Tag Archive for Justin Newman

74-year old cyclist killed in Moreno Valley; fifth SoCal cycling fatality in two weeks

Please, not again.

For the second time in less than a week, a cyclist in his 70s has been killed on the streets of Southern California. And the fifth area cyclist to die in the last two weeks, after going over three weeks without a single fatality — four in traffic incidents and one by shooting.

According in the Southwest Riverside News Network, as well as a other sources which published identical stories, 74-year old Vernon Slade of Moreno Valley was killed early Sunday morning when he was hit by a truck on the 13100 block of Heacock Street.

Detail are sparse.

The collision was reported at 3:27 am, and Slade was pronounced dead at Riverside county Medical Center at 3:56 am. The driver who hit him was traveling north on Heacock Street in a Dodge Ram truck; no information on where Slade was positioned on the roadway or if he was using lights, or anything else that might help make sense of his death.

The story reports that the driver of the truck was cooperative. And not surprisingly, was not injured in the collision.

Slade represents the 56th traffic-related cycling fatality in Southern California since the start of the year — one more than the annual total for the last two years on record. He is also the 10th cyclist killed in Riverside County, and the second in Moreno Valley; that number matches the annual average for the county.

And it’s only October.

Another seven cyclists have died in shootings since the first of the year, one in San Diego and six in L.A. County.

My deepest sympathy for Slade’s family and loved ones.

And thanks to Rex Reese and an anonymous source for the links.


A few other quick notes.

The bike rider killed in the shooting in Long Beach on Saturday night has been identified as 29-year old Reynard Lionell Fulton of Palmdale.

Sam Ollinger of Bike San Diego offers more information about the dooring death of Justin Newman.

KPCC remembers extended station family member, and fallen cyclist, Alan Deane. Meanwhile, the recent deaths have Pasadena officials concerned; I should certainly hope so. Although a Whittier writer says it’s still safe to ride in the L.A. area, despite recent events.


Come back later for a little good news, for a change, as my dog sled racing big brother offers his perspective on taking up cycling many decades after he set his bike aside at 16.

Update: San Diego cyclist dies two days after dooring

This is not the way we wanted to end the week.

Early Friday morning, a San Diego cyclist died of injuries he received after getting doored Wednesday evening.

The incident occurred around 7 pm Wednesday when 30-year old Justin Newman of San Diego was riding west on University Avenue near Kansas Street.

According to the Union-Tribune’s Sign On San Diego website, as he passed a 2008 Dodge sedan parked on the side of the street, the driver opened the door into his path. He hit it and fell into the street, suffering a major closed head injury.

He was pronounced dead at 1:30 am at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego.

For a change, none of the stories I’ve seen indicate whether Newman was wearing helmet, even though this is exactly the sort of relatively slow-speed impact that helmets are designed to protect against.

And despite common perceptions that often blame the cyclist for running into a door, it is almost always the motorist’s fault when a cyclist is doored.

Under section 22517 of the California Vehicle Code, drivers are responsible for ensuring that the street next to them is clear before opening a door. And it’s been that way for nearly 50 years.

22517.  No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open upon the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

The driver should face criminal charges for Newman’s death under that statute, since there is virtually no way to door a rider without violating it. So it will be interesting to see if San Diego authorities, who aren’t always perceived as being supportive of cyclists, do the right thing.

Or if they say it was just another accident. And let yet another killer careless driver off the hook.

Newman was the 2nd San Diego area cyclist fatally injured in two days this week, and the 12th confirmed traffic-related bike fatality in San Diego County this year. He was also the 55th cycling fatality in Southern California since the start of the year, matching the annual total for the last two years on record.

Update: Chuck Lowery forwarded an earlier story from the Sign On San Diego site indicating that Newman wasn’t wearing a helmet when he was doored.

And that brings up a common misconception.

Bike helmets are designed to offer full head protection at impact speeds of up to 12.5 mph, and partial protection up to 20 mph. It’s highly unlikely that Newman’s head hit the pavement at a speed higher than that in a simple dooring; had he been wearing one, there’s a good possibility that he might have survived.

Where helmets offer little or no protection are the kind of high speed collisions most people wear them for. If you’re hit by a car or truck traveling at speed, a helmet may offer some protection, but it’s not a magic talisman that will miraculously protect you from injury.

Personally, I use something else for that.

And a helmet will do absolutely nothing to protect against injury to other parts of the body.

So by all means, wear your helmet; I never ride without mine. But know their limitations. Because the best way to survive a dooring, or any other collision, is to avoid having one.

My deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Justin Newman.

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