Tag Archive for Norwalk

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.

15-year old cyclist killed in Norwalk collision identified

The teenage cyclist who died tragically — and needlessly — a full week after he was struck by a car has finally been publicly identified.

The Whittier Daily News reports (scroll down) that 15-year old Norwalk resident Jonathan Acosta Fernandez died from injuries he suffered when he was hit by a car driven by Ana Chavez of Whittier on June 3rd. The collision occurred near the intersection of Alondra and Pioneer Blvds in Norwalk around 3:10 pm; Fernandez was reportedly leaving the Norwalk Indoor Swap Meet when he was struck.

Police say Chavez was traveling at 60 mph at the time of the collision. She was initially booked on suspicion of felony drunk driving, with a bond $100,000, and is due to be arraigned on a charge of vehicular manslaughter in Downey Superior Court on Tuesday.

And once again, the authorities and the press seem to think a tiny bit of plastic and foam atop a rider’s head can offer some sort of magical protection against an accused drunk driver in a speeding vehicle.

Yes, it is important to wear a helmet; I haven’t ridden without one in over 25 years.

But Fernandez’ fate was sealed the moment an allegedly intoxicated driver got behind the wheel and put her foot down hard on the gas. Even if he’d been wearing a full body flak jacket, it would have offered little protection against a vehicle driven at that speed.

My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jonathan Fernandez.

15-year old Norwalk cyclist dies after being hit in apparent DUI last week

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, a 15-year old cyclist died Friday morning, one week after he was hit by an accused drunk driver.

The rider, whose name has not been released, was riding east on Alondra Blvd near Pioneer Blvd in Norwalk on Friday, June 3rd when he was hit by a car driven by 38-year old Anna Chavez of Whittier; no word on what time of day the collision occurred.

Chavez has been held on $100,000 bail on suspicion of felony drunk driving; charges will now be amended to vehicular manslaughter, with arraignment scheduled for Tuesday in Downey.

This is the 30th bike-related traffic fatality in Southern California so far this year, and the 9th in L.A. County. Two of those riders killed in L.A., and seven overall, have been victims of alleged drunk drivers.

Three additional L.A. riders have been killed by gunfire this year, with one additional gunshot victim outside the L.A. area.

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