Tag Archive for Los Angeles County

Update: Red-light running cyclist killed in Glendale collision Sunday morning

More bad news on what should have been a weekend of celebration after a last minute reprieve for the Marathon Crash Ride.

KNBC-4 is reporting that a Glendale man in his late 20s was killed after riding his bike through a red light in Glendale this morning.

According to the station, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding at the intersection of Glendale and California Avenues at 7:10 am when he allegedly rode through the light at a fast pace, and was hit by a car. He was taken to USC Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The driver, identified only as a woman in her 40s, remained at the scene and was not arrested.

No other details are available at this time.

As always, the question is whether there were any independent witnesses, other than the driver, who saw him run the red light. It’s too easy to blame the victim when it’s impossible for him to give his side of the story.

This is the 24rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th in Los Angeles County.

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

Update: Evidently, there was another witness. According to the Glendale News Press

(Sgt. Tom) Lorenz said a witness at the nearby Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf saw the cyclist, headed south on Glendale Avenue, run a red light before being struck by a car headed east. “He didn’t even slow down,” he said, adding the driver of the car, a woman in her 40s, has been cleared of any fault.

Thanks to Rogelio Yanez for the link.

Update 2: the Glendale News-Press has identified the victim as 25-year old Melik Khanamiryan, presumably of Glendale. Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link.

Update: Two people killed while walking their bikes in Norwalk; 10th LA County bike deaths this year

It’s bad enough when one cyclist is killed.

When two bike riders lose their lives in a midnight collision, without even being on their bikes at the time, I don’t even know what to say.

Except to let the facts speak for themselves.

According to the Whittier Daily News, a man and a woman were killed in a single collision in Norwalk early Saturday morning.

The paper reports they were walking their bikes across Rosecrans Avenue at Fidel Avenue at 12:02 am when they were struck by an eastbound Ford F-150 pickup truck, which then veered to the side, striking at least three parked vehicles.

No identification or other information about the victims are available at this time.

The driver, who was uninjured, remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators, He did not appear to be intoxicated, and was not taken into custody at the scene.

No word on whether the victims were in a crosswalk, marked or not, when they were struck. A satellite view shows a zebra crosswalk on the west side of the intersection, but none on the east.

If they were in the crosswalk, they were doing exactly what most law enforcement agencies recommend by walking in the crosswalk, rather than riding.

The question is why the driver didn’t appear to see two people walking bikes directly in front of him. And how fast he had to be going to take two lives with a single impact.

These are the 22nd and 23rd bike-related fatalities in Southern California this year, and the 9th and 10th in Los Angeles County, compared to just four this time last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for both victims and their families.

Update: Now it makes a little more sense, while seeming even more needless and tragic. Chris K, who lives in the area, writes to say that the crosswalk seen in the satellite photo has long been a popular crossing for people in the neighborhood to the south to get to the businesses, church and school on the north side of the street. He notes that there has even been a crossing guard there in the mornings.

Unfortunately, when the street was resurfaced recently, the crosswalk was removed, and the crossing guard was shifted the equivalent of three blocks west to the traffic light at Shoemaker Ave.

Chris notes that despite the removal, people continue to cross at that intersection just as they always have, sometimes stepping out in front of oncoming traffic expecting traffic to stop as if it was a marked crosswalk.

It should be noted that under California law, there is a crosswalk at every intersection, marked or not. The only exception is if there is signage prohibiting crossing, which doesn’t seem to be the case here. 

Now two people are dead, apparently because local traffic planners ignored historic pedestrian patterns and removed a marked crosswalk, despite the need for residents to cross the street.

Two more victims to a world where motor vehicles are valued more than people. 

Update 2: Chris K adds that the florescent yellow signage pointing to the crosswalk remains in place, even though the crosswalk itself is gone, creating a confusing situation. 

Update 3: KABC-7 has identified the victims as 23-year old Giovanni Xavier Chaidez and 20 year-old Rosibel Montoya, no hometown given. According to a live report on the station Sunday night, the driver is not expected to be charged. 

Maybe someone can explain that one to me someday. Because unless the victims somehow leapt out into the roadway without warning, the driver should have been able to see them and stop in time.

78-year old Glendora bike rider dies after being taken off life support

One of my policies on this site is not to report a bicycling fatality without some sort of confirmation.

Which means you many never hear about some of the tragedies that pass through my inbox. But I’d rather keep some bad news under wraps than risk injuring friends and family of a reported victim by reporting a story that may not turn out to be true.

So when I received a report on Thursday that a Glendora rider had died of injuries he suffered earlier this week, I reached out to various sources who might be able to verify the facts.

Sadly, that confirmation came today, in a news story from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

The paper had reported earlier this week that a 79-year old rider was critically injured in a left cross collision in Glendora on Monday.

He was riding west on Foothill Blvd at Elwood Ave around 2:30 pm Monday when a driver headed in the opposite direction turned across his path, forcing him into the passenger side of the vehicle. He was revived by police officers, who found him with no pulse and not breathing when they arrived.

He was stabilized by LA County firefighters, and taken to the ICU unit at Foothill Presbyterian Hospital.

Then on Thursday, a comment from Trish said he had been disconnected from life support and died on Wednesday.

That 79 yr old cyclist in Glendora was my son-in-law’s father. He cycled every day and then would come home and walk his dog. He was in excellent health and very fit. Sadly, he was removed from life support yesterday, and passed away shortly thereafter. Sure with drivers would look before they make left hand turns….really look, not just for cars!

Today’s story in the Tribune identified the victim as 78-year old Francisco Alvarez of Glendora.

The 86-year old driver who hit him stayed on the scene and cooperated with investigators. While the case is still under investigation, the paper reports no criminal behavior was suspected — despite the obvious failure to observe right of way and make a safe turn, resulting in the death of an innocent person.

Maybe this will go down as just another “oops,” excused by the age and, presumably, declining skills of the driver.

This is the 10th confirmed bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Los Angeles County.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for Francisco Alvarez and all his family.

Thanks to Trish for the bad news.


Good news and bad news: LAPD makes hit-and-run arrest; bike rider killed in Compton

Ghost bike for Compton victim Pete; photo by Danny Gamboa

Ghost bike for Compton victim Pete; photo by Danny Gamboa

Let’s start with the bad news.

No details yet, but I’ve received confirmation that a bike rider was killed in Compton Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

As if the photo that’s circulating online wasn’t confirmation enough. And no, I’m not going to share it here.

According to the reports, he was killed while riding his bike at Compton Blvd and North Dwight Ave. Friends of the victim, who identified him only as Pete, confirm that he was hit by a car sometime before 5 am Wednesday morning and died at the scene; the driver remained at the scene following the collision.

Judging by the photo of the victim, he appears to be a bearded white male with grey hair, possibly in his 50s or 60s.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 7th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, as we maintain the horrific every-other-day pace since the first of the year. And it is the third cycling death in LA County this year, which suffered an intolerable 39 bike-related deaths in 2013.

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

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Update: I didn’t recognize the corner, but Gamboa points out it’s the same intersection where Ovidio Morales was killed in a still-unsoved hit-and-run in 2010; his ghost bike is still there across the intersection. 

He reports one of the victim’s friends said he was a good man who struggled with alcohol, and was in and out of treatment programs.

As the photo suggests, neighbors have placed candles in his memory.


Gamboa also forwards word that an arrest has been made in the hit-and-run death of a Panarama City man, who has not been publicly identified at the request of the man’s family.

According to a press release from the LAPD,

Fatal Hit And Run Driver taken into custody

On January 13, 2014 at 6 PM Valley Traffic Division Detectives arrested a 46-year old male, Rene Amaya of Panarama City on suspicion of the felony hit and run (20001(a)VC) death of a bicyclist, which occurred on December 23, 2013, at the intersection of Burnet Ave and Lanark St in the Community of Panarama City, California. Bail was set at $50,000.

Maybe someone can explain to me why we continue to grant such a low bail to someone who has already demonstrated a willingness to flee after taking a life.

Update: Santa Fe Springs rider killed in collision with Metrolink train

Word is just coming in that a bike rider was killed in a collision with a Metrolink train this morning.

According to the Press-Telegram, the victim, described only as male, was hit by the train at 7:15 this morning on tracks near Lakeland Road and Bloomfield Ave in Santa Fe Springs.

The LA Times puts the time as around 7:10 am, and identifies the train as Metrolink 682 bound for Orange County from Downtown Los Angeles. The paper reports the victim rode around the crossing gate; he died at the scene.

Train collisions are the easiest type of collision to avoid, yet there have been at least 14 other riders killed by trains in Southern California since January, 2011, including eight last year.

There is simply no excuse, ever, for riding around a railroad crossing barrier. However, the high number of fatal train collisions — cyclists, drivers and pedestrians — would suggest that more needs to be done to keep people off the tracks when trains are approaching.

This is the second bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Los Angeles County.

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

Correction: An earlier version of this story said the train was headed to Downtown Los Angeles, based on information in the Times’ story.

Update: According to the Whittier Daily News, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding the wrong way on eastbound Lakeland. That would have placed him on the opposite side of the road from the crossing barrier. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:24 am.

Update 2: According to LAist, the LA County Coroner’s office has identified the victim as 23-year old Dale Hummels of Whittier. Oddly, the coroner’s felt a need to clarify that Hummels’ death was not a suicide. 

Update: President of LA Wheelmen dies in riding fall

All week, I’ve been hearing rumors of a serious accident on an LA Wheelmen ride over the weekend.

Today I got confirmation. And the news is worse than we thought.

According to the LAW Facebook page, group president Pam Leven was involved in a riding accident when she touched wheels with another rider on Sunday. Both she and the other rider went down hard; unfortunately, she suffered injuries including a broken hip and collarbone, as well severe head and facial trauma. The second rider was not seriously injured.

She was taken to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where she died at 3 pm today after being taken off life support without regaining consciousness.

And yes, she was wearing a helmet when she fell.

I haven’t been able to find any other details yet; I’ll share them if and when I do. Please let me know if you have any additional information.

Her death is going to touch many local riders very deeply, as the Wheelmen are a popular riding group in the city, and Pam was well known, and clearly, well loved. In addition, she was the treasurer for the Independent Writers of Southern California for over 20 years; I’m told members of the group are in shock over her loss.

This is the 83rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, in what has turned out to be a very bad year. Since she was taken to UCLA, I’m assuming this occurred in LA County, which would make her the 35th bike rider to die in the county this year, compared to 22 last year.

She is also the sixth SoCal rider to die as a result of solo falls or collisions with another rider this year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Pam Leven and her husband Bob, and all their family and loved ones.

Thanks to Jim Lyle, Lynn Ingram, Jenna Radomile and Topomodesto for the heads-up.

Update: The initial draft was based primarily on Facebook comments, and contained a number of errors, which have been corrected above. Thanks to Monica Vogl for the corrections.

Update 2: I’ve received an unconfirmed report that the fall that took Pam Leven’s life occurred Sunday afternoon near the intersection of Sunset Blvd and Amalfi Drive in Pacific Palisades. 

That places it within the City of Los Angeles, which has now seen 15 bicycling deaths this year.

Update 3: In a comment below, cdp8 points us to the California Triple Crown blog, which offers an online memorial to Pam Leven. In it, he says she was on the Wheelmen’s Newcomer’s Ride when they turned off of Sunset, and she touched wheels with another experienced rider. 

From what I’ve been able to pick up, it sounds like no one was at fault here; it’s just the risk we all assume when we get on a bike and ride at that level. I could have lost my life a dozen times over in the years I’ve been riding if things had just gone a little differently.

It’s also clear that she was loved very deeply, both within and outside the cycling community, and she will be very missed.

Update: Bike rider killed in Santa Clarita collision; witnesses say salmon cyclist ran red light

More bad news, on what is turning out to be an awful day for SoCal cyclists.

According to SCVNews, an unidentified bike rider was killed in a collision in Santa Clarita this morning.

The rider, described only as an older teen or young adult, was crossing Magic Mountain Parkway on northbound Railroad Avenue — which becomes Bouquet Canyon Road on the other side of the intersection — around 7:50 am when he was hit by an LA County Sanitation truck turning left onto Railroad.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses report he was riding on the wrong side of the street, against traffic, and ran the red light at the intersection. He somehow collided with the eastbound truck, which was turning left onto Railroad. A story in the Santa Clarita Valley Signal suggests the sun may have been in the driver’s eyes; however, he likely wouldn’t have been looking for someone coming from the wrong direction as he turned in the opposite way.

The victim was reportedly riding a child’s bike; it’s also possible that it was a BMX bike, as many non-cyclists wouldn’t know the difference. It’s unclear if authorities know his identity, as he didn’t have any ID in his wallet.

The driver was taken to a nearby medical center for routine tests; however, there was no suspicion of drug or alcohol use, and a sheriff’s spokesman said he was unlikely to face charges.

This is the 75th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 32nd in Los Angeles County; that compares to 22 in the county for all of last year.

My prayers and deepest sympathy go out to the victim and all his family and loved ones.

Update: The Daily News says the victim was in his 30s, with no explanation for the discrepancy or any other details. 

Update 2: The victim keeps getting older; the Signal identifies him as a 47-year old Hispanic man; his name has not been released pending notification of next of kin.

Update 3: The victim has been identified as 47-year old Luis Ochoa of Newhall. 

Update: 22-year old cyclist killed by Metrolink Train in Palmdale; 7th bike/train death this year

A bad year just keeps getting worse.

KNBC-4 is reporting that a teenage bike rider was killed in a collision with a Metrolink train in Palmdale Saturday night.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was crossing the tracks at Palmdale Blvd and Sierra Highway, when he reportedly tried to beat the train across the tracks.

And failed.

No other details are available at this time, including the time of the collision or which directions the rider and train were headed.

This has been a horrible year for bike/train collisions in Southern California. Seven bike riders have been killed by trains so far this year; this is the second this month alone. That compares with just two in all of last year, and four in 2011.

Yet this is the easiest type of collision to avoid. Just stop when the crossing gates come down, and wait until they go back up — even it if looks like it’s safe to cross.

And don’t even think you can beat the train.

Because chances are, you won’t.

This is the 70th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 30th in Los Angeles County; that is eight more than were killed in the county in all of last year.

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

Thanks to Joni for the heads-up.

Update: The LA Daily News reports that the victim, who still has not been publicly identified, was a 22-year old man.

According to the paper, a witness at the scene said the victim was riding with a group of friends around 7:10 pm when he tried to outrun the northbound train. The paper doesn’t say if he was the only one who tried to beat the train, or if any others might have made it across before he was hit.

Not surprisingly, none of the passengers on the Number 269 train were injured.

Update 2: The Antelope Valley Times identifies the victim as 22-year old Manuel Correa, no hometown given. 

Meanwhile, a comment from Bryan Laine, below, indicates that he not only knew the victim, he was on the train at the time of the collision. According to him, the leaders of the group kept riding after the crossing arms began to fall, which led to Correa’s death as he evidently followed them across the tracks.

Update: Mormon missionary killed in Arcadia bike collision

The Mormon Church has confirmed that a missionary assigned to the Arcadia area has died as a result of a bicycling collision.

According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, 18-year old Andrew Edward Page of Charlotte, NC died of injuries suffered when he was hit by a car in or near Arcadia; no date or other details are available at this time.

There is no mention of Page’s death or the collision that caused it in the LA-area press yet.

This is the 69th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 29th in Los Angeles County, compared to 22 in the county for all of last year.

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

Update: In the comments below, Calwatch, along with a handful of other sources, pointed to this story in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, which reports that an 18-year old bike rider from out of state was critically injured when he was hit by a car in Azusa Thursday afternoon. 

That collision occurred around 4 pm at the intersection of Newburgh Street and Cerritos Avenue in Azusa. There’s no word on how the wreck may have happened, however, the paper reports the victim suffered major head trauma.

While the details match up, there’s no guarantee this is the same collision. I’ve reached out to the author of the story for confirmation. 

Update 2: As Calwatch indicates in another comment below, the Deseret News has updated their story, confirming that Page was the victim in the Azusa collision reported by the Tribune. 

According to the story in the Deseret News, he was riding with a companion when they missed their turn, and were turning around when Page was hit from behind.

“For some reason Andrew stopped for a minute and adjusted his pants leg and then he just kind of whipped around his bike and didn’t look and a car was coming,” he said.

The paper reports he was taken to a nearby trauma center with major injuries, including head trauma, despite wearing a helmet. He was pronounced dead at 10 pm Thursday night. 

An officer at the scene reportedly said there was no fault on anyone’s part, and it was due to just a moment of inattention. 

Which is exactly the problem. 

As this case sadly illustrates, it only takes a moment of carelessness to result in tragedy.

More bad news from Gardena, as a bike rider dies nearly a week after a late July collision

Lately, Gardena seems like a very risky place to ride a bike.

Just days after a group of cyclists had their tickets for obstructing traffic after installing a ghost bike dismissed, a young bike rider has died five days after he was hit by a car.

According to the Daily Breeze, 19-year old Gardena resident Julian Ramos was taken off life support last Sunday, after suffering major head trauma in a collision on Tuesday, July 30th. Ramos was just one block from home when he was hit by a vehicle while riding on Western Avenue at 144th Street around 9:35 pm.

The crash is still under investigation.

The paper reports Ramos had recently reconnected with his mother after growing up in foster care, and was working at the Carl’s Jr at Crenshaw and Redondo Beach to help support her and two of his siblings.

A fund has been established to help pay for his funeral expenses.

Ramos is the third bike rider to be killed in the city in the past 10 months, following the hit-and-run deaths of postal worker Jesse Dotson in July, and Benjamin Torres last October. All three were commuting to or from work.

That’s an exceptionally high death count for a city of less than 60,000 people.

And a fourth man was killed when Gardena police shot an unarmed Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino who was trying to help his brother find his stolen bike this past June.

This is the 59th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and 26th in Los Angeles County, which has already exceeded the county-wide total for each of the last two years.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Julian Ramos and all his family and loved ones.

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