found on the westbound side of Dinah Shore just west of Whispering Palms on the Dinah Shore Bridge. His bike was found 50 feet away in the median on the eastbound side of the road.

There were no apparent witnesses, and no description of the car or driver at this time.

A satellite view shows a four lane roadway with a center divider west of Whispering Palms. Based on the limited description, there’s no way to tell which direction the victim was riding, whether he was on Dinah Shore or attempting to cross it.

There’s no speed limit sign visible in the street view; however, the distance his body was apparently thrown would suggest he was hit at a high rate of speed.

There’s also no way of knowing whether he might have survived if the driver had stopped and called for help as the law, and basic human decency, requires.

This is the 55th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Riverside County. That compares with 69 in Southern California this time last year, and six in the county.

Update: The victim has been identified as 37-year old Sergio Reynoso; a gofundme account has been established to help pay funeral expenses. The driver reportedly turned himself in on Tuesday, which would have given him or her plenty of time to sober up.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Sergio Reynoso and his loved ones.

Update: Unidentified woman killed in Orange collision while riding in crosswalk

It’s been a bad two days for Southern California bike riders.

According to the Orange County Register, a woman was killed as she was riding her bike in a crosswalk in the city of Orange Sunday evening.

The unidentified victim was crossing the street at the intersection of West Chapman Avenue and North Flower Street shortly after 6 pm when she was struck by a man driving a full-size pickup. She was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where she passed away nearly 45 minutes later.

The paper reports the driver cooperated with investigators, and was sober at the time of the collision.

There’s no word on who had the right-of-way or which street the victim was crossing, or what direction the truck was traveling. A satellite view shows a two-lane street with a left turn lane on Fowler and six lanes with a left turn lane on Chapman, with crosswalks in each direction.

This is the 54th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 13th in Orange County. It’s also the third SoCal bicycling death in less than 22 hours.

Update: Comments from Bill Sellin identify her as Kathleen “Kat” Walker, a homeless woman who lived in the nearby Santa Ana river bed. 

He goes on to explain that as she rode in the crosswalk against traffic, she would not have had enough time to make it across all seven lanes if she didn’t push the button for the pedestrian crossing signal. In addition, the sun would have been facing the oncoming traffic close to sunset, making her difficult to see.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Kathleen Walker and her family. 

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