Intersection where collision occurred; photos courtesy of Sarge and Michele Chavez
Once again, cyclists are collateral damage on the roads of Southern California.
According to a report from the L.A. Sheriff’s Department, a husband and wife from Valencia were seriously injured when two vehicles collided in the middle of a Lancaster intersection.
Approximately 20 cyclists were participating in a group ride organized by a local bike shop. As they crossed the intersection of
Avenue L and 4th Street West Avenue L and Division Street around 8 pm, a PT Cruiser struck a minivan that was traveling next to them, forcing the van into the couple’s path.
Despite wearing a helmet, the husband suffered head trauma and is in critical condition in a local hospital; the wife is listed stable condition with moderate injuries. Neither has been publicly identified.
More information when it becomes available.
Update: A comment left by Whitney, who was on the ride, says that that collision occurred at approximately 8 am, rather than 8 pm as the L.A. Times and other sources have reported. She offers a little insight into what happened:
The group followed all rules of the road; we were barely into the ride, just starting out, less than a mile from starting. A car ran a red light and exactly as Opus shares, no one, no action, could have prevented this with the exception of the driver of the car that ran the light at high speed.
Even if the 2 cyclists were off to the side of the road, it is possible with the speed of the car at cause, and the trajectory of the car it hit, no “spot” was safe to be. In fact, different angle and the rest of us could have been hit.
Be safe, fellow cyclists, as none of us set out on Saturday morning with anything other than the camaraderie of a group ride in mind. Do whatever you can to raise awareness with your group. No doubt someone from our group will reach out for help, to help this family.
Again, the ride was at 8am, not 8pm. Daylight, morning, not evening. Should be safe right? Perhaps cameras at stop lights aren’t such a bad thing, at least, to capture cause when something like this happens, since all too often these events are at intersections.
Whitney offers an interesting suggestion.
Even with the removal of red light cameras in Los Angeles and other cities in the Southland, there are still thousands of traffic control cameras installed at the busier intersections.
It shouldn’t cost much to expand that system to cover most major intersections, not just to monitor traffic, but to provide evidence to police, attorneys and insurance companies in the event of a collision. Maybe that’s something that could be funded by the legal and insurance professionals who have a financial stake in determining exactly who is at fault in serious wrecks.
And Whitney and Opus raise another good point. Chances are, no one could have avoided a collision like this. Sometimes events occur so swiftly that escaping is not an option.
However, it’s important to remember that similar tragedies have resulted to death and serious injuries to other drivers, pedestrians, people waiting at bus stops, customers and employees in nearby businesses, and even people in the presumed safety of their own homes. Once a vehicle goes ballistic, there’s no way to control who or what it hits, or who gets hurt as a result.
This is not proof, as some will undoubtedly suggest, that bicycling is dangerous.
But rather, that cars are — especially in the hands of dangerous, careless and/or speeding drivers.
My heartfelt prayers for the victims, and all their family and loved ones.
Update: I’m told that the husband, Nathan “Bud” Tippee, has died of his injuries. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any confirmation in the press, but that’s not unusual; the press often doesn’t follow-up on stories involving critically injured traffic victims. If I get any more details, I’ll let you know.