Tag Archive for bicycle fatality

Bike rider injured in Tarzana collision earlier this month has died; 11th LA bike death this year

More bad news.

Earlier this month I reported on a collision in Tarzana in which several people passing by saw a bike rider down with severe head injuries. Now I’ve gotten word from the LAPD that the victim has died.

Unfortunately, details are still sparse.

The collision occurred at the intersection of Reseda Blvd and Collins Street around 5:50 pm on Saturday, August 10th. The male victim, who has not been publicly identified, was presumably riding in one of the bike lanes on Reseda when he was struck by a turning car; whether it was turning onto or off of Collins is unknown.

A comment from a reader indicated he was wearing a helmet, but it was knocked off during the collision. He was transported to a local hospital, and died of his injuries sometime last week.

Unfortunately, this was not unexpected.

Whenever a victim is described as suffering from severe head injuries, the outcome is unlikely to be good. Too often, it means he or she has been put on life support until family members can make a decision on organ donation. Even in the best cases, it’s likely to result in life changing injuries.

I’ve put in a request for more information. Hopefully we’ll know more soon.

This is the 60th fatal bicycling collision in Southern California this year, and the 27th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the 11th fatal bike collision in the City of LA since the first of the year.

That exceeds the total for both the city and county for each of the last two years, with over four months left to go.

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

Update: 25-year old bike rider killed near Caltech in Pasadena

More bad news.

According to the Pasadena Star-News, a bike rider described only as a man in his 30′s was hit and killed while riding near Caltech in Pasadena this evening.

The paper reports the collision took place at Del Mar Blvd and Wilson Avenue just north of the campus about 5:30 pm; the L.A. Times places the location mid-block between Wilson and Michigan Ave, with the time of the collision around 6 pm.

The victim was taken to Huntington Hospital where he died from his injuries. The driver of the compact car remained at the scene and was reportedly cooperating with police.

No other details are available at this time; no word on which way the rider was headed or how the collision occurred.

This is the 33rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year; remarkably, 17 of those deaths have been in Los Angeles County. This is also the third bike death in Pasadena since 2011.

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

Update: The Star-News reports that the victim, who still has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, was a 25-year old resident of Los Angeles. 

According to the paper, he was riding west on Del Mar with a female companion when he was struck from behind, with the force of the impact throwing him into a parked car.

The woman he was riding with was not struck by the car.

Update 2: The Caltech Bike Lab is sponsoring a petition calling for better east-west bike routes in Pasadena, including sharrows on Del Mar; whether it would have helped in this case may never be known. 

Update 3: In a comment below, a blogger links to her thoughts about witnessing the collision. According to her, the victim was thrown across the road to collide with the parked car before landing crumpled on the sidewalk, suggesting an impact of significant force. 

Update 4: The victim has been identified as 25-year old Los Angeles resident Phillip O’Neill

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When I learn about a case like this, in which the victim has not been publicly identified, I pray it’s not someone I know. And feel guilty, because even if I don’t know who it is, someone else will.

Because it’s never just a stranger on a bike.

It’s always someone’s son or daughter, mother or father, sister, brother, cousin, nephew, co-worker or friend. It’s someone someone loves, or likes or maybe even can’t stand, if only just a little.

It’s never just a statistic, regardless of those stats I keep.

It is a real person who was here, and now, suddenly and without warning, isn’t. A meteoric flash of life snuffed out in a relative instant, leaving a gaping hole in the lives of those left behind.

It’s always heartbreaking. It’s always tragic. It’s always a loss beyond our comprehension, if only because we can never know what might have been.

And it is always — always — unnecessary.

Yet another Orange County cycling death, and a long list of bike links for your midweek reading

Word is just crawling in, as an aside to another story, of yet another cyclist succumbing to fatal injuries last week.

Seventy-four year old Orange County resident Lafayette “Lafe” Parkin fell while training for the California Coast Bicycle Classic near the UC Irvine Medical Center on August 31st, resulting in a severe head injury.

His 32-year old son Josh took his father’s place on the tour, finishing the ride on Sunday; his father passed away on Wednesday while his son was filling in for him.

This is the 56th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in Orange County. Parkin is the second rider to die in a solo fall in Orange County in 2012, and the 13th in the seven-county SoCal region.

My deepest condolences and prayers for Parkin, and all his family and loved ones. And my respect for Josh; I can’t imagine the emotions he went through riding in his father’s name under such difficult circumstances.

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Elly Blue questions the obvious sexism in bicycle marketing; Bicycling’s Fit Chick says that’s one thing she won’t miss about missing this year’s Interbike.

Seriously.

I have nothing against using sex in advertising. But only when there’s a genuine connection with the product being sold.

Otherwise, it’s just annoying. And ineffective.

And stupid.

Meanwhile, Kent’s Bike Blog brilliantly puts the process of bike shopping in perspective.

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Two and a Half Men star Jon Cryer suffers some nasty road rash during Sunday’s Malibu Triathlon, crediting his helmet with saving his skull after experiencing the dreaded Wobble of Death.

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I seriously want this jersey, featuring one of the greatest, and sadly least known, cyclists of all time. Last day to order is September 25.

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After last year’s humongous non-event, I’m not falling for the massive hype of Carmageddon II — The Sequel this time.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the relatively car-free streets that should result, as a number of bike rides and events are being planned for the weekend.

First up, Streetsblog and the Bikerowave team up for a night of Streetfilms and fun to benefit C.I.C.L.E. founder Shay Sanchez on Friday the 28th, starting at 7 pm.

Culver City-based Walk ‘n Rollers is hosting a series of rides through the Westside on Saturday, September 29th, with family-friendly routes from eight to 22 miles. The same day, a pair of Valley rides roll along the Orange Line Bike Path and other nearby bikeways.

And Metro and C.I.C.L.E. are joining forces to promote the 2.5 hour, eight-mile Carmageddon Valley Ride on Sunday the 30th.

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The next BPIT meeting is scheduled for 1 – 4 pm on Tuesday, October 2nd. Instructors from the LAPD’s bike patrol patrol Interbike for new gear. Downtown will soon have an ice cream shop churned by bike power. CLR Effect looks at ways to carry your stuff on your bike; Boyonabike considers larger options. Cyclicious encounters the LACBC’s own Bobby Gadda as he makes his way back down the coast on his tallbike. Gary considers walk and bikenomics from last week’s Pro Walk/Pro Bike in Long Beach. The Bike League declares last week’s National Women’s Bicycling Summit, part of Pro Walk/Pro Bike, a huge success; they aren’t the only ones.

Fallen Newport Beach cyclist Sarah Leaf is described by friends as funny, inspirational and extraordinary. Maybe a selfish driver who forced a 4th grader out of a crosswalk isn’t such a petty complaint after all. Should be a great party next week, as BikeSD officially launches as a citywide bike advocacy group; any organization formed by Sam Ollinger has my unqualified support — and hopefully, yours, as well. San Diego could have a bike share program of their own as soon as next spring; L.A., Irvine and Long Beach provider Bike Nation is one of the contenders. An apparently suicidal cyclist reportedly rides his bike into the path of a Redlands driver. Evidently they get it in NorCal, as a Red Bluff man is sentenced to 11 years in prison for killing a 73-year old cyclist while driving under the influence; I just wish courts down here placed that much value on a human life. Then again, not so much in Lompoc, either.

CNN considers why young Americans are bypassing the automotive right of passage — without once mentioning the word bike. Bicycling interviews bicycling actor Patrick Dempsey. An Arizona writer looks at life differently after surviving a bicycling collision. The Colorado Highway Patrol is looking for a driver who honked behind two cyclists for several minutes rather than passing. A board member of advocacy group BikeTexas is run down from behind and killed while riding her bike. Both sides in a Chattanooga debate agree that cyclists need to do our part to avoid collisions; make that all three sides, as I concur. How to conquer your fears as a beginning cyclist. Boston Daily asks why so many cyclists are dying on the streets, suggesting a summer-long truce between bike riders and motorists has ended. New York decides safety is more important than speed for delivery riders. The New York Daily News says it’s time to rethink bike share if it’s going to succeed. Brooklyn cyclists complain about the latest obstacles blocking bike lanes. I love this turn of the century postcard. Philadelphia finds more riders mean fewer collisions — not accidents, thank you. A Florida man is under arrest for faking a hit-and-run collision; his story was done in by one of those seemingly ubiquitous security cameras. A beginner’s guide to not dying while biking in the Everglades.

Why do so many people love cycling but hate cyclists? Intentionally run down a Brit cyclist, get a fine of less than $570. A mother finds her 27-year old cyclist son dead on the side of the road after he doesn’t return home from a ride. Olympic cyclists call for making British roads safer for bikes. A Scott writer calls for investing in bikeways while making cyclists liable for all the harm we do; wait, it is bike riders who kill tens of thousands of innocent people on roadways around the world every year, right? A Welsh writer complains about cyclists travelling at abnormal speeds while wearing supersonic helmets; bet I could have found one of those at Interbike. Retired Olympic gold medalist Alexandre Vinokourov auctions his bike for nearly a quarter million dollars, with the money going to charity. Police take mandatory helmet laws to the extreme, as a retired cyclist dies in a tussle with officers over his lack of a head gear.

Finally, no, this isn’t from The Onion — the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills really is pursuing a bike share program. No, really.

Even if they can’t manage to paint a single inch of bike lane in the entire city.

Update: 2012 SoCal bike deaths reach an even 50, as 52-year old Moorpark cyclist killed Thursday

This is not the story I wanted to write today.

I’d promised you a contest for the holiday weekend, sponsored by Clif Mojo bars to celebrate national Trail Mix Day.

But that will have to wait, as I’ve just gotten word of a fatal bicycling collision that took the life of a Moorpark man on Thursday.

According to Moorpark Patch, the victim, identified only as a 52-year old man pending notification of next-of-kin, was riding south on Moorpark Avenue at Poindexter Ave at around 9:55 am when he was struck by a car traveling in the same direction.

Details are sparse. It could have been a hit-from-behind collision; however, the fact that it occurred in the intersection would suggest a possible right hook. Or the rider could have been attempting to make a left turn, and either crossed into the driver’s path, or been struck when the driver failed to see him.

The victim was taken to Los Robles Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The 44-year old driver, a resident of Sylmar, remained at the scene.

It’s sad that hit-and-run has become so common that something like that even needs to be mentioned.

This is the 50th fatal bike collision in Southern California this year, and the third in Ventura County, compared to four in the county last year. And eight months into the year, it puts us on a pace for 75 fatalities in the seven-county SoCal region this year, not counting shooting victims, compared to 71 in 2011.

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

Out of respect for the victim, I’ll wait until later this evening to put the contest online. I hope you’ll come back then or over the weekend; especially after news like this, we all need to have a little fun.

Update: The Ventura County Star has identified the victim as 52-year old Moorpark resident Kenneth Guthrie, who was hit by a car driven by 44-year old Jaime Tijero Ibarra of Sylmar. Still no word on how the collision occurred; Ibarra was not cited at the scene, and the case remains under investigation. 

Update — Rancho Cucamonga cyclist latest victim of a fatal hit-and-run; 2nd in last two months

KCBS-2 reports that yet another cyclist has been killed in a Southern California hit-and-run.

According to the station, 25-year old Michael Vega was riding west on Foothill Blvd near Ramona Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga around 6:40 pm Tuesday, when he was run down from behind by a white truck, which fled the scene.

A fire captain reports the impact was hard enough to knock Vega out of his shoes. The station also notes that Vega was wearing a helmet, but the force of impact was too great for it to be of benefit.

And yet a police spokesperson suggests that unless the driver was drunk — which will probably never be determined, since he fled the scene — it will amount to nothing more than a simple traffic accident.

Thanks for having our back, dude.

Hint to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department — killing another human being with a motor vehicle is a serious matter. Or at least, it should be.

Whether or not the driver was drunk.

KCBS reports the witnesses tried to comfort Vega where they found him crumpled in the gutter; he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Police are looking for a white work truck with a ladder or lumber rack in the back. Anyone with information should contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department’s Rancho Cucamonga station at 800/477-2800.

Vega is the 49th cyclist to die on Southern California streets this year, excluding gunshot victims, and the eighth in San Bernardino County.

This is also the third cycling death in Rancho Cucamonga — a frighteningly high total for a city of less than 168,000 — and the second fatal hit-and-run involving a cyclist in that city in just the last two months.

My prayers and deepest sympathy to his family and loved ones.

Update: Michael of CLR Effect offers his thoughts, which are always insightful and always worth reading, including this:

Almost as troubling is the initial reaction from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. I don’t normally like to knock law enforcement, they are only charged with enforcing existing laws, not making them, not prosecuting them. But tied into the process of enforcement is the act of interpretation. When a department spokesperson says “unless the driver is intoxicated, nothing other than having a traffic accident taken is going to come out of this” has to leave me wondering what ever happened to the serve and protect code (granted that is the LAPD motto, but have always believed it should apply to all in the public service sector). 

Update 2: The Press-Enterprise says Vega was a resident of Norco, and died at the hospital less than an hour after being hit.

Update 3: KCBS offers a good follow-up on their original story, noting a ghost bike has already been installed, and that Vega worked at the Apple Store in Victoria Gardens. 

He was on his way to his girlfriend’s home when he was killed; his mother thanked those who comforted her son as he lay dying, and said she saw a double rainbow that night, taking a picture of it at the same time he passed away.

Update 4: An arrest has been made in this case

Teenage Moreno Valley cyclist killed Monday

Somehow I missed this story yesterday; thankfully, Witch on a Bicycle didn’t.

The Press-Enterprise and Southwest Riverside News Network report that a 16-year old cyclist was killed in Moreno Valley earlier this week.

According to the SRNN, Moreno Valley resident Stephen Espinoza was hit by a van while riding at the intersection of Graham Street and Zoe Drive around 2:30 pm Monday; the Press-Enterprise reports that he hit the van, instead.

He suffered severe head injuries, and was pronounced dead at the scene. As usual, the driver was uninjured.

No word on how the collision occurred.

This is the 48th cycling fatality in Southern California so far this year, and the ninth in Riverside County; that compares with 12 bike fatalities in the county last year.

My prayers and sympathy for Espinoza and his family and loved ones.

Man walking killed while walking bicycle in Lytle Creek; 12th bike-related fatality this month

And then there were 12.

In what is by far the worst month in memory for Southern California cyclists, an even dozen cyclists have now died on our streets this month alone.

According to the Press Enterprise, 42-year old Dondi Allen Quimby was hit by a car while walking his bicycle on the 200 block of Lytle Creek Road in Lytle Creek just before 1 am Sunday.

Quimby, who is described as a transient, was walking with his girlfriend along the shoulder of the road when he was hit by a 1997 Ford Thunderbird driven by Rancho Cucamonga resident Matthew Eldridge. He died at the scene; no word on whether the unidentified girlfriend was injured.

The 20-year old Eldridge was arrested about an hour later for investigation of felony drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter. And yet a spokesman for the CHP seems to be making the case for the driver’s defense, saying the location was very dark with a narrow shoulder.

Of course, if the driver was using headlights — which he certainly should have been doing at 1 am — darkness should have been irrelevant. And even a narrow shoulder suggests that a sober driver should have been able to see and avoid Quimby.

The San Bernardino County Coroner’s office is asking the public’s help in locating any of Quimby’s family members; anyone with information is urged to contact the Coroner’s Division at 909-387-2978.

This is the 41st bicycle-related fatality in Southern California so far this year — nearly one third of those this month alone. And it’s the seventh death in the last seven months in San Bernardino County, a total that equals all the cycling deaths in the county in 2010, the last year on record.

Update: Indian Wells cyclist dies from natural causes, rather than solo fall

The bad news just keeps on coming.

An Indian Wells man has become the latest bike rider to die in what has become a truly horrible month for SoCal cyclists.

According to mydessert.com, the rider, described only as a man in his early 60s, was riding east on Miles Avenue near Washington Street when he apparently struck a curb and fell, suffering critical injuries. He died sometime later at a local hospital.

A sheriff’s deputy suggests that he may have had some sort of medical condition that caused him to fall; however, no details were released and cause of death is being withheld pending an autopsy and toxicology reports.

This is the 40th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, the sixth in Riverside County and the second in the past two months in the small community of Indian Wells. It’s also the 11th bike-related death in this very tragic month of July; over a quarter of this year’s fatalities have occurred this month.

And we still have two weeks to go.

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

Update: The victim has been identified as 61-year old Gordon West of La Quinta. According to the coroner’s office, his death was due to natural causes, rather than a fall.

Update: Cyclist killed in Indian Wells DUI was bi-coastal neurologist and Lyme Disease specialist

A 52-year old cyclist was killed by an alleged drunk driver in Indian Wells Saturday night.

According to numerous reports, Palm Desert resident Gerald Weiss was riding westbound on Fred Waring Drive south of Cook Street around 9:45 pm when he was hit from behind by a car driven by 24-year old Christopher Eugene Stocman of La Quinta.

Stocman, who stayed at the scene, was arrested on suspicion of DUI and vehicular manslaughter.

This is the 21st cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth already this year in Riverside County.

No further information is available at this time. Anyone with information is urged to call the Indian Wells Police Department Traffic Bureau at 760/836-1600.

This is the 21st cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Riverside County.

My deepest sympathy to Weiss and his family.

Update: According to a comment from Tracy Will, Gerald Weiss was a leading neurologist specializing in the treatment of Lyme Disease.

Dr. Gerald Weiss was a world renowned neurologist and Lyme Disease specialist. People traveled all over the country to seek his expertise. Not only does he leave behind many grieving patients, he leaves behind two young sons and a wife. This is an unimaginable tragedy. I am shattered at this news and in total shock.

A Google search reveals a neurologist named Gerald Brett Weiss M.D. with a practice in La Quinta — less than five miles from the site where Weiss was killed — as well as a practice in Norwalk CT. Dr. Weiss as on the staff of JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio, with a former specialty in Lyme Disease.

Unfortunately, there has been no follow-up from the local press providing any additional information on Dr. Weiss or how the collision occurred. Maybe they’ll get around to it now that the weekend is over.

Bakersfield bike racer dies in Sunday stage race crash; Culver City gets an honorable mention

Bad news from Bakersfield, as top local bike racer Suzanne Rivera was killed in a Mariposa County stage race on Sunday.

Apparently, she rear-ended a support van that had stopped on the shoulder during a steep downhill. Rivera will be honored on Wednesday’s Bakersfield Ride of Silence.

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The League of American Bicyclists releases their latest list of new bike-friendly cities; congratulations to Culver City for getting an honorable mention.

And nice work to the hard work put in by LACBC-affiliate Culver City Bicycle Coalition to help make it possible. Thanks to CCBC member Steve Herbert for the heads-up.

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Peter Sagan keeps the leader’s jersey in the Amgen Tour of California, despite a spill and a flat; Cyclelicious captures his shadow crossing the finish line. Maybe Levi Leipheimer is just playing possum. And Sunday’s final stage finish at L.A. Live may lead to Sportsageddon as the Kings, Dodgers, Clippers and the ToC collide in DTLA.

Can we just call a time out on all the blank-ageddons for awhile?

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There are plenty of people who live car free in L.A. every day, so why plan a day around it? LADOT is hiring a Pedestrian Coordinator as well as an Assistant Pedestrian Coordinator. The 10 busiest bike intersections in L.A.; I ride four of them on a regular basis. Better Bike recaps the meeting that lead Beverly Hill’s Traffic & Parking Commission to reject two of the city’s five proposed underwhelming bike pilot projects. As if Bike to Work Day wasn’t enough, you can join in on Bike from Work happy hours, as well. A 50-something cyclist is injured after getting rear-ended by a car in Pasadena. A recap of last weekend’s Montrose Historical Bike Ride. New bike racks in Redondo Beach thanks to the Chamber of Commerce.

The California Department of Transportation offers advice on bike safety for Bike Week. San Diego endorses Scott Peters for Congress. A four-year old Palm Desert boy is hit by a red light running schmuck truck driver while crossing the street in the crosswalk with his mom. Santa Maria police question whether a cyclist was really hit by a car, as he claims. How cars should turn right when bikes are around.

The Sierra Club, which hasn’t always support cycling, seems to be coming around. AAA endorses a more bike-friendly America; does that mean they’ll stop fighting bike safety measures in California? Bike lawyer Bob Mionske looks at drunk biking laws. Walk Score rates the most bikeable cities; maybe L.A. can get a bike score of its own soon. Maybe they need an L.A.-style anti-harassment ordinance in my old hometown. Then again, maybe bike education would make for safer cycling and driving. Turns out riding a bike is the fastest way to get around Boston. New York uses liquor licenses to fight back again scofflaw bike delivery people.

Turns out that bike-unfriendly Toronto is even less bikeable than Saskatoon. A British motoring organization claims over half of all cyclists run red lights; turns out it ain’t necessarily so once you get the facts. An Aussie city considers a proposal to waive the country’s mandatory helmet law for riders on separated bikeways.

Finally, Alabama film maker Katie Rogers talks about her in-process film about going carless in L.A., which just got funded on Kickstarter today. And if this car runs you over, at least you’ll know why.

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