Tag Archive for Los Angeles County

Palmdale man killed in rear-end collision while riding to work early Wednesday morning

Bad news from North LA County, as a bike commuter lost his life in a collision earlier this week.

According to the Antelope Valley Times, 40-year old Palmdale resident Jeff Aubrey McGrath was riding south on Sierra Highway north of Pearblossom Highway around 4:40 am Wednesday when he was rear-ended by a car traveling in the same direction.

The paper reports the driver remained at the scene, and did not appear to be intoxicated.

A story in Thursday’s Antelope Valley Press, which is not available online, indicates McGrath was riding in the right lane on his way to work when he was hit, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

McGrath had worked as a farm handyman for over 15 years, and often came into work very early.

A street view shows a narrow shoulder, with the right lane merging into a single lane shortly above Pearblossom.

There’s no word on whether he was using lights or reflectors, nearly two hours before sunrise, or why the driver apparently didn’t see him.

This is the 44th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 19th in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jeff McGrath and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Michele Chavez for the heads-up.

Bike rider killed crossing PCH in Malibu; bicycling deaths down over 40% in LA County compared to 2014

The report of the possible death of a bike rider has finally been confirmed.

According to the Malibu Times, a 48-year old man was attempting to cross PCH on his bike at Busch Drive, near the entrance to Zuma Beach at 8:30 pm Sunday.

The victim, described only as a possible transient, was transported to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood. Despite suffering from what was initially described as non-life threatening injuries, he died four hours later.

A satellite view shows a left turn lane at the entrance to the beach just west of Busch Drive.

The paper reports both eastbound lanes were closed on PCH, along with one westbound lane, suggesting he was struck on the eastbound side. A spokesman for the sheriff’s department said he had crossed the highway when he was hit, which would mean he was riding towards the beach, rather than away.

No word on whether he was in the traffic lane or on the shoulder when he was hit, or who might have been at fault.

The Malibu times says this is the fifth bicycling fatality on the Malibu section of PCH this year.

The recently released PCH Safety Study calls for improvements in the area around the complicated intersection, including a new bridge connecting Westward Beach Road to PCH, to reduce conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

This is the 43rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 18th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the 9th death involving a bike rider in Malibu since 2011; surprisingly, only two of those have occurred on PCH.

That compares with 63 in SoCal this time last year, and 31 in the county, for a 42% decrease over last year in LA County, and 31% overall.

Wednesday night hit-and-run death of Montebello bike rider confirmed

Sadly, we’ve gotten confirmation of another bicycling fatality.

Last night we mentioned unconfirmed reports that a bike rider had been killed in a hit-and-run earlier this week.

Scene of the collision; all photos by Danny Gamboa

Scene of the collision; all photos by Danny Gamboa

Today, the Whittier Daily News reported that 24-year old Steven Garcia was hit by a car around 10:30 pm Wednesday at the intersection of Whittier Blvd and Bluff Road in Montebello.

The driver — or possibly more than one, according to a Gofundme page set up to help raise fund to pay his funeral expenses — fled the scene, leaving him lying severely injured in the street.

He was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he died early Friday morning.

No description was available of the vehicles or drivers involved. And no details on how the collision occurred or who might have been at fault.

According to the paper, he lived in Montebello and worked at a local painting and sandblasting business. The Gofundme page says he was returning home from his job when he was struck.

Ghost bike and memorial for Steven Garcia

Ghost bike and memorial for Steven Garcia

A ghost bike ceremony was held in his honor Saturday night.

This is the 36th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy for Steven Garcia and his family and friends.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

 Steven-Garcia-Crowd

Alleged red light running cyclist killed in Hawthorne collision

A bicyclist has lost his life after allegedly running a red light in Hawthorne Friday evening.

According to the Press-Telegram, 49-year old Los Angeles resident Fernando Gamboa was struck by a car while riding on Imperial Highway east of Sundale Avenue, in the shadow of the 105 Freeway, around 6:58 pm Friday.

The CHP reports he was riding against the light when he rode out in front of a 2015 Camaro, and was thrown 20 feet through the air. He was pronounced dead at the scene just minutes later.

Sadly, family members somehow arrived on the scene, and were informed of Gamboa’s death.

No one should ever have to see a loved one like that, or live with that kind of memory.

Unfortunately, the satellite view of the street is obscured by the highway overhead. However, based on the limited description, it would appear Gamboa was trying to cross the busy street at some point east of Sundale Ave, and was struck by a car that continued through the intersection.

As always, the question is whether independent witnesses saw him crossing against the light, or if the driver is the only surviving witness.

This is 35th confirmed bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th in Los Angeles County. That compares with 53 in SoCal last year, and 20 in the county.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Fernando Gamboa and all his loved ones.

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

23-year old bike rider killed last week in Granada Hills truck collision

Today is turning into a very sad day.

Last Thursday, I received a secondhand report that a bicyclist had been killed in Granada Hills earlier in the week. Since then, I’ve been working with Asher M to confirm the report, without success

Sadly, that came today, when the LAPD’s bike liaison for the Valley Traffic Division confirmed that that a rider was killed last week.

According to his email, the victim was crossing Nordhoff Street while riding north on Petit Ave when multiple witnesses report he went through the red light while riding against traffic, and was struck by a vehicle.

No time was given for the collision.

Asher was able to track down Facebook and Instagram pages identifying the victim as 23-year old Andrew Fang. A memorial post indicates he was on his way home from school when he was hit by a truck, and died in the hospital the following day.

A fund has been established to help his family cover the unexpected costs relating to his death. As of today, it has raised a little over $3,800 of the $10,000 goal.

This is the 18th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Los Angeles County; it’s also the third in the City of Los Angeles. That compares with 16 in the county and four in the city this time last year.

Update: The wreck occurred at 7:50 pm, so visibility may have been an issue, as well.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Andrew Fang and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Asher M, whose assistance was invaluable.

Update: Teenage bike rider killed on Aviation Blvd in El Segundo

I hate news like this.

Ricky Montoya

Photo from GoFundME page

Early this morning, I received an email saying that a young bicyclist was killed in El Segundo over the weekend. However, I was unable to confirm the news until now.

I’ve now been told from multiple sources that 25-year old Richard “Ricky” Montoya of Lawndale was killed while riding home at 124th and Aviation Blvd in El Segundo; some sources place the collision somewhere between 122nd and 124th.

Details are still sketchy, however, it appears he was hit sometime Saturday night, and passed away at a hospital later that night or the next day. One source says the driver was speeding, however, that has not been confirmed.

Memorial for Ricky Montoya; photo by Danny Gamboa.

Memorial for Ricky Montoya; photo by Danny Gamboa.

I have a call into the El Segundo Police department, so hopefully we’ll get more information soon.

Meanwhile, Montoya’s family is raising funds to pay for his funeral expenses; so far they’ve raised less than 10% of the $15,000 needed. Plans are also in the works to place a ghost bike on Wednesday.

This is the sixth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in LA County. That compare to 19 in SoCal this time last year.

Update: A comment below says that Montoya was 25, and was a resident of Lawndale; I’ve corrected this story to reflect that.

Scene of the collision on Aviation Blvd; photo by Danny Gamboa

Collision site on Aviation Blvd; photo by Danny Gamboa

Update 2: Still no official word about this collision. However, after visiting the site, Danny Gamboa reports marks indicating the point of impact and and where Montoya’s body came to rest are over one hundred feet apart, supporting the suggestion that he was hit at a high rate of speed.

He also reports Montoya’s bike was properly lighted, and that debris on the side of the road suggests he was riding in the right lane when he was hit. 

Meanwhile, a reader forwards word from a Nixle alert that Aviation will be closed from 5 am to 10 am Saturday so police can continue their investigation at the crash site.

……..

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ricky Montoya and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Margaret Wehbi and Danny Gamboa for their help in confirming the bad news.

 

Ghost bike for Ricky Montoya; photo by Danny Gamboa

Ghost bike for Ricky Montoya; photo by Danny Gamboa

Update: 17-year old bike rider killed by DWP truck in Granada Hills

Philo-Ragni-Ghost-Bike-1

Ghost Bike for Philo Ragni; all photos by Danny Gamboa

There’s something seriously wrong when a kid can’t even ride his bike home from school.

According to KTLA-5, a 17-year old boy was struck and killed by a DWP truck Wednesday afternoon, just a block away from John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, where he was a student. Other sources give his age as 16.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was riding south on Woodley Ave at San Fernando Mission Blvd when he was hit the northbound truck, driven by an electrical worker for the department. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

There’s no word on how the collision occurred; however, since it happened at an intersection while they were traveling in opposite directions, it suggests that one or the other may have been turning onto San Fernando Mission.

The station reports there were several bikes lying on a corner of the intersection following the wreck, one with a mangled front wheel.

And yes, the DWP did offer a brief statement of sympathy.

This is the fourth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Los Angeles County. It’s also the first in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year.

Update: KNBC-4 reports the victim was a senior at the school, and had been riding with a group of fellow students. However, the story is not online yet.

Update 2: KACB-7 has identified the victim as 17-year old Philo Ragni.

According to the station, the LAPD said the DWP truck was headed north on Woodley when a group of kids crossed the street going west on San Fernando Mission; no word on who had the right of way.

However, police report that a Metro bus was driving by at the time of the collision, and may have captured the collision on video.

Update 3: KCBS-2 contradicts the KABC report, suggesting that Ragni and his friends were riding south on Woodley when he suddenly turned across the path of the truck. The station says Ragni, whose given name was Philomene, was a popular student who friends say was always happy, though troubled by the recent death of his mother.

The station also reports he was not wearing a helmet; whether or not that is relevant depends on just what injuries he suffered, and whether or not the collision would have been survivable with one.

And I neglected to include earlier that the driver remained on the scene and was cooperating with investigators; he passed a sobriety test at the scene. He is said to be devastated by what happened.

Adding to the tragedy, KTLA-5 says Ragni died on his little brother’s birthday.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Philo Ragni and his loved ones.  

Philo-Ragni-Ghost-Bike-2

Philo-Ragni-Ghost-Bike-3

 

 

Bike rider dies after January hit-and-run in West Covina; third bike rider killed in SoCal this year

And then there were three.

The San Gabriel Tribune reports that Emilio Simon, a 50-year old resident of West Covina, died Thursday after fighting for his life for nearly two weeks following a hit-and-run last month.

Simon was walking his bike in the middle of the block across Francisquito Ave just west of California Ave in West Covina around 8:10 pm on January 23rd when he was hit by a westbound SUV.

The driver fled south on Sunset Ave, apparently without stopping, leaving Simon suffering from severe injuries in the street.

The car was described as an older silver Jeep Grand Cherokee, 1997 to 2001; police said it may have damage to the front driver’s side.

Anyone with information is urged to call West Covina police at 626/939-8500, or 24-hour tip line at 626/939-8688.

Let’s catch this jerk.

This is the third bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in LA County; that compares to six in the county this time last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Emilio Simon and his family. 

Monterey Park cyclist killed in right hook earlier this month

Sometimes it takes awhile for bad news to get around.

Earlier this month, a bike rider was seriously injured in a right hook in Monterey Park. Now I’ve received word that she has died of her injuries.

According to the Pasadena Star-News, the victim, identified as 59-year old Ai-Nei Zhou of Monterey Park, was riding in the crosswalk on Garvey Avenue at Orange Avenue when she was hit by a car turning right onto southbound Orange around 3:30 pm on November 15th.

Zhou was hospitalized with serious injuries; the Cyclist Down Facebook page says she died the following day.

The Star-News reports the driver remained at the scene and cooperated with police.

It’s not clear from the article which direction Zhou was riding. Presumably, she was riding on the sidewalk when she entered the crosswalk; if she going west she should have been easily visible as she rode towards the driver. However, if she was riding in the opposite direction, drivers often don’t look for bikes on the sidewalk, and don’t anticipate cyclists riding out into the street.

Which does not in any way excuse the driver’s failure to see her or stop in time to avoid her. But it does explain why cyclists have to be extra careful when approaching an intersection from the sidewalk.

Look carefully for any approaching cars, especially from behind, and assume the drivers don’t see you. Then refuse to enter the street until all the cars have stopped for you or passed through the intersection.

This is the 80th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and 31st in LA County; both of those totals are comparable to this time last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ai-Nei Zhou and all her friends and family.

Thanks to Carlos Morales for the heads-up. 

 

 

Today’s post, in which I don’t exactly endorse anyone — and urge you to wake the sleeping bike giant

The future of bicycling in LA County and the State of California is in your hands.

Or more precisely, awaiting your vote.

Bike the Vote LA offers a full slate of endorsements for your voting pleasure in tomorrow’s election.

I’ll leave it to you to make your own choices.

Though I will point out, for those in his district, that District 43 Assembly Member Mike Gatto has proven himself to be one of the most effective members of the legislature — and one of the best friends bicyclists and pedestrians have among California’s elected officials.

……..

As for myself, I plan to cast my ballot for Bobby Shriver for LA County District 3 Supervisor to replace Zev Yaroslavsky.

While I have a great deal of respect for Shiela Kuehl and all she has accomplished at the state level, I’m troubled by her responses to the LACBC’s candidate survey earlier this year. Especially this one, in response to a question about whether she would support protected bike lanes in her district:

Yes, I would, so long as it doesn’t reduce the total number of lanes available to cars.

In other words, she would automatically rule out road diets, even though a US government study shows they can improve safety for all road users by 20 to 50%. And protected bike lanes have been shown to reduce injuries by as much as 90%.

Meanwhile, Shriver expressed strong support for complete streets, and pledged to build at least 40 miles of new bikeways each year.

But don’t take my word for it. Click the links above to read both candidates’ responses, and decide for yourself.

I also plan to vote for Jim McDonnell for LA County Sheriff.

While I’m troubled by his heavy-handed crackdown on the nascent Lang Beach Critical Mass — including bogus tickets and the illegal seizure of some riders’ bikes — I’m impressed by his responses to the LACBC survey. Especially his willingness to meet with cyclists and establish a bike liaison program similar to the LAPD’s to help resolve conflicts between the department and the riding community.

And I have a real problem voting for a candidate who has barely campaigned for the office he’s seeking, and has spent his entire career in a department riddled with allegations of corruption and civil rights violations, as his opponent, Paul Tanaka, has.

On the other hand, I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to throw my vote away by casting it for Republican Neel Kashkari, who has virtually no chance of beating incumbent Governor Jerry Brown. Particularly in light of his misguided pledge to halt California’s planned high-speed rail system — or as he calls it, Jerry Brown’s crazy train — which was approved by voters in 2008, long before Brown took office.

But I can’t in good conscience vote for a man who vetoed every piece of hit-and-run legislation that passed his desk, as Brown did this year.

Is it too late to vote for Meg Whitman?

……..

One last note. Or rather, vote.

I will be voting in favor of LA County Proposition P, which in effect replaces two soon-to-expire property taxes that have funded parks and bikeways throughout the county.

Prop P would create a 30-year stream of funding for parks and open space, beaches and trails — including, possibly, a 22-mile bikeway from Claremont to Rosemead.

Yes, we could all benefit from lower taxes.

But if Prop P fails, everyone in LA County will be poorer for it.

……..

Finally, a quick reminder.

As we’ve noted before, LADOT estimated in the 2010 bike plan that there are roughly 400,000 people in the City of Angels who ride a bike on a monthly basis.

Which is about 22,000 more than bothered to vote in the last city election.

And there’s no reason to believe the same doesn’t hold true throughout the county, where only 17% of registered voters bothered to cast their ballots in the June primary.

That makes bicyclists the sleeping giant of LA politics, with the power to sway elections — especially close ones.

But only if we remember to vote in terms of our own self interests.

Or bother to vote, period.

Because we have the power to ensure a bike-friendly future for the City and County of Los Angeles.

And as we’ve seen, it only takes electing the wrong person to undo hard-won the gains we’ve made.

 

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