Tag Archive for Orange County

Update: 23-year old Newport Beach e-bike rider died after colliding with parked van

A bike rider has died after he was critically injured while riding in Newport Beach Sunday afternoon.

According to the Orange County Register, 23-year old Corona del Mar resident Jonathan Wilson died about an hour after he collided with a parked minivan.

The paper reports the collision occurred around 1:27 PM at 1801 Bayside Drive, while Corona del Mar Today places the location further up the road near the intersection of Bayside and El Paseo Dr.

Matching photos from the scene with a street view suggest he was riding north on Bayside, in between the two locations.

No explanation is given for how or why he hit the van.

Photos accompanying the Register story show a mountain bike lying near the curb, with the back of the van in badly damaged. That suggests Wilson somehow hit it at a high rate of speed, which is surprising given the flat road surface.

Even though the road has sharrows, the impact point on the van is just to the left of the curb. So the question becomes why he was riding so close to the curb, and how he reached a high enough speed to cause so much damage.

And whether he didn’t see the row of parked cars directly ahead of him, or was forced to the right in some way.

Unless a witness turns up, we may never know.

This is the 40th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in Orange County. That compares with 57 in SoCal this time last year, and 12 in the county.

Wilson also the 11th cyclist killed in Newport Beach in the past five years, and second to die in a solo crash in the city in just the last two weeks.

Update: According to the Newport Beach Police Department, Wilson was riding an electric bike, would could explain the force of impact evident from the damage to the minivan. 

He was initially found conscious and responsive, while suffering from numerous lacerations. 

And no, he was not wearing a helmet.

Update 2: Corona del Mar Today cites a police spokesperson as saying neither drugs or alcohol appeared to be a factor, and it did not appear that Wilson was forced into the van by another vehicle.

Update 3: Customers at the Corona del Mar Starbucks where Wilson worked as a barista remembered him as kind, sometimes silly and always friendly.

Update 4: Wilson may have been using his cell phone at the time of the crash, though it’s not clear if he was texting, talking or performing some other task. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jonathan Wilson and all his loved ones.

 

Update: 36 year old bike rider killed in Newport Coast

Sadly, another bike rider has died days after she was injured, in a case that hasn’t made the news.

According to the Orange County Coroner’s office, 36-year old Monterey Park resident Yeny Vergara was injured when she came off her bike around midnight last Wednesday, at 35 Crystal Cove in Newport Coast.

Vergara OC Coroner

She died just after noon on Saturday; no cause of death is given.

A satellite view of the location shows a narrow roadway turning to a dirt road as it leads to the beach. However, it’s possible that she was riding on PCH or bike path next to it, and the coroner simply gave the closest street address.

Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time.

The age and city of residence match a 36-year old master’s racer who has competed in several Southern California races this year. However, that is unconfirmed at this time, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

This is the 39th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Orange County.

Update: A response from the Newport Beach Police Department indicates her fall occurred on state property on the trails deep within the Crystal Cove State Park near the 73 Freeway. The NB Fire Department responded to the call as the closest agency; police never responded since it was reported as strictly a medical call. 

No word on whether she fell, had a medical issue, or collided with another rider, although the latter would seem unlikely if her injury occurred at the late night hour indicated by the coroner. 

Update 2: The Orange County Register reports that Vergara was apparently injured in a fall while riding on the Elevator Trail around 3:45 pm on the 22nd, rather than midnight as the coroner’s report listed. 

She was found lying unconscious on the trail, suffering from an obvious head wound despite wearing a helmet.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Yeny Vergara and all her family.

Thanks to Bill Sellin and Lois for the heads-up.

 

Anaheim Hills bike rider died from solo fall last year; his family makes moving video calling for helmet use

Too often, when a bike rider is seriously injured, it never makes the news. Especially if there’s not a car involved.

Even if it does, there’s seldom any word on what happens after that; no one other than family and friends usually know if the victim bounces back or suffers permanent injuries, or worse.

That’s what happened last year in Anaheim Hills, when bike rider died a month after he was injured in a solo fall.

According to the Orange County Register, 25-year old Gary Lofgren died in an Orange County hospital last October after falling while riding to a park to play football with friends.

A heartbreaking Facebook page created by his sister adds more information.

Lofgren was just two blocks from his home when he fell while riding downhill on September 20th. A neighbor heard him crash as he fell into some trash cans, and ran out to see him try to stand before collapsing hard onto the street.

That was 19 years to the day after his father died.

He was hospitalized with multiple brain bleeds as well as a fracture. And died exactly one month later, apparently without regaining consciousness, a few days after he was taken off life support.

And no, he was not wearing a helmet.

With the help of two friends, his family made a very moving video showing just how much they have lost. And calling for cyclists to wear helmets to keep others from suffering the same fate.

If you’ve been reading this site for awhile, you may know that I never ride without a helmet. But I am also aware of their limitations.

Bike helmets aren’t designed to protect against high speed collisions, where the force of impact can exceed their design capacity. They aren’t a substitute for riding safely, and should be seen as the last line of defense when all else fails.

But relatively slow speed falls like this are exactly what they are designed for.

A bike helmet is a cheap form of insurance against traumatic brain injury, as I know all too well. In 30 plus years of riding, I have only needed my helmet once; in that case, it probably saved my life.

Whether or not to wear one is your choice, as it should be. But like losing weight or giving up smoking, it’s something you do as much for those you’d leave behind, as much as you do for your own benefit.

As this video drives home quietly, and powerfully.

This raises the number of bicycling fatalities in Southern California last year to 86, with 20 in Orange County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Gary Lofgren and all his loved ones.

Morning Links: Killer OC hit-and-run driver jailed, Westwood Blvd bike lanes threatened, and Beverly Hills lanes fail

Justice came too late for another fallen OC rider on Thursday.

Forty-four year old Daniella Palacios was riding in Anaheim last November when she was hit by a truck driven by Junior Rigoberto Lopez. Lopez fled the scene, leaving the mother of eight to die in an Orange County Hospital.

He tried to hide the damage by fleeing to Mexico, where he had the truck repaired before returning to the US six weeks later.

It didn’t work; he was arrested after police examined the truck and discovered the repair work.

Lopez was sentenced to three years.

With credit for time served, he should be out in less than two. Probably far less.

In fact, he’s already eligible for parole.

But to the judge’s credit, parole was denied; according to the according to KNBC-4, the judge called Lopez’ actions “outrageous and nearly unforgivable.”

What do you mean, nearly?

Junior Lopez sentence

Thanks to Ed Rubinstein and an anonymous source for the heads-up.

………

Both the LA Times and KPCC look at the needless controversy over bike lanes proposed for Westwood Blvd, which have so far been halted by councilmember Paul Koretz at the demand wealthy homeowners.

The homeowners cite safety concerns, fearing for the poor riders who could face harm from increased bus traffic, despite having their own lane which would keep them out of the way of buses. Unlike now, when riders are forced to share the same congested lanes with them.

Why is it that people who oppose improving safety for bike riders always seem to stress how concerned they are about the safety of bicyclists, while doing absolutely nothing about it?

And seriously, don’t read the comments to either of those pieces unless you want to lose all hope for the future of humanity.

………

Speaking of needless battles, the fight over re-opening long-closed Mt. Hollywood Drive to motor vehicles at the resumes tonight at the meeting of the Griffith Park Advisory Board.

Homeowners in the wealthy Beachwood Canyon neighborhood, who evidently didn’t notice the Hollywood Sign when they moved in, are trying to turn their community into a virtual private enclave to keep tourists from besmirching their streets in an attempt to get selfies in front of the sign.

And they want the park to open the popular biking and hiking street to cars so those tourists can have a much less attractive view of the sign, at the expense of everyone else who uses the park.

………

Yet another failure of rationality in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, as Better Bike’s Mark Elliot reports the city council voted not to include bike lanes on the soon-to-be-revamped Santa Monica Blvd.

This despite the fact that space for bike lanes will be available on almost the entire length of the boulevard, and require the loss of just a few feet of parkland in just one short section. And despite the fact that state law now calls for Complete Streets that meet the needs of all users, not just motor vehicles or over-privileged residents.

I’m old enough to remember a time when some towns still had signs warning minorities not to let the sun set on them inside the city limits.

That’s the same feeling I get from Beverly Hills.

They send a clear message that bikes, and their riders, are not welcome there, and they will do whatever it takes to run us out of town.

Although some of their elected leaders get it. Just not enough to make a difference.

Not surprising, Elliot also reports the city fails to address the safety of bicyclists in construction projects on the boulevard.

………

Albertor Contador insists the Tour de France is not over, despite Chris Froome’s overwhelming dominance.

One rider who won’t be challenging Froome is Teejay van Garderen, who was forced to abandon the race due to illness after struggling in Wednesday’s stage; he says he just wants to disappear after dropping out while still in third place.

Despite doping controversies, viewership of the Tour de France is up except in France; America’s only remaining TdF champ gets a warm embrace after returning to the race as a broadcaster.

The owner of the Tinkoff-Saxo team calls for a revolution in pro cycling.

Good news for Ivan Basso, whose successful surgery for testicular cancer means no further treatment is necessary.

And a Singapore cyclist competing in the South East Asian Games is under investigation for repeatedly slapping a teammate on a training ride.

………

Local

Streetsblog looks at multiple motions regarding bikeshare at today’s Metro meeting; Santa Monica’s system is scheduled for a limited opening in August, while Long Beach should open next year.

The East Side Riders fulfill a longtime dream by opening a bike co-op in Watts.

The LAPD is on the lookout for a pair of Brentwood bike thieves caught on camera stealing a bike from inside a building.

Bike LA’s battle with Hollywood over green bike lanes goes on… and on… as LA’s newly installed chief film liaison is working to find a compromise shade of green that will allow the city to finally put some paint on the streets; the city caved to filmmakers demands and stripped the paint off LA’s first green lane on Spring Street in DTLA.

 

State

Apparently having nothing better to do, the state legislature passes a bill requiring bike riders to pull over on narrow roads when five or more vehicles are following behind and unable to pass. Even though current law, which already applies to cyclists, already says exactly that.

BikeSD reports on a new study that concludes the cost of driving a car is six times the cost of riding a bike.

The next time someone says police never ticket bike riders, show them this: San Bernardino police ticketed 12 bicyclists and 31 pedestrians as part of a safety sting; not surprisingly, motorists still lead the way with 57 violations.

The weeklong Big Bear Cycling Festival kicks off this Saturday.

Sixty kids in Mecca — no, not the one in Saudi Arabia — get refurbished bikes, locks and helmets courtesy of a local transit agency.

A pair of East Palo Alto brothers, one on a bike and the other on a skateboard, help subdue a man accused of attacking an 89-year old priest.

San Francisco settles with a father who was choked by police for riding a bike with his 10-month old son in a baby carrier, but without a baby helmet. No, really.

Alameda cyclists will ride Sunday to remember a popular bike shop owner who lost his battle with cancer earlier this month.

The idiotic Orinda bike lane that places riders in the path of high speed traffic entering a freeway on double onramps is due for a safety makeover; the city’s chief engineer admits the current design is “not ideal.” A little green paint is not going to solve the problem, or encourage riders to risk their lives there.

The death of a bike rider in St. Helena last May is blamed on alcohol, even though the victim’s rental fixie had a substandard brake; the Ohio woman, who was celebrating her first anniversary, had a BAC of .18 when she rode into the side of a slow moving truck.

 

National

Outside Magazine sums up the HBO Real Sports look at the state of bicycling in the US, for those without premium cable.

AT&T offers their latest public service ad showing the devastating consequences of texting while driving.

Portland advocates say an increase in reported bike thefts means more people are trying to get them back instead of just giving up.

An Arizona driver gets nine years for killing a cyclist while high on synthetic marijuana; the victim’s friends complain the sentence wasn’t stiff enough. California cyclists are just happy to see DUI drivers get any jail time.

Colorado cyclists call a bizarrely designed bike lane a death trap. This is what happens when people who apparently don’t ride bikes design bicycling infrastructure.

Note to business owners fighting bike lanes — you’re shooting yourself in the foot. When Denver installed bike lanes on a pair of streets downtown, retail sales skyrocketed.

The Slow Roll movement spreads to Minneapolis, encouraging leisurely rides through neighborhoods where bicycling is less popular. Which is their overly polite way of saying lower-income and minority areas.

Vermont police somehow conclude a bike rider made an abrupt U-turn just to collide head-on with the wife of a cop, who was found not at fault even though she was driving drunk while high on Xanax.

A 560-pound man is riding across the country to lose weight; he’ll be getting a new donated bike after he was stranded in Rhode Island when his broke.

A bike rider is a hero after grabbing a woman’s ankle to keep her from jumping off New York’s George Washington Bridge. But bikes are the problem, right?

A seven-month pregnant woman was stabbed in the shoulder while riding her bike home from work in DC.

An Atlanta man wasn’t even safe from a hit-and-run driver while walking his bike on the damn sidewalk.

 

International

The family of a fallen Saskatchewan bike rider call her death senseless after her bike was clipped by a passing delivery truck. Actually, all traffic deaths are senseless; it’s long past time we stopped tolerating them.

Instead of fixing a dangerous railroad crossing, British authorities urge cyclists to be careful when riding near it.

More Brit women are taking up bicycling despite safety fears. Evidently, it’s okay to kill a cyclist there due to a momentary lapse in concentration.

Irish police are accused of misleading cyclists into thinking riders without helmets and hi-viz are subject to on-the-spot fines.

A Turkish adventurer has ridden through 19 countries on his bike, as well as a failed attempt to ride to the North Pole; however, authorities wouldn’t let him pedal up Mt. Everest.

 

Finally…

A Michigan SUV driver somehow couldn’t avoid hitting a cyclist, or an elementary school. Drivers parking in a bike lane is one thing; placing a permanent bus stop in one is another.

And if you’re going to threaten to permanently injure the person who stole your bike, it helps if you spell it right.

………

Thanks to everyone who expressed concern about the Corgi.

Three days, two vet visits and several hundred dollars later, we learned that she has Giardia, most likely as a result of all the irresponsible dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets around here.

The good news is, she should be back to her feisty self in a week or so.

Sienna-Foot-Back

Breaking News: 58-year old bike rider killed in Garden Grove, reportedly ran red light

News is just coming in that a bike rider was killed in Garden Grove this morning.

The Orange County Register reports the 58-year old Victorville resident was riding west on Century Blvd at Euclid Street when he reportedly went through a red light and was struck by a 22-year old woman driving south on Century.

He died after being transported to UCI Medical Center.

The driver remained at the scene; police appear to hold her blameless in the collision.

As always, who was really at fault depends on whether there were any independent witnesses, which the story does not mention.

This is the 38th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Orange County. It’s also the second in OC in just the last two days.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his family.

 

Update: 13-year old bike rider killed in Santa Ana crosswalk

Every traffic death is tragic, but some hit a little harder than others.

Especially when it involves a child riding her bike.

According to multiple sources, a 13-year old girl was killed in a collision with a truck belonging to the Santa Ana Unified School District this morning.

The collision occurred between 7:45 and 7:50 am at the intersection of West Edinger Avenue and South Center Street in Santa Ana, as the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding her bike in the crosswalk.

She suffered major head and chest injuries, and died at the scene, despite the efforts of emergency personnel. The driver was reportedly extremely distraught and remained at the scene to cooperate with investigators.

A report from KTLA-5 says the victim was an eighth grader at Spurgeon Intermediate School, despite the presence of two other schools at that corner. No word on whether she may have been attending summer classes or participating in some other activity at either school.

The station also reports that the truck was making right turn from Center Street onto Edinger when he hit the girl on her bike.

Judging by photos from the scene, as well as a satellite view, it appears the truck was headed south on Center, attempting to turn west onto Edinger. Most likely, the driver was looking left towards oncoming traffic and did not see the girl ride off the sidewalk to his right and into the crosswalk; however there could be other possibilities, as well.

Her bike was still lodged under the truck after the driver stopped some distance from the intersection. Up to 100 people were gathered at the intersection following the crash, according to the Orange County Register, many crying as they sat on the curbs.

This is the 37th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th in Orange County; that compares with 11 in the county this time last year. It’s also the 2nd bicycling death in Santa Ana in the last two months; the other victim was also killed while riding in a crosswalk.

Update: KNBC-4 has identified the victim as Priscilla Vallejo. According to the station, she was not on her way to summer school, and would have entered 8th grade in the fall.

Friends described her as a jokester who was fun to be around. 

Sadly, her mother arrived just after she was pronounced dead. No parent should ever have to see their child like that.

Update 2: The Orange County Register has corrected Vallejo’s age as 13, not 14, as originally reported; she would have turned 14 this Friday.

Update 3: Not surprisingly, the driver won’t be cited or charged in this collision; Santa Ana police say it’s just a tragedy. After all, no driver could be expected to actually look where he’s going before turning right, right?

My deepest prayers and sympathy for Priscilla Vallejo and all her loved ones.

Suspected DUI driver kills adult trike rider and her dog in Garden Grove

No one is safe from intoxicated drivers.

Not women on adult tricycles. Or the dogs they carry with them.

That’s exactly what happened last night in Garden Grove, as  suspected DUI driver killed a cyclist, and her little dog, too.

According to the Orange County Register, a woman believed to be in her 50s was riding her adult tricycle eastbound on Chapman Ave near Faye Ave, carrying a small dog in the bike’s basket, when she was struck from behind by a pickup around 9:45 pm.

One of the Register’s photos from the scene shows damage to the hood of the truck, suggesting she was thrown onto it by the force of the impact, while KTLA-5 says the dog was thrown several feet away, still inside the basket.

No word on whether she was using lights or reflectors after dark.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene; she has not been publicly identified. Her dog died later at an Orange County Animal Services clinic.

The driver, 58-year old Rita Faye McLaughlin of Santa Ana, remained at the scene, and was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI after failing a field sobriety test.

Anyone with information is urge to call the Garden Grove Police at 714/741-5800.

This is the 33rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Orange County; that compares with 10 in the county this time last year. It’s the first bicycling death in Garden Grove since November, 2012.

Update: A comment from the victim’s sister identifies her as 55-year old Suzi V. Ramage, along with her dog Sonny. 

It’s the second family member she’s lost to a drunk driver; her son was killed in 2003.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Suzi V. Ramage and her loved ones.

 

Newport Beach bike rider dies after fall, apparently due to natural causes

Another cyclist has died on the streets of Southern California.

For once, though, no one seems to be at fault.

According to Corona del Mar Today, a 61-year old Costa Mesa man apparently fell off his bike while riding in Newport Beach; sadly, he passed away after being taken to Hoag Hospital.

The Orange County Register reports that police responded to word of a collision on Jamboree Road north of San Joaquin Hills Road at 10:32 am Thursday.

When they arrived, they found the victim in the roadway with no sign of a collision. He appeared to have suffered some sort of medical emergency and stuck his head while falling; no word on whether he was wearing a helmet.

It’s not clear whether his death was due to the head injury or some other cause. An autopsy will be performed later this week.

This is the 31st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Orange County. That compares to 47 in SoCal this time last year, and ten in the county.

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

 

Update: Bike rider run over and killed in Stanton hit-and-run after falling in the street

More bad news, in what has been a very bad few days.

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s department, as well as various news reports, a bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run after falling in Stanton early today.

In a press release sent out earlier this morning, the department reports deputies discovered a man lying in the street at 4:43 this morning after receiving reports of a traffic collision involving a bicyclist.

The victim was dead when officers arrived.

He had apparently been riding in an alley next to Beach Blvd between Cerritos Ave and Main Street when he fell off his bike for some reason, and was run over by an SUV headed south on Beach.

The driver reportedly slowed for a few minutes, then sped off down Beach, and was last seen approaching Katella Ave. The vehicle was described only as a dark colored SUV; no description of the driver.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Traffic Bureau at 714/647-7000 or 949/425-1860.

This is the 30th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Orange County. That compares with nine in the county this time last year.

It’s also the seventh SoCal bicycling death this month, and the fifth in just the last six days.

Update: The Orange County Coroner’s office has identified the victim as 40-year old Jorge Covarrubias. 

Update 2: A witness who saw the wreck says he ran up to help after seeing Covarrubias fall off his bike, and got within a few feet before the SUV ran over him. He leaves behind a girlfriend and two children. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jorge Covarrubias and his loved ones.

Thanks to James Johnson of the Johnson Attorneys Group and Amy Senk of Corona del Mar Today for the heads-up, and thanks to Bill Sellin for the first update.

Update: 55-year old Masters cyclist dies following apparent solo fall in Huntington Beach

More bad news, in what is turning out to be a very bad weekend for SoCal cyclists.

According to the Huntington Beach Police Department, a 54-year old bike rider was found lying in the street on the 5100 block of Skylark Drive around 12:30 pm this past Thursday.

The unconscious victim, whose name has been withheld pending notification of next of kin, was transported to UCI Medical Center in critical condition. Sadly, he died earlier today, apparently without regaining consciousness.

HBPD officers had found him near a red and black Specialized road bike. They believe he was riding west on Skylark when he lost control of his bike for undetermined reasons and fell to the ground, striking his head.

He was not wearing a helmet.

The report says no other vehicle appeared to be involved, and the site was free of any obvious hazards; a street view shows a wide, flat and unobstructed street.

Of course, it’s always possible for a close pass by a car, or for an animal or some other object, to cause a fall, without actually making contact or damaging the bike.

Anyone with information is urged to call Huntington Beach Police Accident Investigator Josh Page at 714/536-5670 or Accident Investigator Bob Barr at 714/536-5663; call 714/960-8825 after hours or on weekends.

This is the 28th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Orange County; that compares to nine in the county this time last year. And also the 12th bike-related death in Huntington Beach since December, 2010.

Update: The victim has been identified on Facebook as Steve McDonald; a memorial ride will be held in his memory on Saturday. 

An email identifies him as a Masters racer new to the 55/60 age group, and reports that the fall may have been the result of a broken chain.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Steve McDonald and his family.

Thanks to Calvin Design for the first link, and Cleave Law for the update.

 

 

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