Tag Archive for Los Angeles County

Bike rider killed in midnight collision on Vincent Thomas bridge

Sad news from San Pedro, as a bike rider has been killed in a collision after falling on the Vincent Thomas Bridge.

Multiple, virtually identical reports indicate 31-year old Long Beach resident Sergio Tapia was riding north in the right lane of the east-west bridge when he reportedly fell and was hit by a commercial truck, then knocked into the next lane where he was hit by a car.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No word on what might have caused him to fall, or if there were independent witnesses who saw it happen.

Unlike the replacement Gerald Desmond Bridge, which will have both bike and pedestrian paths when it opens, the Vincent Thomas Bridge has neither, forcing bicyclists to ride in heavy industrial traffic coming to and from the ports in Long Beach and San Pedro. And for some riders, especially those who work at the ports, there is no other viable route.

This is the 69th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 28th in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers Sergio Tapia and his family. 

Bellflower bike rider killed in August hit-and-run; one-third of LA County bicycling deaths are hit-and-runs

Sometimes bad news takes a long time to surface.

That’s what happened Tuesday, as word finally broke that a bike rider was killed in a Bellflower hit-and-run last August.

According to the Press-Telegram, 60-year old Bradley Miller was riding on Lakewood Blvd north of Rosecrans Ave a little after 11 pm on August 18th when he was struck by an unidentified vehicle.

Sheriff’s deputies have little information on the car or the driver, and no details were released on how the wreck occurred.

Anyone with information is urged asked to call the Lakewood Station’s Traffic Office at 562/623-3500.

This is the 67th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 27th in Los Angeles County. Twelve of those have been victims of hit-and-runs, as have nine of the deaths in LA County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Bradley Miller and his family.


Update: Bike rider killed in Carson when shipping container falls off flatbed truck

You’ve got to be kidding.

A bike rider lost his life in Carson this evening, for no reason other than he was there.

According to KTLA-5, a man was riding his bike on Santa Fe Avenue near Warnock Way around 5:05 pm Tuesday evening when a shipping container fell off a flatbed truck and landed on him.

He was pronounced dead at the scene; he has not been publicly identified.

The LA Times reports the truck somehow struck a railroad bridge, dislodging the massive container.

To make matters worse, the victim was not even riding in the street. KTLA says he was on the sidewalk when it fell on him, most likely as the truck was passing him.

Based on the limited description, there was absolutely nothing he could have done to avoid it. The only question is whether the driver struck a support, or if the load was too high to pass under the bridge.

This is the 65th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 26th in Los Angeles County.

Update: KABC-7 reports that the coroner’s office has identified the victim only as an Asian male, and confirms that the truck was passing the victim when the load fell off. 

According to a witness, a similar wreck occurred the previous day; fortunately, no one was hurt in that one. He blames trucking companies for cutting corners because truck drivers are on strike at the ports of LA and Long Beach. 

As a result, the companies are hiring flatbed truck drivers who simply strap the containers on, and who are paid by the load, rather than the hour, encouraging them to take chances. 

Today, it may have cost a man his life. 

Update 2: The LA coroner’s office has identified the victim as 51-year old Long Beach resident Robert Castorena.

Update 3:  BAC member David Wolfberg forwards what appears to be Robert Castorena’s Facebook page

Meanwhile, the LA Times fills in details about shipping companies and how the collision occurred; the truck apparently scraped the underneath of the railroad underpass, breaking the cables that secured the container.

No word on whether the driver, or the company he worked for, will face charges. 

Update 4: Police report the driver may face charges depending on the outcome of the investigation; they appear to be looking into whether the load was too high for the bridge. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Robert Castorena and his loved ones.


Update: West Covina bicyclist killed in (alleged) drunken late-night hit-and-run

For once, there was a cop around when he was needed.

Unfortunately, it came too late for a bike rider in West Covina last night.

Multiple sources are reporting that a bicyclist was killed in a high-speed hit-and-run just before midnight, and the allegedly drunken driver arrested moments later just a few blocks away.

Forty-four-year old La Puente resident Jose De Jesus Ruiz-Villanueva was riding his bike north on the 1100 block of South Valinda Avenue, just above Merced Avenue, at 11:49 pm when he was hit from behind by a car traveling at a high rate of speed.

A police officer who was writing a report at nearby Melinda Elementary School heard the collision, and gave chase as the driver sped away, he stopped the car on Cameron Ave, where he noticed substantial damage to the vehicle.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, a second officer went back to the scene, and found Ruiz-Villanueva dead at the scene.

The paper reports he had been on his way to work when he was killed.

Police arrested 25-year old Presley Danielle Rodriguez of Glendora on suspicion of felony driving under the influence causing great bodily injury or death and felony hit-and-run. She was booked on $100,000 bail.

Unfortunately, this occurred in Los Angeles County, where cases like this are usually plea bargained away, leaving the drivers to face little or no jail time.

This is the 64th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 25th in Los Angeles County.

Eight of those 25 deaths have been hit-and-runs.

Update: The driver, Presley Danielle Rodriguez, faces up to 15 years in prison on charges of hit-and-run and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. And for a change, the court appears to be taking this case seriously, increasing her bond to $150,000, $50,000 more than prosecutors requested.

The SGV Tribune reports Ruiz-Villanueva was on his way to work at A-1 Power Sweeping Co in Baldwin Park; his bicycle was his only form of transportation. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jose De Jesus Ruiz-Villanueva and his family. 

Update: Bike rider dies following wrong way collision in Boyle Heights last week

Word is just coming in that another bike rider has died after being hospitalized following a collision.

Last week EGP News reported that a bike rider had undergone surgery after suffering major injuries while riding in Boyle Heights.

The victim was riding against traffic on westbound Fourth Street near South Mission Road around 10:15 pm on Monday, October 12th when he was hit head-on; the driver remained at the scene.

An email from his niece identifies the victim as Adolfo “J.R.” Haro. The family just learned of the collision and his death because he was not carrying identification.

She also reports the driver was speeding.

A vigil will be held and a ghost bike installed at 6:30 tonight.

This is the 61st bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 23rd in Los Angeles County; it’s also the 10th bicycling death in the City of Los Angeles.

Update: An LAPD officer reports that Haro was walking his bike in the streets against traffic, rather than riding, even though there was a sidewalk he could have been using.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Adolfo “J.R.” Haro and his family.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Morning Links: Unannounced Orange Line bike path closure, Go Human in the wild, and still more legal cases

Grab some java and get comfortable. We’ve got a lot to catch up on today.


Your tax dollars at work.

Frequent contributor danger d sends word that the Orange Line bike path has been closed with no advance warning. And at one of the most inconvenient, if not dangerous, points.

Here’s the complaint he filed with the county, which seems to be responsible for the unannounced closure, since Metro denied having anything to do with it.

The bike path on Victory Blvd. From Woodley Ave to the 405 is fenced off. There was no notice of closure and traffic is rerouted to the street. Very Unsafe. NOT VISION ZERO. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY UNDER THE 405 FREEWAY THAT IS OFF STREET.

When will this reopen? Why is this path closed?

He hasn’t gotten a response yet; we’ll let you know if he does. And there’s no mention of it on the county map of bike path closures as of Sunday night.

Then again, there’s no mention of any of the other closures shown on their map, either.


We mentioned recently that SCAG, aka the Southern California Association of Governments, has developed a new ad campaign urging people to Go Human.

Now Spencer forwards a first look at one of the ads in the wild, with a message we can hope drivers take to heart.

Go Human Bus End


Seems like we just can’t get away from court cases.

Twenty-four-year old Neil Storm Stephany will go on trial for murder Tuesday in the hit-and-run death of Shaun Eagleson last October.

According to the Orange County Register, the self-described drug counselor was high on heroin when he plowed his truck into Eagleson as he rode in a Newport Beach bike lane. Stephany hit a guard rail as attempted to flee the scene, before being arrested later that day.

Following a previous DUI in 2011, Stephany had signed a legal advisement stating that he understood he could face a murder charge if he killed someone while driving under the influence any time in the future.

Which, sadly, is exactly what happened just three years later.

He also amassed an extensive criminal record in his 24 years, including convictions for felony assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, and possession with intent to sell. In addition, he is also facing a separate domestic violence charge.

Stephany faces 15 years to life if he’s convicted.

A source in Orange County tells me he has grown his hair just long enough to cover the “fuck the police” tattoo on his forehead and the swastika tattooed on the back of his head, most likely on the advice of his lawyer.

I’m also told Eagleson was a regular reader of this site.

Let’s hope his family gets the justice they deserve. And that we can get a dangerous driver off the road for a very long time.


In an exceptionally generous offer, the judge in the case of fallen OC cyclist John Colvin offered hit-and-run driver Dylan Thomas Randluby a reduced one-year sentence in county jail; remarkably, his attorney wants to think it over.

If the case goes to trial, he faces four years in state prison.


Evidently, life is cheap in the Bay Area.

Even though he had already been convicted and sentenced for felony hit-and-run, an Alameda County judge retroactively reduced all the charges against the driver who killed a bike-riding Chinese tourist to misdemeanors, and sentenced him to just 30 days in jail, calling it an unfortunate accident.

Since when is driving drunk and fleeing the scene of a fatal collision an accident? Judges who refuse to take traffic crimes seriously are why people continue to die on our streets. Let’s hope voters remember this case when he’s up for re-election.


Two-time Olympic gold medalist Craig Buck is fighting for his life at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after suffering severe head trauma in a Santa Barbara bicycling collision.

CHP investigators blame him for riding on the wrong side of the road, even though the truck that hit him has allegedly been used in a prior road rage incident involving cyclists.

Facebook page has been established to give him a thumbs-up.


Here’s an interesting new Kickstarter project.

The TurnCycle gesture-controlled wireless bike light promises to follow your hand gestures, and convert them to LED signals to indicate turns or stops; MSN picked it as one of the best Kickstarter inventions of the month.

It has a long way to go in the next 16 days for funding, however.

Thanks to John Jancsek for the heads-up.


Several of the top women’s cyclists have teamed together to launch Strongher, The Stage for Women Who Ride, a website and app to connect women riders with one another.

And when a pro team director went to pick up an injured cyclist at an Abu Dhabi hospital, they sent him to a psychiatrist. Although the story’s really about the kindness shown the rider by those who helped him get back to his team.



Sign up for a free 30-minute tour of the LA Times’ historic Globe Lobby during Sunday’s CicLAvia.

There is a special place in hell for someone who would punch a Pasadena nine-year old in the face to rob him as he rode his bike to school. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Huh? A Hermosa Beach resident opposes a bike lane on Monterey Blvd because he’s sick of fiestas and volleyball tournaments, as well as bars and their patrons. And besides, most of the people who ride bikes in the city don’t live there, in his estimation. Which is kind of like saying don’t build a freeway because people who’ll drive on it are just passing through.



Santa Ana continues to become one of Orange County’s most bike and pedestrian friendly cities; all three of the active transportation projects approved for state funding in the county were in the city, out of 55 applications. Thanks to Nick Gerda for the heads-up.

The Examiner finally notices that former Corona del Mar bike advocate Frank Peters has moved to Portland, and meets with him to discuss his reasons for moving. They could have found out six months earlier by reading this site.

Firefighters rescued a mountain biker suffering from unspecified injuries from OC’s Barton Canyon on Sunday afternoon.

The San Diego Association of Governments has approved a $200 billion transportation plan that promises to continue the region’s reliance on cars.

San Diego will host Calbike’s annual California Bike Summit at the end of this month.

A woman rode 100 miles on Saturday as part of Oceanside’s sixth annual Bike the Coast just two years after having a heart transplant.

The Desert Sun endorses an environmental review of multiple routes for the Coachella Valley’s proposed 50-mile CV Link bike and pedestrian pathway. And says if Rancho Mirage still isn’t on board when the path is ready to build, then build it right up to the city’s borders on either side. I like the way they think.

Palo Alto is installing cameras to get an accurate count of how many kids are biking and walking to school.

More senseless tragedy, as a Richmond bicyclist was killed in a collision with a train after slipping through the crossing arms. And a San Francisco cyclist died after somehow getting caught between two Muni buses.



A new instagraphic from People for Bikes rebuts seven top myths about people who ride bikes. Memorize this one. It’ll come in handy when the bike haters bust out the torches and pitchforks at the next public meeting.

One sign bikes are gaining greater acceptance: There are now over 1,050 bike-friendly businesses in the US.

Bicycling offers advice on what to do when you crash your bike.

GQ provides suggestions on how to dial in your bike fit and ride the right way, as well as tips on how to get a six pack by riding your bike. Actually, that one’s easy. Step one, get on our bike. Step two, ride to the market. Step three, buy a six pack. Step four, ride home and drink it.

Seattle radio hosts say it’s pointless for the city to take over the nonprofit bikeshare system because the city is hilly. And it rains.

A Denver columnist says the city’s plan to make bicycling safer is vehicle-hostile, while laying sole claim to the streets for those on four wheels.

Chicago reaches 100 miles of protected bike lanes — or maybe not. Meanwhile, advocates call for more and better bike lanes in the city.

Memphis’ bicycle and pedestrian program manager will be honored by the White House as part of the Champions of Change program; crashes are down and ridership is up with 200 miles of bikeways in the city, and another 130 miles of bike paths on the way.

Maine cyclists call for greater enforcement of traffic laws, including ticketing other cyclists. Because it’s always other cyclists who break the law, right?

Vermont police continue to blame the victim in the death of bicycling physician, saying he was under the influence of three different antidepressants — even though police claim the driver, who was drunk and on Xanax, was passing the cyclist safely on the wrong side of the road when he suddenly made a U-turn directly in front of her. Sure, that sounds credible.

A Connecticut cyclist takes on the hills. And a green Lamborghini.

Hoboken NJ becomes the latest city to get bikeshare before Los Angeles. Yes, Hoboken.

There’s something wrong when even a Charlotte NC ghost bike isn’t safe from a reckless driver.

Nice story, as a Florida cyclist tracks down the pregnant army reservist who saved his life after a hit-and-run.



Bike Radar offers five reasons to bike to work.

A Canadian columnist is appalled by the loss of 48 rarely used parking spaces to make way for bike lanes.

Vancouver votes to move forward with what may be North America’s first bike lift. Meanwhile, more evidence there’s two sides to every story, as a Vancouver cyclist accused of a road rage assault on a pregnant woman says he was just trying to talk to her.

Caught on video: A Calgary driver honks at the cyclist ahead of him for a full 40 seconds, just for the crime of waiting for the light to change. People get pissed off when cyclists don’t stop at red lights, and more pissed off when we do.

A profile of London’s bike riding, very conservative and self-effacing mayor, who may be angling to be the next prime minister.

About 150 Amnesty International supporters rode around Brussels to protest the death penalty, visiting the embassies of the handful of countries that still allow it, including the USA.

A Helsinki driver gets four and a half years for intentionally brake-checking a cyclist in front of multiple witnesses; the rider was killed when he flew over his handlebars after hitting the back of the car, landing head-first on the pavement.

You know the bike boom is a worldwide phenomenon when the prime minister of Swaziland is calling for more bike lanes.

A South African farmer is under arrest for shooting a man on a bicycle following an argument over a first aid kit, a pillow, cap and shoe allegedly stolen from his home. Yes, he killed a man over a shoe and a pillow.

A South Korean cyclist won a 1 million won judgment against a woman after he was injured falling off his bike to avoid her dog in a bike lane. Which sounds impressive until you realize that’s the equivalent of $871.



Caught on video, partly: Don’t slap a pedestrian standing in the street as you pass by on your bike, or he may get in his car and run you down. Bad enough Florida cyclists have to deal with drunk drivers, worse when the driver’s dog can’t manage to keep the car on the road.

And now you, too, can make your bike sound like a trotting horse.

But why stop there?


Update: Bike rider killed in apparent Sante Fe Springs train collision

Word is just coming in that a bike rider was killed in Sante Fe Springs today.

The Whittier Police Department tweeted at 2:49 this afternoon that their officers were investigating the death of a bicyclist at the railroad intersection of Rosecrans and Marquardt.

No other details are available at this time.

The implication is that he or she was hit by a train, but that has not been confirmed yet.

Henry Fung writes that the train tracks run diagonal to the streets at that intersection, and the warning gates are placed prior to the intersection, rather than next to the tracks. So it could be possible for a rider to be inside the gates when they come down, and not see the warning before a train comes.

This is the 56th bicycling fatality this year, and the 22nd in Los Angeles County.

Update: The Whittier Daily News reports the victim, identified only as a man, was riding north along Rosecrans around 2:45 pm when he slipped between the crossing arms, and was struck by a freight train.

Let this serve as a reminder to never, ever go around, under or through railroad crossing arms. They’re down for a reason.

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

Unidentified bike rider killed while crossing Terminal Island Freeway

Once again, a bike rider has died on a Southern California freeway.

According to the Long Beach Gazettes, the victim was illegally crossing the Terminal Island Freeway north of PCH in Long Beach around midnight last night when he was hit by a semi-truck at 11:56 pm.

Like most California freeways, bikes are banned from the highway, also known as the 103 Freeway.

The victim, who was not carrying identification, was in the left lane of the northbound side when he was stuck by the truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A street view shows a four lane highway with an unobstructed center divider, making it relatively easy to cross; the victim may not have expected to encounter traffic at that hour.

My News LA places the time of the initial call at 11:56 pm Sunday, while the Gazettes says the police were dispatched at 12:07 pm.

He is identified only as appearing to be in his 60s, while the coroner’s office attempts to determine his ID.

This is the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 20th in Los Angeles County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 61-year old Jaimes Guadalupe.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jaimes Guadalupe and his loved ones.


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.

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