Archive for Bicycle Safety

Update: Bike rider run over and killed in Stanton hit-and-run after falling in the street

More bad news, in what has been a very bad few days.

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s department, as well as various news reports, a bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run after falling in Stanton early today.

In a press release sent out earlier this morning, the department reports deputies discovered a man lying in the street at 4:43 this morning after receiving reports of a traffic collision involving a bicyclist.

The victim was dead when officers arrived.

He had apparently been riding in an alley next to Beach Blvd between Cerritos Ave and Main Street when he fell off his bike for some reason, and was run over by an SUV headed south on Beach.

The driver reportedly slowed for a few minutes, then sped off down Beach, and was last seen approaching Katella Ave. The vehicle was described only as a dark colored SUV; no description of the driver.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Traffic Bureau at 714/647-7000 or 949/425-1860.

This is the 30th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Orange County. That compares with nine in the county this time last year.

It’s also the seventh SoCal bicycling death this month, and the fifth in just the last six days.

Update: The Orange County Coroner’s office has identified the victim as 40-year old Jorge Covarrubias. 

Update 2: A witness who saw the wreck says he ran up to help after seeing Covarrubias fall off his bike, and got within a few feet before the SUV ran over him. He leaves behind a girlfriend and two children. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jorge Covarrubias and his loved ones.

Thanks to James Johnson of the Johnson Attorneys Group and Amy Senk of Corona del Mar Today for the heads-up, and thanks to Bill Sellin for the first update.

Update: San Diego cyclist killed by distracted driver; fourth SoCal bicycling fatality in just the last four days

Yet another bike rider has lost his life, in what has turned out to be a horrible few days for Southern California bike riders.

According to the Union-Tribune, a bicyclist was killed while riding in San Diego’s Torrey Highlands neighborhood Sunday afternoon.

The victim was riding in the bike lane on Camino del Sur near Torrey Meadows Drive around 3:24 pm, when a southbound car driven by a 40-year old distracted driver drifted into the bike lane and hit the victim.

Correction: The Union-Tribune reports they gave the wrong location for the collision due to inaccurate information from the police. The wreck actually occurred Camino del Sur near Carmel Valley Road.

Distracted driving usually refers to using a handheld cell phone while operating a motor vehicle; however, it can also refer to anything that takes a driver’s focus off the road. In this case, the paper does not explain how the driver was distracted, though it does mention that her six year old daughter was in the car.

The victim has been identified only as a man around 50. He died after being transported to a hospital. Note: earlier information said he died at the scene.

This is the 29th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in San Diego County; it’s also the fourth in the city of San Diego. That compares to four in the county, and none in the city, this time last year.

This is also the fourth SoCal bicycling death in just the last four days.

Update: The victim has been identified as 64-year old Roger Roux, senior vice president and CFO for Rady Children’s Hospital in Serra Mesa. He is survived by a wife and son, and two grandchildren.

Just one more reminder that no one is safe from traffic violence.

The wreck is still under investigation.

Update 2: NBC San Diego confirms that police suspect the driver was somehow distracted by her child when she drifted into the bike lane and hit Roux’s bike. They also quote a defense attorney who questions why she hasn’t been charged.

And they note that Roux was wearing a helmet; clearly, it wasn’t enough to save his life.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Roger Roux and his loved ones.

Thanks to James Johnson of Johnson Attorneys Group for the heads-up, to Lois for the update and to John McBrearty for the second update. And thanks to Christine for the correction.

Update: 55-year old Masters cyclist dies following apparent solo fall in Huntington Beach

More bad news, in what is turning out to be a very bad weekend for SoCal cyclists.

According to the Huntington Beach Police Department, a 54-year old bike rider was found lying in the street on the 5100 block of Skylark Drive around 12:30 pm this past Thursday.

The unconscious victim, whose name has been withheld pending notification of next of kin, was transported to UCI Medical Center in critical condition. Sadly, he died earlier today, apparently without regaining consciousness.

HBPD officers had found him near a red and black Specialized road bike. They believe he was riding west on Skylark when he lost control of his bike for undetermined reasons and fell to the ground, striking his head.

He was not wearing a helmet.

The report says no other vehicle appeared to be involved, and the site was free of any obvious hazards; a street view shows a wide, flat and unobstructed street.

Of course, it’s always possible for a close pass by a car, or for an animal or some other object, to cause a fall, without actually making contact or damaging the bike.

Anyone with information is urged to call Huntington Beach Police Accident Investigator Josh Page at 714/536-5670 or Accident Investigator Bob Barr at 714/536-5663; call 714/960-8825 after hours or on weekends.

This is the 28th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Orange County; that compares to nine in the county this time last year. And also the 12th bike-related death in Huntington Beach since December, 2010.

Update: The victim has been identified on Facebook as Steve McDonald; a memorial ride will be held in his memory on Saturday. 

An email identifies him as a Masters racer new to the 55/60 age group, and reports that the fall may have been the result of a broken chain.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Steve McDonald and his family.

Thanks to Calvin Design for the first link, and Cleave Law for the update.

 

 

Update: 69-year old bike rider killed in Downey collision

Word is just coming in that a bike rider was killed in Downey last night.

According to the Downey Beat, a bicyclist was struck and killed by a vehicle around 9:30 Friday night on the 10600 block of Lakewood Blvd, between Florence Ave and Firestone Blvd; the victim appeared to be male.

The driver remained at the scene. No other information is available at this time.

This is the 27th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th in LA County. That compares with 45 this time last year in the seven county SoCal region, and 18 in the county.

It’s just the second fatal bicycling collision in Downey in the last five years.

Update: The Press-Telegram has identified the victim as 69-year old Downey resident Adel Mikhail. 

Raw video footage from the scene places the collision near the intersection of Lakewood and Muller St. (Warning: The video may be hard to take, as it shows the victim’s body being covered.)

There’s a white car stopped in the left lane, with damage to the right side and windshield; his body appears to be in the roadway directly ahead of the car. The victim’s bike is off to the right, apparently without lights, though it’s possible they may be hidden or turned off.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Adel Mikhail and his loved ones.

Bike rider killed in Mid-City LA crash by apparent drunk and/or stoned driver

Sometimes you just want to scream.

Bicyclists are told to light up their bikes after dark. Yet even lighting it up like a Christmas tree isn’t always enough to keep a rider safe.

Especially when a driver is on drugs or has been drinking.

Or maybe both.

That’s what LA police say happened last night in LA’s Mid-City neighborhood, as a bike rider, described only as a Hispanic man around 55-years old, was killed in a collision just before mid-night.

According to KCBS-2, the victim, whose name has been withheld pending notification of next of kin, was struck by a passenger van around 11:43 pm on Fairfax Avenue near Sawyer Street. KTLA-5 places it between Sawyer and Venice Blvd.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No word on how the collision occurred. However, KTLA reports the driver, who remained at the scene, was taken into custody on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Even more infuriating is that video from the scene shows the victim had a flashing headlight and taillight on his white bike, as well as colored flashing lights on his rear wheel. So he should have been easily visible, even at that hour.

The bike appears relatively undamaged in the video, making it hard to guess what might have happened.

This is the 26th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 12th in LA County; it’s also the 7th in the City of Los Angeles. That’s two more in the city compared to this time last year, even though bicycling deaths in the county are down by one-third.

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

Breaking news: no sentencing in Eric Billings case today; driver found with narcotic drug behind bars

So much for that.

Word broke yesterday that the driver convicted in the death of cyclist Eric Billings in Mission Viejo two years ago was found with a prescription narcotic in her jail cell.

According to the Orange County DA’s office, former OC lawyer Hasti Fahkrai-Bayrooti was found in possession of Clonazepam, a sedative used to treat seizures and panic disorder, on May 13th as she was being held awaiting sentencing.

Something that was supposed to happen today.

However, a source reports from the courtroom that her sentencing has been delayed yet again, much to the distress of the victim’s family.

Apparently, her extremely savvy criminal defense team doesn’t work weekends. Robert Weinberg told Judge Jones that Hasti’s psychiatric evaluation only reached his office last Friday afternoon, and he hasn’t had time to review it. SINCE FRIDAY. In his defense (cough), it’s an extremely lengthy report.

The judge is unwilling to allow for any technicality that would give Hasti any possibility of appeal whatsoever, so he granted the motion to allow the delay. The defense will naturally try to incorporate any pertinent information from the psych eval into his sentencing brief. (Note: The Deputy DA managed to create a very persuasive 25-page brief on the People’s behalf just fine, without any report from the probation department.)

One of Eric Billings’ daughters who’d been unable to speak at the first attempt at sentencing was allowed to speak this morning. She vented, and clearly the judge agrees that she is absolutely right that victims have a right to a fair and speedy trial.

In the hallway prior to the hearing, she was demanding to know who Hasti’s “pharmacist” is, because she wants him investigated, and his license revoked. (When the first witness to approach Hasti after the collision asked if there was anybody she could call, she mumbled something about her pharmacist, and tried to place a call on her cell. Also, her blood drawn more than four hours after the collision indicated Alprazolam [Ed. note: the generic form of Xanax] in an amount that is usually fatal.)

At one point, Hasti attempted, in her meek voice, to speak to the judge, but her lawyer instantly spun around in alarm and shushed her.

The next attempt at sentencing will be June 19th. The DA had a prelim set for that same morning, but rescheduled it because the Billings family has suffered enough during this delay.

Oh yeah, and naturally Hasti pleaded not guilty to the new charge. And she’s not retaining her extremely savvy criminal defense team this time; instead, she has a public defender.

Fakhrai-Bayrooti had entered an unexpected guilty plea last March to a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for running Billings down from behind as he rode his beach cruiser in the bike lane on Santa Margarita Parkway two years earlier. Billings, described by friends as a loving father and devout Mormon, died at the scene.

She faces up to four years in prison once she’s finally sentenced

In addition to all the other breaking news in this case, the California State Bar suspended the immigration attorney’s license to practice law earlier this week. Chances are that suspension will become permanent following her sentencing, especially in light of the additional drug charge.

Let’s hope the Billings family gets the justice they deserve. And that Fakhrai-Bayrooti gets the help she so desperately seems to need while she’s behind bars.

And that she’s never allowed behind the wheel again.

 

Morning Links: Completing deadly Rosemead Blvd; Times seeks video of police shooting in Gardena bike theft

Two hit-and-run drivers killed Heriberto Ruiz last weekend.

But maybe a dangerous roadway should share the blame.

According to BikeSGV, Rosemead Blvd in the Wittier Narrows area where Ruiz was killed is dangerous by design, with speeds often exceeding the posted 50 mph limit. Never mind cars zooming off the Highway 60 offramp, which he was trying to cross when he lost his life.

A bill before the state legislature would turn control of a 2.6 mile segment of the boulevard over to the county, the first step in a possible badly needed Complete Street makeover.

Let’s hope this tragedy is enough to get much needed changes made.

Now.

………

Good for them.

The LA Times has filed suit to get the dashboard video showing Gardena Police repeatedly shooting unarmed Ricardo Diaz Zeferino — the brother of the bike theft victim they had been called to help, not kill.

Zeferino was simply trying to tell the officers they had detained the wrong men when they opened fire after he dropped his baseball cap, allegedly because they thought he was trying to remove something from his waistband.

Yet somehow, the DA’s office ruled the shooting was justified. I guess “unarmed” just doesn’t mean what it used to.

Maybe this will let us all find out what really happened. And explain why an innocent man was shot to death by the people sent to help him — literally at the drop of a hat.

And why the DA doesn’t seem to care.

………

Calbike says good things are happening for bike riders in the state legislature, including bills that would increase funding for active transportation, and allow riders to attend bike traffic schools to reduce traffic tickets.

………

That didn’t take long.

Just hours after Bradley Wiggins set a new hour record, he’s accused of cheating by using a non-regulation bike and getting outside assistance from British Cycling. Evidently to confirm the public’s opinion that all cyclists cheat, all the time.

Wiggins will reportedly shift his focus to track events in the 2016 Olympics. Then again, even dogs can ride a tactical race.

But did anyone check their bikes for signs of mechanical doping?

………

Local

Streetsblog looks at South LA community organizer and bike advocate Tafari Bayne.

The average LA driver spends over $3,600 to get to work and back; 59% of Angelenos would use bike share if it was available in their neighborhood. That’s about $3,600 more than the average bike commuter spends.

KPCC reports on the problem of possibly incompatible bike share systems in the LA area.

Joel Epstein says bike lane opponents are still peddling in the last century. Although what they’re trying to sell, I have no idea.

CiclaValley explores the Compton Creek bike path, which seems virtually devoid of human life.

Whittier police recover a therapy tricycle stolen from an autistic 11-year old girl over the weekend.

 

State

OC Parks plans to pave a pathway in Peters Canyon to complete a continuous bikeway from Irvine Park to Upper Newport Bay.

San Diego’s plans for a $200 million bicycle network are over before they even start, according to the San Diego Free Press, which accuses the county association of governments of doubling down on the failed transportation policies of the last 50 years.

NorCal’s Tour de Manure returns for the seventh time. Insert crappy bike pun here.

 

National

Just days after we mentioned a transgender triathlete competing as a woman for the first time, a male transgender triathlete wins a spot on Team USA.

A road raging driver intentionally sideswiped a Colorado Springs cyclist, knocking him out of his first pro triathlon. Note to the Gazette: The race is still on, he just won’t be competing in it. Big difference.

My hometown sets its sights on Diamond Bike Friendly Community status. But even diamonds are rarely flawless. And hello to Andrew Reker, a fellow member of the Fort Collins diaspora. 

Bike friendly Boulder CO considers right sizing certain streets by removing a traffic lane to create spacious seven foot wide bike lanes.

Chicago’s 400-pound Puppet Bike has been entertaining people for 11 years; the bike is so heavy, two additional cyclists have to help tow it for distances more than a few blocks.

A New Jersey cop notices a kid riding his bike with a loose brake, and gets out of his car to fix it himself.

Only bike riders run red lights, right? Wrong. A new study shows one in ten New York drivers run reds.

Baton Rouge LA has a dysfunctional bikeway network; less than half of the city’s bike paths connect to another. Sort of like another LA I could name.

The Palm Beach Post asks, but doesn’t answer, whether the rewards of bike riding over age 70 outweighs the risk. Seriously?

 

International

As Ontario cyclists get the equivalent of a three-foot law, Alberta tells bicyclists don’t hold your breath.

Vancouver’s Chris Bruntlett writes about the pain of bike theft. And how the fear of theft influences where and how we ride. I often choose to walk instead of ride for trips under two miles, because it’s not worth the hassle of carrying a heavy U-lock and field stripping my bike.

A Montreal letter writer bemoans the behavior of her fellow bike riders, saying they don’t behave as well as riders in Copenhagen. On the other hand, Copenhagen has streets and laws designed around bikes; Montreal doesn’t. Or LA, for that matter.

Caught on video: A Brit bike rider is terrorized by the driver of a massive truck dangerously crowding his wheel.

Someone sabotaged the driveway of a popular Brit helmet cam safety campaigner with drawing pins.

A UK personal trainer plans to ride the entire Tour de France route on a chopper bike. Note to CTV News: There’s a bike difference between riding the Tour de France route and actually competing in it.

The Cardiff UK edition of the World Naked Bike Ride stripped down last Sunday; the LA edition rolls out on the 27th. Just promise you won’t get too excited.

The Times offers a nice profile of a woman cyclist in Afghanistan, a country generally unaccommodating to both.

An Israeli city bans e-bikes in some areas, while the country’s police want to require permits for their riders.

A former Manchester United goalie gets off with 12 months probation for deliberately turning his car into a bicyclist during a Sidney, Australia road rage dispute. Would the courts have been as lenient if he’d used a gun instead of a car? Either way, it’s still assault with a deadly weapon. Thanks to Simon for the heads-up.

 

Finally…

With the right skills, you can do anything on a bike, or to it, as the eighth annual Bike Smut exhibition of two-wheeled erotica makes painfully clear. A Cleveland man gets released from jail once he sobered up after being busted for being drunk and sans pants in public — and promptly steals a kid’s bike on his way out.

And an Arizona teenager is busted at the border with $1,600 worth of dope in his bike tires.

But seriously, how was the ride?

 

Update: 22-year old alleged sidewalk rider killed in South LA hit-and-run

Another bike-riding LA man has lost his life in yet another bloody hit-and-run.

According to the LA Times, 22-year old LA resident Manuel Enrique Mendoza-Hernandez was riding on the sidewalk along Slauson Ave in South LA, when he rode out into traffic and was killed by an unknown driver who fled the scene.

The collision took place on Slauson Avenue east of San Pedro Place around 8:25 pm Sunday.

LAist reports Mendoza-Hernandez was riding on west the sidewalk before veering onto the street, where he was hit by a car turning right onto Slauson from San Pedro Place. The driver hit Mendoza-Hernandez’s bike, knocking him into the street, before running over him and fleeing east on Slauson.

He was pronounced at the scene.

There were no apparent witnesses. However, evidence found at the scene indicates the suspect may have been driving a Toyota Corolla; no word yet on year or color.

This would have been the perfect opportunity for the LAPD to use the new hit-and-run alert system recently approved by the city council. No alert appears to have been sent out, though; the last update on the LAPD blog was nearly a week ago.

A tweet from Marccaz correctly notes there is no sidewalk on the westbound side, suggesting that the police report may have been wrong.

However, there is a sidewalk on the south (eastbound) side of the street. And nothing in the news reports indicate what side of the street Mendoza-Hernandez was riding on.

If he was riding on the south sidewalk against traffic, he could have been forced out into the street by several poles obstructing the sidewalk, where he would have been hidden from the view of the turning driver by the building that comes within a few feet of the intersection.

It would make sense then if the driver continue east on Slauson to make his or her escape, since that’s the direction the car was already headed.

Had the driver simply stayed at the scene, there likely wouldn’t have been any charges, since police investigators probably would have found Mendoza-Hernandez at fault for riding against traffic once he entered the street.

Although the fact that he was unable to stop after hitting the cyclist, so soon after making a right, would suggest the he was traveling at some speed and may not have come to a full stop at the stop sign before making his turn.

Instead, the driver could now face time in prison for a fatal hit-and-run, assuming police make an arrest in the case.

This is the 25th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th in LA County; six of those have been in the City of Los Angeles. That compares with 45 in SoCal this time last year, and 17 and 4, respectively, in the county and city.

Update: Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD Central Traffic Detective Felix Padilla at 213/486-0753.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Manuel Enrique Mendoza-Hernandez and his loved ones.

Update: Late night bike rider killed by two hit-and-run drivers in South El Monte

Bad enough when one heartless coward flees the scene.

Worse when two drivers smash into a man riding his bike, then leave him to die in the street.

That’s what happened in South El Monte early this morning, as a 47-year old cyclist was killed in a succession of collisions on Rosemead Blvd.

According to KABC-7, Heriberto Ruiz struck from behind by an unknown vehicle near the offramp to the southbound 60 Freeway about 2:53 am. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune places the collision in the 3000 block of Rosemead, which appears to be some distance from the offramp.

That driver fled the scene, leaving Ruiz lying in the roadway where he was struck by a white minivan and possibly one other vehicle; KNBC-4 reports the minivan collided with another vehicle that was stopping at the scene. The driver of the minivan then fled, as well.

Ruiz was pronounced dead at the scene.

A satellite view shows an extended, high-speed offramp leading from the freeway; if he was trying to ride south across that, he would have been a sitting duck as motorists sped onto Rosemead.

No word on whether he was using lights at that hour; however, police are usually quick to report if a victim didn’t have lights or reflectors on his bike.

This is the 24th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in Los Angeles County. That compares with 44 and 17, respectively, this time last year.

Update: KNBC-4 reports Ruiz may have been riding home from visiting a friend when he was hit. 

A visitor to the scene found a broken Cateye taillight, suggesting that his bike should have been visible from behind. 

Anyone with information is urged to call CHP’s East LA office at 323/980-4600.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Heriberto Ruiz and all his friends and family. 

Update: 66-year old woman killed riding her bike in Laguna Hills

Sad news from Laguna Hills.

According to KTLA-5, a woman was killed when she was hit by a vehicle while riding her bike at Paseo De Valencia and Kennington Drive around 1:40 pm Saturday.

The victim was identified only as a woman in her 60s, pending notification of her family. No other information is available at this time.

A photo from the scene shows a Toyota minivan with its windshield smashed on the right side.

A satellite view shows what appears to be a bike lane on the southbound side of Paseo De Valencia, while the Aliso Creek Bikeway parallels the road on the northbound side, crossing Kennington in the crosswalk. There is a traffic signal at the intersection.

Paseo De Valencia marks the border between Laguna Woods to the west and Laguna Hills on the east. The OC Sheriff’s Department places the collision on the Laguna Hills side, suggesting the victim may have been riding on the bikeway and was struck when she attempted to cross Kennington; however, that is merely speculation at this point.

This is the 23rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Orange County; that compares to 44 in SoCal and nine in the county this time last year.

Update: The Orange County Register reports the 66-year old victim was riding south on the bike path when she rode out into the northbound traffic lane on Paseo De Valencia to avoid other cyclists coming in the opposite direction. As she did, she was hit, apparently head-on, by a minivan driven by a 59-year old man, who remained at the scene.

Bystanders performed CPR until the fire department arrived and took her to Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, where she died less than half an hour later.

She may be known in the local bicycling community, as friends described her as an avid cyclist who rode 30 to 40 miles a day.

Update 2: The Orange County Coroner’s office has identified the victim as 66-year old Michiko Day of Laguna Woods.

Bill Sellin forwards a graphic that clearly shows what happened to cause the collision. 

The red arrows represent the route Day took as she exited the bike path to cross Kennington Drive, then swerved into traffic to avoid other riders, indicated by the blue arrows. 

So she appears to have been a victim, not just of the car and driver that took her life, but an inadequate bikeway design that forces riders off a protected bike path and out into the street before coming back into the crosswalk.

Day-Collision-Site

 

Update 3: The Orange County Register reports that Michiko Day was just one block from home when she was killed while riding in Laguna Woods last month. Her riding partner confirms what we thought, that poor road and bike path design may have contributed to her death.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Michiko Day and her loved ones.

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