Tag Archive for Los Angeles County

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 Richard “Ricky” Montoya of Hawthorne 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. 

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.

 

Bike rider dies following Montbello collision on Thursday

More bad news.

Word is just coming in that a bike rider has died after being struck by a car in Montbello yesterday.

Seventy-one-year old Julio Fuentes Mendoza was riding on Lincoln Ave around 6 pm when he was hit by a vehicle. He was taken to County USC, where he passed away sometime today.

The driver remained at the scene; no other details are available at this time.

A ghost bike ceremony will be held at the site on Sunday afternoon. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get the exact time and location of the ceremony in advance.

This is the 72nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 28th in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Julio Mendoza and his loved ones. 

Thanks to Carlos Morales of Stan’s Bike Shop for the heads-up.

Update: Bike rider killed in Lawndale collision; details unknown

Once again, few details are available as the recent rash of bad news continues.

This morning, I was alerted to yet another bicycling fatality by a sharp eyed attorney, who spotted the news hidden in a string of traffic alerts from the CHP (scroll down to 7:14 am).

Based on that alert, Johnson Attorneys Group reports a rider in his 40s was killed in a Lawndale collision that occurred on Manhattan Beach Blvd near Cranbrook Ave in Lawndale at 7:14 this morning.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:30 am. No other details are available at this time.

Cranbrook does not actually intersect with Manhattan Beach Blvd; a satellite view shows a four lane, limited access street with a single crosswalk, suggesting the victim was most likely either hit from behind or crossing the street at the time of the collision.

However, the CHP reports indicate all lanes were blocked following the collision, which would most likely place the victim in the middle of the street when he was struck; El Camino College is located on the south side of Manhattan Beach Blvd, along with a golf course.

This is the 67th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 25th in Los Angeles County; that compares to 65 and 27, respectively, this time las year.

Update: According to the Daily Breeze, the victim, who has still not been publicly identified, was a man in his 60s. And as suggested above, he was riding his bike in the crosswalk when he was hit by a Hyundai sedan driving east on Manhattan Beach. 

A CHP spokesman reports the driver did not see the victim, despite flashing warning lights on the crosswalk; a comment below suggests he may have been blinded by the sun. 

Of course, the proper response when blinded is to pull over until you can see, rather than attempting to drive by braille, yet it is seldom prosecuted.

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

Update: Bike rider killed in close pass on Mt. Baldy Road last Saturday

No name.

One lousy paragraph.

Evidently, that’s all the life of a Fontana cyclist is worth, as the Claremont Courier reports a bike rider was killed on Mt. Baldy Road last Saturday.

According to the paper, the 59-year old victim was riding south on Mt. Baldy Road near Evey Canyon around 7 am on Saturday, June 14th, when a 77-year old driver attempted to pass him. She hit him with the passenger side mirror of her SUV, knocking him to the ground with great force.

He died after being airlifted to USC Medical Center with severe head trauma. The paper notes that he suffered the injuries despite wearing a helmet, which suggests a significant impact.

No other information is available at this time, including the names of the victim and driver.

The collision is still under investigation. However, even without the new three-foot passing law going into effect until September, this would appear to be a clear case of unsafe passing at the very least.

This is the 46th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 19th in Los Angeles County.

Update: Comments from Cheryl and Sierra Ornelas identify the victim as Carlos Vasquez, who was riding with his son at the time of the collision.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Carlos Vasquez and his loved ones.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

19-year old bike rider killed in South LA hit-and-run

Yet another teenage cyclist has been murdered by a heartless hit-and-run driver.

Late last night, news broke that a South LA pedestrian had been seriously injured by a driver who fled the scene. By this morning, it was clear that the victim, identified as by the LA Times as 19-year old Oscar Toledo Jr., had been riding a bike when he was run down.

KNBC-4 places the collision around 9:40 pm at the intersection of South Normandie Ave and West 47th Street. Toledo was reportedly crossing Normandie on 47th when he was hit by a car traveling south on Normandie; no word on which direction he was riding. However, the Times story says he was making a left, apparently onto Normandie.

The driver fled the scene, evidently without slowing or stopping.

Toledo was transported to a local hospital in critical condition; KNBC reports he died there while the Times says he passed away in the ambulance.

Police are looking for a red Toyota Corolla or burgundy Pontiac, which suggests there may have been at least two witnesses to the crash. KNBC reports police will be looking to see if  collision may have been captured on surveillance video from local businesses.

KABC-7 quotes an LAPD detective, who says the vehicle may have front end damage constant with striking a bike.

“The young man was 19 years old, leaves behind a caring family, his mother, his brother. It’s very important that if witnesses have any information to come forward so we can solve this crime,” said Render.

Anyone with information is urges to call the LAPD at 877/LAPD-24-7.

This is the 44th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, which compares with 32 this time last year. It’s also the 18th cycling death in LA County, and the fifth in the City of LA; three of those five deaths have been hit-and-runs.

Update: KTLA-5 reports Toledo had recently become a father; now a child will grow up never knowing his dad. A ghost bike will be installed at the location Friday evening.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Oscar Toledo Jr. and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg and James Johnson for the heads-up.

Whittier rider dies of injuries suffered in Downey collision last month

Ghost bike in memory of Sal Sahagun; photo by Danny Gamboa

Ghost bike in memory of Sal Sahagun; photo by Danny Gamboa

Most bicycling collisions never make the news.

Even when they do, there’s seldom any follow-up. So we may never know if an injured rider made a full recovery or succumbed to his or her injuries days or weeks after the collision.

And no one other than a handful of people close to the victim will ever know.

That’s exactly what happened when a bike rider was critically injured in a collision with a big rig truck in Downey last month.

According to the Los Cerritos News, a 46-year old Whittier resident was hit while he was riding his bike at the intersection of Florence and Fairford Avenues around 8 am on Friday, April 25th. A satellite view shows a busy intersection leading to a freeway onramp, with heavy truck traffic visible in the photo.

No word on how the collision occurred; however, at that hour, he was most likely riding to work. The paper reports the driver was not charged, though the investigation was ongoing at the time.

Then no further word until someone reached out to the LACBC last week, asking for help in honoring a co-worker who had passed away recently after being injured in a collision on April 25th. However, they couldn’t find any information confirming the death, and reached out to me to see if I’d heard anything.

Sadly, that news came today, when a family member confirmed that Sal Sahagun has died of the injuries he suffered in that April 25th collision.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to get more details later.

This is the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Sal Sahagun and all his family and loved ones.

Thanks to Colin Bogart for the heads-up.

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