Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Update: Bike rider killed in collision with Metro bus in LA’s Hyde Park neighborhood

For the second time in less than two weeks, a bike rider has been killed in a collision with a Metro bus.

According to KCBS-2, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was hit by the bus around 3:15 pm Monday near Crenshaw Boulevard and Brynhurst Avenue. He or she became pinned underneath, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Unfortunately, no other details are available at this time.

A street view shows two lanes in each direction on Crenshaw, with the street narrowed due to construction on the Crenshaw Line on the center median.

This comes just ten days after 13-year old Ciara Smith was killed when she was hit by a Metro bus in Redondo Beach.

This is the 21st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 12th in Los Angeles County; it’s also the third in the City of Los Angeles.

Update: David Wolfberg provides more information about this tragedy, along with photos from the site. 

The ghost bike was placed last night.  We learned from after-the-crash witnesses that the bike and victim had been dragged for half a block on southbound Crenshaw before stopping just north of Brynhurst – literally between a billboard for a personal injury attorney service to the north on the east side of Crenshaw (“Don’t wait, Call 8!” you can see on the street view) and the Harrison-Ross Mortuary on the west/south.    Apparently there’s also a pedestrian & bike safety billboard on the other side of of the personal injury one – I’ll check that tonight.
The Google Map view (see street view link above) from January still holds except the cones are gone – so, two lanes of not so great pavement between curb and k-rails.  There’s even a worn out sharrow in front of Highly Favored Hair Studio.  Last night, instead of slowing down for a construction zone, cars were speeding and speeding up as they passed us, and we nearly witnessed another crash as a car stopped just north of the ghost bike to pick up a passenger from the sidewalk.  I worry not just for cyclists, but for everyone here including construction workers who park (in a heavily guarded lot) a block down on the NW corner of Crenshaw and 48th then must cross into the construction area.
We’re told the victim was male.   A reply on NextDoor indicates the victim was a minor.  We had guessed, given the timing, that it was a kid biking home from school.  I don’t want to speculate too much, but it did not look like an intersection crash where the bike flew in from out of nowhere.  I could picture a rider trying to hug the curb and coming across the rough patch adjacent to the sharrow (check street view at 4427 Crenshaw) and faltering in front of the bus.

Update: According to a comment by the victim’s sister, his name is Luis Alvarez, a 21-year old resident of Cicero, Illinois. The family has started a GoFundMe account to bring him back home and pay funeral expenses. 

According to the LAPD’s South Traffic bike liaison, Alvarez apparently passed the bus on the right, then was hit by the bus when he attempted to move back to the right to make a right turn onto Brynhurst. There’s no word yet on whether the bus was stopped or moving prior to the crash; however, a street view does not show a bus stop on that corner. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Luis Alvarez and all his loved ones.

 

Update: San Bernardino bike rider killed in early Sunday morning collision; few details currently available

A man was killed riding his bicycle early Sunday morning in San Bernardino.

In a news story that amounted to little more than a retyping of the Coroner’s press release, the San Bernardino Sun reports that 52-year old San Bernardino resident Dennis Joseph Urquijo was hit by a vehicle of some sort around 2:48 am on the 1100 block of 39th Street.

He was pronounced dead just 11 minutes later.

The paper offers no other details, and reports that it’s unclear whether the driver remained at the scene. There’s no word on how the collision occurred, whether the victim had lights on his bike, or whether either party had been drinking at that hour.

A street view shows what appears to be a quiet residential street coming off a T-intersection with Harrison Street.

This is the 20th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Bernardino County. He is also the seventh bike rider killed in the City of San Bernardino in the past five years.

Update: The Sun reports Urquijo was struck from behind while riding west along the curb line on 39th; the driver fled the scene, leaving his victim to die in the street.  

Anyone with information is urged to call the San Bernardino police at 909/384-5791.

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

 

Bike rider killed in Oxnard DUI collision; driver reportedly high on prescription drugs

More bad news.

The Ventura County Star is reporting that a 46-year old man was killed when his bike was rear-ended by a van in Oxnard.

Forty-six-year old Oxnard resident Amado Ray Johnson was riding on the dirt shoulder of southbound Victoria Avenue north of Gum Tree Street around 3 pm Tuesday when the driver drifted off the road and struck him from behind.

He died at the scene.

The driver, identified as Ventura County resident Sean Patrick Donovan, was arrested on site for vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of prescription drugs.

A street view shows a divided roadway with three southbound lanes and a left turn lane, with what appears to be a macadam shoulder.

This is the 19th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Ventura County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Amado Ray Johnson and all his loved ones. 

Thanks to Anthony Navarro for the heads-up. 

Update: Altadena bike rider dies weeks after an apparent solo fall, possibly caused by old-style speed bumps

Correction: New information changes the location of this crash, meaning the old-style speed bumps were not the cause of this crash. See the update at the end of this story for the latest details. 

An experienced bike rider has died two weeks after he fell on an Altadena street.

The victim was reportedly riding on Holliston Ave when he fell due to rubber speed bumps a little over two weeks ago.

The man, identified on Facebook as Dick Wood, was reportedly conscious immediately following the fall, and identified the older-style speed bumps as the cause of his crash.

The exact date and location of the fall are unclear at this time. However, someone who lives on North Holliston confirms that there are rubber speed bumps on the lower section of the roadway.

Wood was described by numerous sources as a very experienced and well-liked rider in his 70s who had ridden across the US and participated with the weekly ROC ride at Stan’s Bike Shops when it was located in Monrovia; it has since moved to Azusa.

It’s speculated that he somehow lost control of his bike and hit the speed bumps before going over his handlebars, but that is unconfirmed at this time.

This is the 18th confirmed bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th in Los Angeles County. Five of those have been the result of solo falls; that compares with two for all of last year.

Update: I have been informed that Wood is believed to have fallen on Holliston below New York Ave. A street view shows an odd speed bump made of what appears to be rubber tiles on the street south of New York; while there appear to be channels in the speed bump, it looks like a high bump that could easily upset a bike if the rider missed the channels for whatever reason. 

Photo courtesy of Ellen Steel

He reportedly was alone at the time of the crash, and died of head trauma this past Saturday. He’s described as a very experienced rider who had ridden across the US more than once.

Update: A comment from a local resident places the site of the crash as Holliston Avenue between Altadena Drive & Mendocino Avenue; a ghost bike has been placed at 2401 N. Holliston, one block above Mendocino. 

As he notes, these appear to be modern speed cushions, which are lower and longer than the old speed bumps, with grooves that should have allowed safe passage of a bicycle.

It’s hard to understand how these would have caused the crash, as Wood reportedly said. 

Meanwhile, another source says that he passed away on Saturday, May 6th.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Dick Wood and all his family and loved ones.

Thanks to Carlos Morales, Wesley Reutimann, Tim Rutt and Ellen Steel for helping with this story.

Morning Links: Idaho Stop Law dead for this year, and 13-year old may have died due to misaligned handicap ramps

So much for that.

A California version of the Idaho Stop Law that would have allowed bicyclists to treat stop signs as yields is dead on arrival at the state legislature.

The bill’s sponsor, Big Bear Assembly Member Jay Obernolte, pulled AB 1103 off the docket following a harsh review at its first committee hearing on Monday in the face of opposition from the usual auto-centric suspects, who can’t seem to grasp that it only legalizes what most bike riders have done for decades.

And the sky hasn’t fallen yet.

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KCBS-2 reports classmates of Ciara Smith wore bright colors to school today to honor the 13-year old girl killed by a Metro bus in Redondo Beach on Friday.

At least one parent blames her death on misaligned crosswalks, which are a result of the single diagonal handicap ramp, rather than two separate ramps that would line up with the crosswalks. In order to turn or cross the street, her bike would have angled out into PCH, exposing her to traffic.

Fatally, in this case.

Which means the city could be ultimately responsible for placing a higher priority on reducing costs rather than improving safety.

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This year, the annual Ride of Silence to remember fallen cyclists falls right in the middle of next week’s Bike Week, between Tuesday’s Blessing of the Bicycles and Thursday’s Bike to Work Day.

There will be two Los Angeles rides this year, the traditional Pasadena Ride of Silence beginning at the Rose Bowl, and a new North Hollywood ride sponsored by the LACBC beginning at the Metro station.

There will also be rides in Orange, Ventura and Riverside Counties, so you’re likely to find one near you.

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No doubt feeling the need to get a jump on LA, the Bay Area will celebrate its Bike to Work Day this Thursday, with 10,000 people expected to participate.

Meanwhile, OC will celebrate with Bike to School Day tomorrow, Bike to Work Day next Tuesday, and a Bike Rally next Thursday.

You can find a calendar of LA-area Bike Month events on the Metro website, while the LACBC offers their own very crowded Bike Month map.

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Still more in the ongoing CD1 saga.

LA Downtown News says Joe Bray-Ali has a chance in next week’s CD1 election, even if it’s a million-to-one.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman uses the Bray-Ali story to challenge bike and safety advocates to examine our own biases, saying the approaches and narratives of the Livable Streets community can silence voices on the margins.

And there’s something seriously wrong when the incumbent blocks the LA Times transportation writer on Twitter for no apparent reason.

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If you’ve been watching the Giro, you may have wondered about those black sticks under the rider’s seats.

The ex-winner of the 2005 Vuelta will get his title back, along with $794,000, after Spanish courts threw out his positive test for EPO.

Chris Froome’s high-speed tuck may not be aerodynamic as everyone thought.

Newcomers won the Redlands Bicycle Classic in a pair of upsets. And speaking of upsets, this RBC rider probably was when a drone sent him over the handlebars.

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Local

Metro’s long-delayed Hollywood Bike Hub is finally scheduled to open next Friday.

Streetsblog reports on Downey’s three-mile open streets event this past Sunday, while Rancho Cucamonga is hosting their own open streets even this Saturday.

 

State

Newport Beach will be conducting a pair of bike and pedestrian safety enforcement days on Wednesday the 17th and Monday the 22nd. By now you know the drill; ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

San Diego is facing another lawsuit from a man injured while riding his bicycle on a broken sidewalk, just weeks after paying out $4.85 million to settle a similar case.

Oakland cuts the ribbon on the city’s first protected bike lane. Or rather, make that its first curb-protected lane.

Another Sacramento bike rider was bitten by a leashed dog on the American River Parkway, after a rider was bitten by a loose dog from a homeless encampment last week.

 

National

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 80-year old Idaho man plans to ride 100 miles in a charity ride this Sunday; he didn’t take up riding until five years ago following a double knee replacement. Then again, I’d settle for being able to ride 80 miles when I’m 100.

A Denver bike cop will retire, less than a year after he finally was able to return to work following critical injuries when he was hit and dragged half a block by a driver who suffered a seizure.

Denver drivers are up in arms over a nine-second delay in travel times due to a new road diet and protected bike lanes on a major commuting corridor, as the city reprioritizes its transportation policies to make room for everyone. This should be required reading for everyone at LADOT, the city council and the mayor’s office.

No bias here. An Omaha NE bike rider gets the blame for crashing into a police cruiser whose driver apparently cut him off on the sidewalk.

The LAPD officers participating in the first Hollywood Memorial Ride to honor fallen officers have made it to Nashville TN.

A New York writer describes what it’s like to join 32,000 other riders in a one-day journey through all five of the city’s boroughs.

A Brooklyn judge has ruled that a bike-riding lawyer can proceed with his case against the city following a crash with a pedestrian on the Brooklyn Bridge.

A Louisiana driver is brought to justice by another bike-riding lawyer in the first application of the state’s anti-harassment law. Los Angeles has had an anti-harassment measure on the books for nearly six years, but I’m not sure if anyone has actually used it, let alone received a settlement.

 

International

No justice in the death of rising Canadian cyclist Ellen Watters, who was killed in a collision during a training ride last December.

A Toronto writer says Vision Zero won’t become reality because it’s written in a report, but only when it’s written in the streets.

British bike historian Carlton Reid uses Google Street View to rediscover the country’s lost and abandoned WWII era bike paths.

A writer for the Guardian comes to terms with the death of famed endurance cyclist Mike Hall, counting himself among the lucky ones to have been inspired by him.

The Philippines has a five point action plan to cut traffic deaths in half by 2020. Oddly, reducing driving rates isn’t one of them.

 

Finally…

The world may be coming to an end, but at least your bike has less bacteria than what passes for a bike at the local spin club. If you’re already high, carrying a controlled substance and riding the bike you just stole, maybe you should try obeying the damn traffic laws.

And who needs toilet plungers for a DIY protected bike lane when you’ve people?

 

Update: Teenage girl killed by Metro bus on PCH in Redondo Beach

Southern California’s killer highway has claimed another victim. And a lack of bicycle infrastructure may be at least partially to blame.

According to the Daily Breeze, a 13-year old girl, who has not been publicly identified, was riding her bike with a friend when she somehow swerved in front of, or into, a Metro bus around 5:40 pm on Pacific Coast Highway at Knob Hill Ave in Redondo Beach.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The paper reports a witness said she swerved in front of the bus, while initial reports suggest she rode into the side of the bus, according to a Metro spokesperson. The bus was operated by a subcontractor, MV Transportation, rather than Metro itself.

However, the South Bay’s Easy Reader, which places the time of the crash as 4:40 pm, cites a local business owner who says the girls were coasting their bicycles along the sidewalk before riding out into traffic.

They also note that the collision was partially captured on security camera, while observing that the bus had the green light as it approached Knob Hill on southbound PCH.

The other girl was unharmed.

A street view shows a commercial roadway on PCH with two lanes in each direction and a center left turn lane, with a wide sidewalk along side.

Meanwhile, a Twitter photo on the KTLA-5 report shows the victim’s bike resting on the curb on the northwest corner, while police blockade the center Knob Hill alongside PCH, suggesting she may have ridden off the handicapped ramp into the intersection. However, it’s unclear how that would have placed her in the path of the bus.

The lack of safe bicycling infrastructure on PCH may have contributed to the crash by encouraging the girls to ride on the sidewalk instead of the street, where they would have been more visible to the driver. And may not have had to dart into the path of the bus.

This is the 17th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in Los Angeles County. And while it’s at least the fifth bicycling fatality in Redondo Beach since 2010, it’s the first in the last five years.

Update: The victim has been identified as 13-year old Ciara Smith of Redondo Beach, a student at Parras Middle School. 

Update 2: The community turns out to mourn her death.

Update 3: KCBS-2 reports the crash may have been a result of misaligned crosswalks due to the single diagonal cut handicap ramp, rather than two separate ramps aligned with the crosswalk. 

Some of her classmates brought flowers and wore bright clothes in her favorite colors of teal, mint green and blue.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ciara Smith and all her family and loved ones.

Morning Links: Bicycling examines our deadly streets, Bike Month heats up, and Bray-Ali story travels the globe

Bicycling Magazine gets it.

No, really.

The magazine that’s long been criticized for its focus on spandex-clad road cycling has dug deep into the safety crisis on our streets, for a June issue focused on the dangers riders face and the failure of the legal system to protect us.

They even got the headline right — This Has Got to Stop!

Their examination is highlighted by a survey of bike riders conducted on the magazine’s website, which includes the following key points:

  • 32% have been hit by a motor vehicle (me too)
  • 61% of urban riders have been doored (yep)
  • 89% of respondents have been harassed by an aggressive driver (uh huh)
  • 20% experienced being followed by an aggressive driver (ditto)
  • 31% have had an object thrown at them on a ride (more than once)
  • 29% report being coal rolled (cough)
  • 52% of female cyclists have experienced aggressive driver behavior on at least some of their rides compared to 33% of men

In addition, you’ll find a number of articles that together sum up the current sorry state of bike safety in the US.

It’s not all bad news, though. The magazine also looks at some of the more positive aspects.

As you read these stories — and read them, you should — you may recognize several of the cases as stories we’ve reported on here. And if you read carefully, you may find my name, as well as the name of this site, sprinkled in here and there.

It’s a demanding, heartrending and intense series of stories. And may very well be the best work the magazine has ever done.

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Bike Month is starting to heat up.

Metro is celebrating with a free month of Metro Bike bikeshare if you sign up for a monthly membership.

The LACBC is celebrating by profiling bike riders throughout the month, while Bike SGV profiles bike riders in the San Gabriel Valley.

And thanks to Portland bike advocate and mom Kath Youell, you can now track your Bike Month Challenge miles online, even if you don’t have a workplace team to join.

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The Joe Bray-Ali story has now made it around the world, as an Indian website picks up the story, apparently drawn by Bray-Ali’s Indian-Hungarian-Irish Jewish and Muslim heritage.

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In addition to the risk of traffic violence, some bike riders face actual violence.

A 12-year old Cleveland girl was collateral damage in a car-to-car shooting, shot in the foot as she rode her bicycle.

A Florida man was shot in the ankle by another bike rider who attempted to rob him.

Caught on video: A man calls for help as he’s mugged by a gang of hooded youths who steal his bicycle in a London Park.

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The legendary Marco Pantani still holds the hearts of Italian cycling fans, 13 years after his cocaine-fueled death.

African cycling suffered a big setback as Namibian cycling star Costa Seibeb was killed in a car crash Tuesday morning.

Caught on video, maybe: A stalled motorcycle caused a massive pileup near the starting line of New York’s annual Red Hook Crit. The video may or may not play; I’ve been looking for a working version of this for two days, after it was apparently removed from YouTube.

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Local

Streetsblog highlights the debate over Vision Zero funding in the Los Angeles transportation budget, which is quickly reaching a crisis point as traffic deaths continue to climb.

While approving a handful of bikeways, West Hollywood says forget about a road diet on Fountain, and chooses parking over safety on Santa Monica Blvd. Note to WeHo: You can’t connect to the bike lanes on Willoughby in Los Angeles, because there aren’t any.

Yo! Venice examines bike theft in Venice Beach, which is down after police cleared out a number of homeless encampments in the Ballona Wetlands; the LAPD still has a number of unclaimed bicycles they recovered from the homeless camps.

Ground was broken on a Newhall Ranch bridge project, including walkways on the bridge and a bikeway underneath.

 

State

No bias here. After a Santa Rosa cyclist was hit by a car as he attempted to cross the street, police note that he was not in a crosswalk. Even though bike riders are usually discouraged, though not forbidden, from using one.

Sad news from Northern California, where a bike rider was killed in a Half Moon Bay hit-and-run, and a Petaluma man died when he reportedly went over the handlebars after losing control of his bike.

An anti-bike Marin County columnist says bike riding is not a viable option for anyone except fit, young people, and the county isn’t going to become a bike-crazed Holland anytime soon. Which is exactly what they said in Holland before it became one. And countless older, out-of-shape adults ride bicycles every day.

Disabled veterans ride with the pros at an invitation-only mountain bike race in Grass Valley.

Chico gets promoted to gold-level bike-friendly status.

 

National

The Hawaii city council votes on whether to fork over $50,000 to pay the legal fees of a police officer who was apparently fired after killing a bike rider in a crash while on duty.

A Seattle man who lost both legs when he was hit by a Prague subway train hopes to be the first handcyclist to complete the Race Across America, which starts next month

Now that’s more like it. A stoned Washington driver gets seven and a half years for the hit-and-run death of a man riding a bicycle just minutes from his home.

A model arrives at New York’s Met Gala dressed for the red carpet after beating traffic with a pedicab ride through Central Park.

Caught on video too: An Alabama cyclist is the victim of a screaming tirade from two men in a truck, one of whom hangs out of the open passenger door to berate him.

Once again, a bike rider has been killed in a collision with a police officer, this time in Jacksonville FL. As usual, police say it was the bicyclist’s fault, even though the officer was responding to a call without lights or siren, saying the rider was reportedly swerving for no apparent reason and didn’t have any lights. Even though the crash occurred before sunset.

 

International

Ottawa bicycle advocates throw mud in the great debate over bike fenders.

A new report from members of the British Parliament calls for changing the driving code to require drivers to yield to people on bicycles.

Over 200 cyclists turn out to honor fallen endurance cyclist Mike Hall at a memorial service in his English hometown, a little over a month after he was killed in a collision while competing in an Australian race.

One in five Welsh adults have not ridden a bicycle in ten years. Which means 80% of Welsh adults have.

Caught on video three, or maybe four: A Scottish man is nearly crushed in the equivalent of a right hook, after taking up bicycling again for the first time in 20 years. While the driver clearly cut him off, he should have stopped when the truck first cut into him, rather than pulling alongside before the driver cut him off again.

Helsinki, Finland will get an expanded bikeshare system this summer, with 1,400 bikes at 140 stations, as well as another 100 bikes in a neighboring city.

 

Finally…

Touring the world on a smuggled bikeshare bike. Your next ebike could be a hippo. Or maybe a panda.

And nothing like teaching your son the family business.

The bike theft business, that is.

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Thanks to Eric from Boulder for his generous donation to support this site.

Which leads to our periodic reminder that if everyone who visits this site today contributed just $10, it would fund BikinginLA for a full year.

Then again, if just one person contributed a shitload of money, it would probably have the same effect.

Oceanside bike rider dies after apparently crashing into a tree

For the third time in two weeks, a bike rider has died in an offroad fall in Southern California.

San Diego’s CBS2 is reporting that an unconscious man was found around 9:40 this morning just off a bike path in Oceanside, near North Santa Fe Avenue and state Route 76.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was found with his bicycle next to a tree at the bottom of an embankment. He was pronounced dead at the scene, despite attempts to resuscitate him.

No other information is available at this time.

Anyone with information is urged to call Accident Investigator Gabe Cobian with the Oceanside Police Department at 760/435-4989.

This is the 16th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in San Diego County.

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

 

Update: Man dies after apparent right hook in Temecula Wednesday night

Sad news from Temecula, where a man on a bicycle died following a Wednesday night collision.

According to the Valley News, the victim was struck by a truck driver who was turning right from eastbound Temecula Parkway to Pechanga Parkway around 8:52 pm last night.

Riverside County sheriff’s deputies responding to the scene found the man, who has not been publicly identified, lying in the roadway suffering from major injuries. He was taken to a local hospital, where he died today.

There was no indication that alcohol was a factor.

Based on the limited description, it would appear the rider was the victim of a right hook. However, there’s no word on where the victim was riding at the time of the crash.

A satellite view shows a major intersection with seven through lanes and two right turn lanes on Temecula, which suggests that he may have been riding on the sidewalk and rode off into the crosswalk. However, that is just a guess at this time.

Anyone with information is urged to call Officer Carpenter at the Temecula Police Department at 951/696-3000.

This is the 15th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Riverside County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 56-year old John Napolitano.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for John Napolitano and his loved ones.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Lois for the heads-up.

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