Tag Archive for Pomona

Update: Pomona bike rider killed by suspected drunk driver early Saturday morning; 5th cyclist killed in the city in 17 months

This is not the news we wanted to start the weekend.

According to the Daily Bulletin, a bike rider was killed by a suspected drunk driver in Pomona early this morning.

The victim, identified only as a man in his 40s or 50s, was riding north on Garey Avenue when he was rear-ended by a white 2011 BMW 3351 just north of Philadelphia Street at 2:32 am. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died shortly later.

The driver, 25-year old Chino resident Rick Kyujin Lee, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving causing death and vehicular manslaughter.

The Daily Bulletin says the victim was riding on the right shoulder, while KABC-7 places him near the shoulder. However, a street view shows a typical four lane street with a center median, but no apparent shoulder; he may have been hugging the curb to the far right.

If they haven’t yet, someone will inevitably question in the comments why anyone would be riding a bike at that hour. Of course, bike riders travel at all hours of the day or night for all kinds of reasons, just as drivers do; it’s possible the victim may have been leaving work or coming home from a night out, or just out for a late night ride.

Given the frequent lack of follow-up, we may never know.

That said, the early morning hours after the bars close is one of the most dangerous times to ride due to the high number of drunks on the road at that time, requiring riders to be extra alert.

There’s also no mention of whether the victim had lights and reflectors on his bike, as required at that hour. However, the police and press usually go out of their way to mention the lack of lights if a rider wasn’t using them.

And the victim could have been lit up like a Christmas tree and still been unable to avoid a driver apparently unable to control his car and keep it from drifting to the right.

This is the 54th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 22nd in Los Angeles County. And it’s the 5th bike death in Pomona since the death of Ivan Aguilar in February of last year, suggesting that the city may have a serious safety problem.

Update: The victim has been identified as 57-year old Luis Raymundo Espinoza-Moreno.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Luis Raymundo Espinoza-Moreno and all his loved ones.

 

 

 

Update: Pomona cyclist killed in collision with Foothill Transit bus

Word is just coming in that a bike rider was killed in Pomona this morning.

According to an announcement from the Pomona Police Department, the victim, identified only as an adult in his 40s, was hit by a Foothill Transit bus on White Ave between Orange Grove and Holt Avenues. The bus line serves cities in the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the eighth confirmed bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Los Angeles County. It’s also the fourth bike-related fatality in Pomona in the last 12 months.

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

Update: A report from KABC-7 places the time of the collision at 5:45 am, and the location as the intersection of White Ave and Alvarado Street. The victim was pronounced dead at Pomona Valley Medical Center.

Update 2: The San Bernardino Sun and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin report the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was a 42-year old man. They also place the location two blocks south of Alvarado, near the intersection of White Ave and Chester Place.

The papers report the bus was traveling north on White at the time of the collision; no information was available on which direction the victim was riding or how the collision occurred.

The incident is still under investigation; a nearby resident reports that someone moved the bike closer to the victim from where it originally landed to a location closer to the victim, where it was run over by a passing vehicle, which will undoubtedly complicate the investigation. 

Anyone with information is urged to call the Pomona Police Department’s Traffic Services Unit at 909-620-2081.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

Update 3: According to a blog post from the Seegmiller Law Firm, the victim has been identified as 42-year old Villa Park resident Steven Slater. The site also reports some passengers on the bus suffered soft tissue injuries in the collision. Thanks to West Seegmiller for the heads-up.

It’s a very sad commentary on today’s media when an attorney scoops every press outlet in identifying the victim of a collision.

Update: Bad news on a beautiful day; cyclist killed in Pomona shooting, another rider seriously injured in Tarzana

Just a quick note to take the shine off this beautiful Sunday.

……..

A bike rider was shot and killed in Pomona last night.

According to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 45-year old Pomona resident Jose Cerda was riding on Lexington Avenue just west of Garey Ave around 9:30 pm when a vehicle pulled up next to him and one of the occupants opened fire, shooting him several times.

Cerda was pronounced dead at the scene.

He was just the first of three people killed by gunfire in the city overnight, in what would appear to by a series of drive-by shootings.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Pomona Police Department Detective Bureau at 909-620-2085.

Update:  According to the LA Times, no one has been arrested yet in any of the shootings; no word on whether police have any suspects or if the shootings are related.

……..

I’ve also gotten word of a serious collision involving a bike rider in Tarzana last night.

An email from reliable source says he was driving with his family along Reseda Blvd near the 101 Freeway overpass around 5:50 last night when he came upon the immediate aftermath of collision involving a bike and a car.

He arrived before the paramedics, and said the victim, who was not wearing a helmet, appeared to have been gravely wounded with a serious head injury.

Thankfully, the driver had remained at the scene; the window on the small car was completely smashed. Judging from the damage and position of the car, he said it did not appear to be a hit-from-behind collision, but couldn’t tell from what he saw how it might have happened.

As a frequent rider in the area, he reports the area is very congested with heavy vehicle traffic due to the freeway offramp, and that riding there can be challenging. despite the presence of a bike lane.

I haven’t been able to find any confirmation of the collision yet; however, knowing the source, I have no reason to question what he saw. Not surprisingly, he says he and his entire family were traumatized by what they witnessed.

Once again, it sounds like prayers or best wishes are in order, whatever you’re most comfortable with.

Thanks to Bro Dave for the heads-up.

Update: Sgt. Stephen Egan, the bike liaison for the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division, reports that the collision occurred at 5:50 pm Saturday at the intersection Reseda and Collins. The driver was making a turn when he hit the rider; which way he was turning or what street he was turning onto is not clear at this time. 

The victim was transported to a local hospital with severe head trauma.

MB reports in the comments that the victim was wearing a helmet, but it was evidently knocked off by the force of the impact.

Update 2: Bad news. I’ve just gotten word that the victim died of his injuries last week. I’m trying to get more information.

Charge filed in death of bike-riding Cal Poly Pomona student Ivan Aguilar; is the university really at fault?

A bike-riding college student is dead.

The driver who took his life faces a relative slap on the wrist.

And the campus where he was killed appears to be doing little or nothing to protect cyclists on campus.

Instead, Cal Poly Pomona seems to be hiding behind California’s devastating 85th Percentile Law to justify plans to raise speed limits on campus, making it even more dangerous for anyone on foot or two wheels.

Or at least, that was the gist of a Twitter conversation I had with representatives of the school Wednesday morning.

The outpouring of grief that followed the death of Cal Poly Pomona student and cyclist Ivan Aguilar should have spurred immediate action to tame what is reportedly dangerously out of control traffic on campus, where numerous students have reported feeling unsafe walking or biking.

Yet four months later, no changes have been made to protect students and faculty — not even on the street where Aguilar lost his life. And none are currently planned.

In fact, the school’s new 2013 traffic study doesn’t even include the words bicycle, bicyclist or pedestrian, according to a story by Beau Yarbrough in the Daily Bulletin.

Kind of makes it hard to make meaningful improvements when nothing is considered except speeding motor vehicle traffic flow.

Although to be fair, they have talked about bikes.

Key word being, talked.

But traffic plans that don’t even consider non-motorized transportation show just how out of touch campus leaders are. And how far the school has to go to make it safe for anyone, let alone everyone, whether on two feet, two wheels or four.

Apparently, those students are right to be afraid.

Especially when the death of a popular and promising young man leads to nothing more serious than a misdemeanor charge with a maximum penalty of just one year in county jail.

According to the Daily Bulletin, CPP Civil Engineering student Gonzalo Aranguiz Salazar will face a charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence.

In other words, pretty much the mildest charge authorities could file under the circumstances, while still holding someone accountable for the death.

Is that justice?

I have no idea.

I’ve yet to see any description from any source of how the collision occurred. No word whatsoever on how fast the driver was going, or if he broke any traffic laws leading up to the impact with Aguilar.

Apparently, it’s on a need to know basis.  And no one with knowledge of the investigation seems to think you or I need to know.

We’re just expected to accept that the charges are fair and appropriate given the top secret circumstances.

Sort of like we’re supposed to trust that campus administrators have the safety of their students at heart, on a campus that does not include a single inch of bicycling infrastructure.

Beverly Hills, meet your collegiate counterpart.

In all honesty, I’m not sure Salazar is the one who should be facing charges.

But you can’t charge a college with living in the auto-centric past and favoring motorists at the expense of every other road user. As much as it may be deserved.

But something tells me Cal Poly Pomona won’t make the list of bicycle-friendly universities anytime soon.

Update: Gottobike forwards a quote from American bike racer Ted King that seems oddly appropriate to this discussion:

It is impossible to find solutions when you’re busy making excuses.

And Boyonabike reminds me of something I let slide from the Daily Bulletin story about the Salazar charge, and shouldn’t have. 

The story quotes Megan Chaney, director of Clinical Programs and Experiential Learning and Associate Professor of Law at the University of La Verne College of Law, explaining why a misdemeanor charge may be appropriate in this case.

“A lot of time when somebody plows into somebody in a crosswalk or an intersection, it’s just an accident,” Chaney said Wednesday. “We put the onus, the responsibility on the driver, not the pedestrian, unless they’ve done something really horrible….”

“You’re allowed to look at the radio; that’s why you’ve got a radio. You drop your water bottle and look down to pick it up,” she said. “You really weren’t acting with any sort of criminal culpability. “

That’s the problem.

As a society, we’ve chosen not to hold drivers responsible for all but the most extreme actions behind the wheel. The collisions that result from carelessness, distraction or relatively minor violations of the law are excused as mere accidents, and left for the insurance companies to deal with, with little or no consequences for the drivers involved.

And that’s why we continue to have 30,000 +/- deaths on American streets each year.

It may be the current legal standard. 

But actions that result in the death or serious injuries of others should never be accepted. Or excused. Motor vehicles are, by their very nature, dangerous machines, and their operators can and should be expected to use the same caution behind the wheel that we expect from those involved in any other hazardous situation.

When life is taken more seriously than simple convenience on our streets, then — and only then — will anyone be safe on our streets.

Update: Cyclist killed near Cal Poly Pomona; third Pomona bicycling fatality this year

What the hell is happening in Pomona?

News is just breaking this morning of yet another bicycling fatality in Pomona, the third so far this year — putting it on the near one-a-month pace more typically shown by San Diego and Orange Counties. Not a city of just 150,000.

According to KABC-7, the rider, who has not been publicly identified, was reportedly riding east on Valley Blvd near Dupont Street just after midnight when he crossed over the westbound lanes and was hit by a white Mercedes Benz. The driver, 25-year old William Johnson of Beaumont, allegedly drove on for some distance before stopping to call the police.

The victim died at the scene. The station reports that the area is very dark at night; no word on whether he had lights or reflectors on his bike.

The location is near DeVry University and not far from Cal Poly Pomona, where Ivan Aguilar was killed riding to campus earlier this year; another rider died in an apparent fall in March.

KTLA-5 identifies the bike as a Schwinn 10-speed, which was badly mangled in the crash. The car had a dented hood and broken windshield.

And no, KTLA, the driver’s actions are not exactly what a motorist should do in the event of a collision. Drivers are expected to remain at the scene of a collision and render aid to the victim, not leave him bleeding in the street, then call police after driving away.

Yes, there are circumstances in which motorists are allowed to drive to a safer location before stopping; whether that happened here is unclear at this time.

Johnson has been interviewed by the police, and has not been placed under arrest at this time. The investigation is still ongoing, and anyone with information is urged to call Pomona police at 909-620-2081.

This is the 15th 16th bicycling fatality in Southern California so far this year, and remarkably, the ninth in Los Angeles County; that compares to just two in L.A. County this time last year.

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

Thanks to Alan Thompson and Kevin Yuskoff for the heads-up.

Update: the Banning-Beaumont Patch says the still-unidentified victim was in his 40s.

Update 2: Details continue to trickle in, as the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin describes the victim as a Hispanic man in his 40s. The paper also notes that the collision take place just west of a billboard with Metro’s new Every Lane is a Bike Lane safety campaign; for whatever reason, it didn’t help this time.

Update 3: I’ve just become aware of another bicycling fatality which occurred in Apple Valley on March 1st, in which 56-year old Kevin Olin was rear-ended while riding in a bike lane. That raises the total number of 2013 Southern California bicycling fatalities to 16.

Breaking news — bike rider killed in apparent fall; second Pomona cyclist to die in three weeks

News is just breaking of yet another bicycling fatality, the third in Southern California this weekend.

According to the San Bernadino Sun, Pomona police are investigating the death of a bike rider near Ganesha Park sometime Sunday evening. KCBS-2/KCAL-9 reports the victim apparently died as the result of a fall.

No other details are available at this time.

And yes, I’m getting very tired of writing that.

This is the 10th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 4th in the last two weeks. Tragically, half of those deaths have occurred in Los Angeles County; this is also the second cyclist to die in the city of Pomona in just the last three weeks, following the death of Ivan Aguilar on the Cal Poly Pomona campus last month.

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

Pomona hit-and-run killer arrested, OC Register’s Dan Whiting questioned, and a Westwood pothole fail

The driver who killed Rafael Perez in a Pomona hit-and-run on Wednesday has turned himself in to the police.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 67-year old Chino resident Rodger Allen Karcher walked into the Pomona Police Station around 8 pm Thursday. Police speculated that Karcher turned himself in after hearing media coverage of the collision, in which the victim was dragged half a block under Karcher’s SUV.

The Tribune reports that his SUV was also located, and matched the evidence found at the seen.

Karcher was booked on suspicion of hit-and-run causing death, and was being held on $50,000 bail; arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.

Yes, that’s a lousy $50,000 for dragging a man half a city block to his death.

And of course, Karcher may — or may not — have been drunk as a skunk when the collision occurred. But if he was, he had plenty of time to sober up in the 26-and-a-half hours before he turned himself in.

Thanks to Opus the Poet for the heads-up.

……..

I’m still hearing from cyclists about David Whiting’s recent columns about bicycling in the Orange County Register.

As I’ve said before, Whiting seems to have his heart in the right place. I have no doubt that he genuinely cares about keeping riders safe, and ending the seemingly eternal conflict between riders and drivers behind the Orange Curtain — one that has contributed to a nearly one a month rate of biking fatalities in the county.

On the other hand, that’s a hell of a lot better than the 21 riders killed on OC streets in 2006, or even the 15 killed the following year.

The problem is that Whiting seems to blame the victims, placing more than our share of responsibility firmly on the helmets and wheels of riders. And interpreting bike laws in an overly conservative manner, including a common misconception that riding two or more abreast is against the law — even though that isn’t mentioned anywhere in the California Vehicle Code.

Mark Loftus, author of the insightful riding website The C-Blog — I particularly like his explanation of why we roadies wear such ridiculous clothes — copied me on an email he sent to Whiting in response to his latest column on bicycling.

I have a quick observation that I was hoping you might see fit to print in the future…

There are several comments from readers included in your piece (referenced above) that go something like this:

  • I saw cyclists doing this (breaking a perceived law).
  • I saw cyclists run this light.
  • I saw a cyclist run that stop sign.
  • I saw cyclists do that.

And then these comments conclude with something akin to:

  • Cyclists should not be allowed on the road.
  • Cyclists should ride on bike paths.

I will not debate the validity of these observations except to say that many comments, on many different websites (not just your article) put out a cyclist “infraction” and it’s not really against the law anyway because the writer apparently doesn’t know/understand the law.

At any rate, why is it, in articles that draw out comments such as these, we don’t see comments also saying:

  • I saw a car driver not stop at a stop sign.
  • I saw a car driver texting while driving.
  • I saw a car driver blocking the whole lane and they wouldn’t let me pass. I had to pass on the shoulder or into oncoming traffic.
  • I saw a car driver run that red light.

And then, these comments could conclude with:

  • Car drivers should not be allowed on the road.

Food for thought, I should think.

Whiting responded positively, indicating that he’s written critically about drivers in the past. And may do so again soon.

Now that’s something I’ll look forward to reading.

……..

Finally, a major Streets Services fail in Westwood.

In the roughly 18 years I’ve lived in this neighborhood, I’ve noticed a repeated problem at the corner of Manning and Ohio Avenues.

A near constant flow of water through the gutter on the west side of the intersection results in a massive recurring pothole undermining the eastbound lane — in fact, you can even see it in this Google satellite photo.

For nearly two decades, I’ve watched as the city would send out a crew to patch the pavement, without ever doing anything about the root cause of the problem. And every time, the patch would only hold for a few months — or in some cases, weeks — before washing out again under the continual barrage of water and traffic.

Never mind that if they figured out where the water was coming from, they might be able to actually solve the problem, and save a fortune in perennial pothole repair.

Maybe they’re finally catching on.

Instead of patching the pothole once again, after doing it yet again just a few months earlier, the city responded by placing warning signs directly over the potholes.

In the middle of the traffic lane.

So instead of investing a few bucks worth of asphalt for yet another temporary fix, they’ve decided to avoid the issue entirely.

And hope drivers manage to avoid the signs placed directly in their path, forcing them to go around by either cutting into the heavily trafficked pedestrian crosswalk on the right. Or cut around the signs on the left by entering the oncoming traffic lane.

Neither of which is a reasonable — or even rational — expectation.

And never mind that the second option places motorists directly in the path of vehicles coming over a blind hill, at an intersection where drivers frequently roll through the stop in all four directions.

And of course, when the inevitable collision occurs, if it hasn’t already, it will be your tax dollars that will pay the city’s share of the damages.

All because some rocket scientist thought putting a warning sign in a traffic lane was a better idea than patching the damn pothole one more time. Let alone finding the problem causing the posthole to keep coming back.

And fixing it.

Best wishes to all for a very healthy, happy and prosperous new year!

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