Tag Archive for Carlsbad

Update: Carlsbad cyclist killed in hit-from-behind collision

Damn it.

This is not what I wanted to write about tonight. And not the news I wanted to come home to today.

I wanted to write about yet another amazing CicLAvia, marred only by the decision to use just half of the Venice Blvd roadway, resulting in massive bike back-ups from the once-again grossly underestimated crowd.

Anyone who thinks less than 200,000 bike riders turned out to enjoy the day probably wasn’t there; personally, I’d put the number at over 250,000.

Well over.

And I wanted to tell you about a friend I met along the way, and finally unveil the identity of one of this site’s leading contributors.

But all that will have to wait.

Because we have to add yet another name to the growing Southern California body count. Or we would, except once again, the name has been withheld pending notification of the next of kin.

And once again, there’s almost no information available, despite virtually identical reports from four different sources.

According to the reports, two cyclists were riding north in the bike lane on El Camino Real north of La Costa Ave in Carlsbad around 7:40 this morning when one of the riders was rear-ended by an apparently driverless and apparently invisible vehicle, since there’s no description of the driver or the car.

There’s also no description of where the riders were positioned on the road, or any conditions that may have contributed to the collision, despite a number of apparent witnesses. Although that doesn’t stop some of the commenters from drawing their own conclusions.

The victim suffered a head injury, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A commenter on the local Patch website describes him as a La Costa Valley resident, who leaves behind a wife and three young children.

This is the 18th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Diego since the first of the year.

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

Update: The victim has been identified as 45-year old Eric Ringdahl of Carlsbad; thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up. Comments below describe the vehicle as a red or maroon sedan, possibly a Corolla. The driver remained at the scene — and how sad is it that something like that even has to be noted? A comment from Stone says the weather was clear and traffic light at the time of the collision, suggesting the victim should have been clearly visible.

Update 2: I’ve just been forwarded an email from the Traffic Division Commander with the Carlsbad police, which confirms what many have been saying, that the driver fell asleep at the wheel coming home from working the night shift. However, he indicates that the driver was a man, rather than a woman, as virtually everyone had assumed, myself included.

According to the Commander, there was no indication of impairment and no intent to cause harm or break the law, which eliminates the possibility of serious criminal charges such as assault or homicide. However, he says the collision will result in a lengthy investigation by the Carlsbad Police and the San Diego Medical Examiner’s office, and that the results of that investigation will be forwarded to the county DA for review and possible prosecution.

And that’s one of the major problems with the California Vehicle Code.

There is, to the best of my knowledge, no specific legal requirement for motorists to remain alert behind the wheel — let alone awake. Unlike many other states, there is no blanket prohibition against careless driving. We assume that all drivers are required to be alert and aware of road conditions at all times, to operate their vehicles carefully and safely. And most of all, to not kill anyone.

But that’s not necessarily the case.

Thanks to Chris Menjou for the information.

Update 3: The San Diego Union-Tribune confirms that the male driver told police he had fallen asleep while driving home form work and drifted into the bike lane, where he struck Ringdahl. And despite finger pointing in the comments here and elsewhere, the police say he was wearing a helmet and “riding properly in the bike lane” when he was killed.

The paper says it should take somewhere around a month to complete the Medical Examiner’s investigation, at which time the driver could be charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, if they find the crash was caused by the driver’s carelessness or inattention. 

In addition, according to a comment from Kim, a CaringBridge page has been set up to raise funds for Ringdahl’s family.

Thanks to Philip Young for the heads-up.

Killer hit-and-run driver who hid in bushes faces six years; swift justice in Monrovia

The bike justice beat goes on.

It wasn’t that long ago that drivers who killed or maimed cyclists seemed to drive off with barely a slap on the wrist. But lately, there seems to be a steady drumbeat of convictions, even if some drivers still get off far too easy.

Maybe that speaks to the pressure we’ve been applying in our demands for justice.

Or maybe it just speaks to the unacceptably high number of serious cycling cases currently clogging the courts. Or the sheer idiocity of those behind the wheel.

Case in point, Julianne Elyse Thompson was convicted after pleading guilty in a bizarre case in which she ran down and killed 64-year old Arthur John Jacobs in Carlsbad. Then fled the scene at high speed, only to be discovered hiding in the bushes across from an apartment complex where she’d abandoned her car.

Thompson plead guilty to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run causing death. Her blood alcohol level was measured at 0.25 after her arrest — over three times the legal limit, and approaching the level that can cause death.

She is expected to be sentenced to a well-deserved six years in state prison.

……..

In a case of remarkably swift justice, a driver has already been convicted in a Monrovia hit-and-run that occurred just this past Monday.

Yes, Monday.

Jason Travers was arrested about an hour after a 5:42 pm hit-and-run that left a cyclist with non-life threatening injuries. The 25-year old rider, identified as Paul Tetu, was hit from behind while attempting to make a left turn, and thrown 20 feet through the air.

In a sign of the sheer stupidity demonstrated by some drivers — especially those foolish enough to flee the scene of a collision — Travers called police to report he may have been in a collision, after apparently seeing the story on the news. But swore he wasn’t the one who hit the cyclist.

Needless to say, police investigators found evidence connecting him to the crime. Which they may never have found if Travers hadn’t attempted to craft a case of implausible deniability.

He showed much better judgement at his arraignment on Wednesday, entering a plea of No Contest to the hit-and-run charge; sentencing will take place next month.

……..

Finally, Orange County deputies stopped cars in an effort to find the hit-and-run killer of Randy Isaacs, as his family pleads for justice.

Isaacs was killed after putting his children to bed at his parents house, while riding his son’s bike a few blocks to the room he was renting after separating from his wife.

Hit-and-run driver kills cyclist in Carlsbad; driver found hiding in bushes

It’s happened yet again.

Another hit-and-run, another dead cyclist in North San Diego County, only a few miles from where Jim Swarzman was killed in April.

This time, though, the alleged drunk driver was found before she had time to sober up, hiding in some bushes near where her car was found.

According to multiple reports, 64-year old Arthur John Jacobs of Vista was riding southbound near the intersection of El Camino Real and Cassia Street around 9:45 pm last night when he was hit by a vehicle allegedly driven by 23-year old Julianne Elyse Thompson. A witness reportedly told police that Thompson’s vehicle hit the curb and some bushes, then sped off into the nearby Villa Loma apartment complex.

When police arrived, they found Jacobs lying in the street; he was pronounced dead at the scene.

After a brief search, Thompson was found hiding in the bushes near where her vehicle, which has not been publicly identified, had been abandoned. She was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run drunk driving.

This is the 43rd confirmed traffic-related cycling fatality so far this year, and the 10th in San Diego County; one other cyclist was killed in a shooting this year. It is also the third fatal hit-and-run death of a cyclist in SDC this year, and the second in which the driver was known to be intoxicated.

Thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

San Diego-area cyclist killed on Sunday

Yet another Southern California cyclist was killed over the weekend.

According to a number of news reports, a 50-year old Poway woman was killed while riding her bike in Carlsbad on Sunday; authorities are withholding her name until relatives can be notified.

The North County Times reports that she was riding north on South Rancho Sante Fe Road with her boyfriend when she attempted to turn left onto Calle Barcelona near the border of Carlsbad and Encinitas.

As she entered the left turn lane, she hit the curb on the center divider and lost control of her bike; in a struggle to regain control, she swerved back into the left through lane where she was hit by an oncoming car. A photo from MSNBC shows that the driver clearly tried to stop but was unable to avoid her; she died at the scene.

In light of the recent debate over the unacceptably high rate of bike deaths in Orange County — more on that later today — she did not run a red light or stop sign and wasn’t riding in a group, well behaved or otherwise. And whether she signaled or was riding side-by-side had nothing to do with this collision.

Not that any death is acceptable, of course.

This time, at least, it seems to be a case of rider error. Police note that drugs or alcohol don’t seem to involved, though no mention is made of whether the driver was distracted or exceeding the speed limit.

This also serves as a reminder that it’s always important be aware of road conditions and the traffic around you, and can be better to let yourself fall than struggle to stay upright and risk getting hit by oncoming cars.

Even when you’re not in full control of your bike, it’s often possible to choose when and where you want to land by shifting your weight in the direction you want to fall.

For instance, had she let herself fall to the left instead of struggling to stay upright, she would have risked going over the narrow median and landing in the path of south bound traffic; if there were no cars coming, that might have been a viable option. Or she could have made herself fall to the right, which probably would have kept her in the left turn lane and out of the way of through traffic.

Either way, she might have ended up hurt.

But chances are, she’d be alive.

It doesn’t do any good to play armchair quarterback and analyze what she should have done. She reacted in the moment, undoubtedly out of instinct and fear.

The point is to train yourself to respond in a conscious and deliberate manner, and maintain as much control over the situation as possible.

Even when you can’t control your bike.

………

The Beverly Hills City Council will discuss the reconstruction of Santa Monica Blvd through the city at tonight’s council meeting. This will provide an opportunity for cyclists to argue for bikes of be accommodated in the new plans, and end the current dangerous black hole between the bikeways of West Hollywood and Century City; current plans include consideration of a bike lane in one direction only. The meeting starts at 7:30 pm at Beverly Hills City Hall.

………

The Source offers instructions on how to load your bike onto a bus; helpful advice for those of us who haven’t tried it yet. UCLA offers a new Android app for campus bike lockers. Mayor Villaraigosa plans a Wednesday press conference to officially announce CicLAvia. If Long Beach is truly going to be one of the nation’s most bike friendly cities, it has to design bridges that work for everyone. An actor who was about to quit the profession stars in the upcoming movie Peloton as a cyclist who was about to quit the sport. Santa Rosa gets a bike-activated beacon to warn motorists about cyclists on the road ahead of them. Just Another Cyclist jumps into the helmet debate with both feet, offering an all-too-rare cool-headed look at both sides of the question. Sharrows are coming soon to my hometown. A Colorado cyclist pepper sprays two attacking dogs and their owner, who ends up getting a ticket. The biggest bike news in DC since Tony Kornheiser’s infamous anti-bike rant, as the nation’s capitol unveils its long-awaited bike share program. A personal crusade to stop the salmon cyclists. A New York cyclist is killed on an environmental tour in New Brunswick. A beginner’s guide to fast descents. Bike pools allow you to connect with other cyclists who want to share a ride. Both British teenage inmates who busted out by bike are now back in custody. A new study shows Brit cyclists and motorists would rather not share the road, thank you. After a Bangalore bar bouncer collided with cyclist while escaping after punching a cop, the bar owner takes the rider to the hospital and promises to buy him a new bike.

Finally, if you think riding in L.A. traffic is hard, at least it beats riding underwater.

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