Tag Archive for Rancho Mirage

Palm Springs cyclist dies in collateral damage collision; 2nd fatality today, 3rd this week

Some drivers will tell you they’ve never seen a cyclist stop for a red light.

Yesterday, proving them wrong cost a 49-year old Palm Springs man his life.

Donald McCluskey was stopped at the red light on southbound Da Vall Drive at Ramon Road in Rancho Mirage around 12:15 pm Wednesday when a 2010 Chrysler Town and County minivan traveling in the opposite direction ran the red light.

The van overturned after it was hit by a 1998 GMC Sierra pickup traveling west on Ramon, plowing into McCluskey, as well as the car stopped next to him. He was taken to Desert Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 1:40 pm.

Remarkably, Larry Wayne Goodman of Cathedral City, the driver who had the green light — not the one who ran the red light — was arrested at the scene for driving under the influence. No word on the identity of the Chrysler driver, who was hospitalized with moderate injuries, or why he blew through the light.

In other words, the two people who caused the collision were both breaking the law, while the person who died as a result of their actions apparently did everything right.

This is the 14th cycling fatality in Southern California since the first of the year, and the third in Riverside County. It is also the second bike death today, and the third in the last seven days.

My deepest sympathy to Donald McCluskey and his loved ones.

Update: Another biking fatality in Moreno Valley last week; no ID for Rancho Mirage victim

Somehow, this went under the radar over the weekend.

According to KTLA, 57-year old Jose Garcia-Espinosa of Moreno Valley was killed in a collision with a motor home on Saturday, July 22nd.

Garcia-Espinosa was riding on Cactus Avenue near the intersection with Lasselle Street when he was struck from behind after Joseph Gerald Edgerson of Moreno Valley lost control of his vehicle, which went on to strike a utility pole. Edgerson was reportedly incoherent following the collision and was taken to a local hospital in critical condition; KTLA reports he may have suffered a seizure.

A story by the Press-Enterprise suggests that Garcia-Espinosa may have been struck some distance from the final crash site, noting that he was found lying on the side of the road at 10:48 am. He was pronounced dead at Riverside County Regional Medical Center at 11:11 am.

This is the 42nd confirmed traffic-related cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th in Riverside County.

Thanks to Dj Wheels and an anonymous source for the heads-up.

……..

Still no public identification for the cyclist killed in Rancho Mirage on Saturday night. The 41-year old Hispanic man was riding against  traffic when he was hit.

I’m told that bike riders in some parts of Mexico and Central America are often taught to ride against traffic, and bring that habit with them when they ride the more heavily traveled roads of this country.

Sometimes with tragic results.

I can’t say that’s what happened here, though the delay in contacting his next-of-kin suggests that they may not be in this country.


Update: Salmon cyclist killed in Rancho Mirage Saturday night

According to MyDesert.com, a cyclist was killed while riding against traffic in Rancho Mirage last night.

The rider, who has not been publicly identified, was headed east in the westbound on Highway 111 near Atrium Way when he was struck by a car traveling west at around 10:50 pm. KPSP-2 reports that he was pronounced dead at the scene.

No other details are available at this time.

……..

Some bike riders believe it is safer to ride against traffic, since it allows them to see oncoming vehicles. However, it’s actually significantly more dangerous because motorists aren’t looking anything approaching them on the same side of the road, and it shortens time both rider and driver have to react to a dangerous situation.

It also dramatically increases the severity of the impact by combining the speeds of both bike and car, rather than reducing the speed of impact as it would if both were traveling in the same direction.

For instance, if a car was traveling at 30 mph in the same direction as a bike at 15 mph, they would collide with a force equivalent to hitting a stationary object at 15 mph. However, traveling in opposite directions means the force of impact would be equivalent to 45 mph.

And that makes a big difference. It’s said that a pedestrian hit at 30 mph has an 80% chance of survival, while one hit at 40 mph has an 80% chance of dying.

This is the 6th bicycling fatality in Riverside County this year, and the 43rd confirmed cycling traffic death in Southern California since January 1st.

Update: The rider has been identified only as a 41-year old Hispanic male. While the cyclist appears to be clearly at fault for riding on the wrong side of the street, at least one local TV station seems to be going out of its way to blame the victim, as they quote a local resident questioning why anyone would ride a bike at night:

“I’m very sorry this man was killed but the average bicycle rider doesn’t ride at 11 O’clock at night,” Wells said.

Unless, of course, the average bike rider needs to get home from work or school, has someplace they want to go or just happens to enjoy riding after dark. You know, sort of like people in cars, but with fewer wheels.

And writer Jim Lyle questions my physics, saying that force of impact in a collision isn’t as simple as adding and subtracting relative speeds

It doesn’t work that way.  Ignoring differences in mass, if two cars collide head on at 30 mph, the force of the collision is not doubled; it’s the same as driving into a wall at 30 mph for each car.

For a bicycle/car collision, the differences in the masses are so large that the force of the collision is only marginally different if you are hit from behind or head on.

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