Tag Archive for Riverside County

Palm Desert bike rider killed in early morning collision; DUI suspected

We knew it couldn’t last.

After a rare month in which only one bike rider was killed anywhere in Southern California, another rider has lost his life on SoCal streets.

And just five miles from the site of last month’s tragedy in Palm Desert.

According to the Press-Enterprise, 51-year old Bermuda Dunes resident Todd Barajas was hit by a 2002 Porsche driven by Thomas Karl Doczi of Rancho Mirage at 2:18 am Saturday morning, on westbound Hovey Lane just west of Corporate Way.

No word on where Barajas’ bike was positioned on the roadway or how the collision occurred. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Doczi was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter; according to the Desert Sun, police suspect he may have been driving drunk.

This is just the second bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, compared to 13 this time last year. And it’s the second in both Palm Desert and Riverside County since the first of the year.

Remarkably, no bike riders have been killed anywhere else in Southern California since the end of last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Todd Barajas and all his loved ones.

 

73-year old handcyclist killed in Palm Desert collision on Monday; first SoCal bicycling death this year

A bike rider from Colorado lost her life riding in Southern California, just five days into the new year.

According to the Desert Sun, 73-year old Rose Peters of Durango CO was hit by a car in Palm Desert this past Monday, and died after being taken to a local hospital.

The collision occurred around 11:30 am at the intersection of Mesa View and Highway 74. There’s no word on who may have been responsible, though the paper says drug or alcohol use is not believed to be a factor.

Her hometown Durango Herald adds more information, reporting that she was hit in a left cross when the driver made a left turn directly into her bike, striking it on the side. She suffered extensive injuries, dying about an hour later.

Tragically, Peters’ husband, who was waiting for her further down the road, was unaware of her death until several hours later; according to the Durango Herald, he got the news after calling several area hospitals to learn her condition.

The couple had been married for over 50 years, and had often ridden together on tours such as the Ride the Rockies and the Bicycle Tour of Colorado, as well as riding across the country a few years back.

She was a volunteer with Incight, an organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities reach their full potential. The couple was spending the winter in the area, living in a mobile home.

The wreck is still under investigation. Anyone with information is urged to contact Palm Desert Police Deputy Chris Lauer at 760/836-1600; you can also call anonymously at 760/341-7, re: incident #T150050062.

This is the first bicycling fatality in Southern California this year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Rose Peters and all her loved ones.

Thanks to Zak and new BikinginLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the heads-up. 

 

Riverside bike rider killed in sideswipe collision; 1st cycling fatality this month

It couldn’t last.

For the first 26 days of this month, there hadn’t been a single bicycling fatality anywhere in Southern California. It looked, for a time, like we might actually finish the year without another rider losing his life

Sadly, that ended today.

According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, 68-year old Israel Cerda Contreras was riding east in the right lane of Central Avenue east of the 91 Freeway just after noon today.

Witnesses told police that he began weaving as he struggled to ride uphill. As he did, he reportedly drifted into the far left lane on the six lane street, and was clipped from behind by a car traveling in the same direction.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver stopped, and was not suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

To make matters worse, Mark Friis reports the collision occurred in the same spot where David Mendez lost his life earlier this year. Mendez was the first bike rider killed this year; with luck, Contreras will be the last.

This is the 82nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th in Riverside County.

Let’s hope we can finish the year without another one.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Israel Contreras and all his family.

Update: Riverside bike rider killed in collision, driver suspected of drug use

It’s happened again.

A bike rider in Riverside has been killed in a collision with a driver suspected of being under the influence of prescription drugs.

According to the Press-Enterprise, a cyclist was riding west on California Avenue at Van Buren Blvd when he was hit by a 2014 Nissan Versa headed north on Van Buren around 5:40 this morning.

The victim was pronounced dead at a local hospital. He has been identified only as a 61-year old Riverside resident pending notification of next of kin.

The collision is still under investigation; however, the 52-year old driver was arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence.

Anyone with information is urged to call Riverside Det. Ken Madsen at 951/826-8723.

This is the 74 bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 12th in Riverside County this year; that compares with 12 in the county for all of last year. It’s also the fourth bicycling death in the city of Riverside since the first of the year.

Update: The Press-Enterprise has identified the victim as Riverside resident Ronald Williams.

Update 2: According to the Press-Enterprise, 52-year old Gail Wilkins of Jurupa Valley was cited for misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and released, after originally being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of prescription drugs. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ronald Williams and his loved ones.

Thanks to Mark Friis and Carlos Morales for the link.

Riverside hit-and-run victim dies after being taken off life support

A heartbreaking week just keeps getting worse.

According to KABC-7, Riverside hit-and-run victim D’Andre Sutherland was taken off life support on Tuesday.

The 27-year old father of two was riding near the intersection of Magnolia Ave and Beechwood Place around 2 am Sunday when he was hit by an SUV driving north on Magnolia. The driver fled the scene, leaving Sutherland lying in the street with what police described as significant injuries.

He was taken to Riverside Community Hospital, where he remained on life support for the next two days.

None of the stories describe how the collision happened; however, KTLA-5 reports he was riding in the number two lane. Since Beechwood is just a single lane in each direction, that means he had to have been riding on Magnolia, which suggests that he may have been the victim of a rear-end collision.

A ghost bike was installed in Sutherland’s honor on Wednesday. As Mark Friis, Executive Director of the Inland Empire Biking Alliance observed, there have been too damn many of them required in the Inland area this year.

Police are looking for a silver or beige SUV, similar to a Ford Flex, with major damage to the windshield and front end. 

Anyone with information is urge to call Detective Felix Soria at 951/826-8720 or email FSoria@riversideca.gov. 

This is the 59th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th in Riverside County, which compares with 12 for all of last year. Sutherland is also the 11th bicycling bike rider to lose his life in a hit-and-run since the first of the year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for D’Andre Sutherland and all his family.

Update: Bicyclist killed in Menifee collision; Riverside County bike fatalities twice as high as last year

A bad year for Riverside County bicyclists just keeps getting worse.

According to the Press-Enterprise, two cyclists were riding east on Domenigoni Parkway at Lindenberger Road in Menifee when they were rear-ended by a motorist around 5:20 pm. One rider, who has not been publicly identified, was killed, while the other was not seriously injured.

DailySoCal lists the location as Winchester, and describes the car as a single passenger vehicle driven by a man, who was cooperating with investigators.

No other details are available at this time.

A satellite view of the intersection shows what looks like a bike lane, suggesting the riders may have been in their own lane and should have been out of the way of through traffic when they were hit. No explanation was given for why the driver apparently drifted out of his or her lane to hit the riders.

This is the 55th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in Riverside County. That compares with just five in the county this time last year, and 12 for all of 2013.

Update: According to Menifee 24/7, the victim, described only as a man in his 50s, was declared dead at the scene.

The website also places the location at the top of a hill east of Lindenberger, and describes the roadway as the primary route between Menifee and Hemet. A photo shows a narrow, half-gutter bike lane or shoulder next to a thoroughfare with a 55 mph speed limit; however, Google’s street view shows a lane wide enough for two cyclists to ride abreast leading up the hill.

The site quotes Menifee resident Stephen Kaas as saying he was riding just ahead of the victim when the collision occurred.

I didn’t really see what happened,” Kaas said. “He was riding behind me. I just heard it and saw him flying through the air.

It’s unclear from the description whether the two cyclists were riding together, or if Kaas’ bike was struck, as well.

Anyone with information is urged to call Riverside Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Cail at 951/210-1068.

Update 2: Menifee 24/7 has identified the victim as 55-year old Menifee resident Matthew Carp, who was riding in the bike lane with Stephen Kass when he was hit from behind by a car driven by 23-year old Luis Aranda Llamas of San Jacinto. 

Despite wearing a helmet, Carp suffered major head trauma and internal injuries. According to the site, Kass barely avoided injury himself. 

Llamas was reportedly driving at a high rate of speed when he hit Carp. While bike helmets can protect against injury at slower speeds, they aren’t designed to protect against high speed collisions, and do nothing to prevent injuries to other parts of the body.

Still no word on why Llamas drifted into the bike lane; he was booked for vehicular manslaughter and for displaying a fictitious license plate.

Update 3: More on the collision from a rider who lived nearby, and knew both the victim and his companion. Witnesses reported seeing the driver weaving in and out of the bike lane as if distracted; investigators seized his phone as evidence. Thanks to C Menjou for leaving the link in a comment below.

In a demonstration of just how hard this has struck the local community, Danny Gamboa tells me the city of Menifee reached out to ghost bike volunteers to request an installation in memory of Carp, and will be closing the street from 4 to 5 pm Saturday for a memorial. He also says the city recently removed a bike lane on another street, forcing riders onto Domenigoni where Carp was killed.

And in a heartbreaking tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, Carp’s oldest son apparently took his own life following his father’s death.

There are no words.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Matthew and Cameron Carp and all their family and loved ones.

Thanks to Zak for the heads-up.

Sad news, as 15-year old Canyon Lake bike rider declared brain dead; 50th SoCal cycling fatality this year

The news did not look good last night.

And today, our worst fears were confirmed as news came that a 15-year old bike rider was declared brain dead following a Tuesday collision in Canyon Lake.

As noted earlier, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported yesterday that the rider suffered major injuries when he broadsided a Cadillac Escalade after crossing into an intersection following a steep descent on a side street.

The collision occurred around 4:30 pm on Tuesday in the 22800 block of Vacation Drive; based on the satellite view, it appears he must have been descending from Old Wrangler Road.

As of Wednesday morning, the victim was hospitalized in critical condition with major head trauma. The impact was hard enough that the side airbags deployed on the SUV; the driver remained at the scene and cooperated with police.

The Friday Flyer reported today that the victim, Sam Siroky of Canyon Lake, was declared brain dead Wednesday evening. According to his father, his body was being kept alive so his organs could be harvested for transplant.

Matthew Siroky says the family thanks everyone for their wonderful support, and they want something positive to come out of this terrible circumstance. Matthew says, “We know Sam would want to help as many people as possible, so we are donating his organs.”

A website has been established to help cover his memorial and medical expenses.

Both stories note that Siroky was not wearing a helmet, even though that’s required for all cyclists below the age of 18 under California law.

It’s possible a helmet may have made a difference in this case, since he died of brain injuries; however, given the apparent force of the impact, it may not have made a difference.

This is the 50th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and ninth in Riverside County; that compares with just five in the county this time last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Sam Siroky and all his family.

Bike rider killed in Riverside collision; eighth bicycling fatality in Riverside County this year

More bad news for Bike Week.

According to the Press-Enterprise, a forty-year old bike rider was attempting to cross Van Buren Ave Blvd at Doolittle Ave in Riverside around 10:15 pm Wednesday when he was hit by a late-model Ford traveling north in the center lane.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:30 pm.

The Riverside County coroner lists the victim’s age as 32, and places the location as 1600 feet north of Arlington Ave.

While the article makes no mention of which way the victim was riding, Doolittle does not cross Van Buren, so he could only have been riding east. No explanation is given for why he was attempting to cross the road; however, he may have been trying to reach the bike lane on the northbound side and wasn’t able to get across the the six-lane boulevard in time.

A street view shows a 55 mph speed limit north of Arlington. Whether the driver may have been speeding or the victim simply misjudged his ability to cross before oncoming traffic caught up to is yet to be determined.

This is the 39th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth already this year in Riverside County, compared to just two this time last year.

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

Update: Bike rider killed in Riverside County; 2nd IE death today

Word is just coming in that a second Inland Empire bike rider has lost his life today, this time in Canyon Lake.

According to the Press-Enterprise, the victim was struck by a vehicle shortly before 10 am in the eastbound lanes of Railroad Canyon Road near Blackhorse Drive, a street described as a virtual freeway. A satellite view shows what appears to be a bike lane in both directions.

He died sometime later at a nearby hospital.

No other information is available at this time, including the name or any description of the victim.

This is the 35th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh already this year in Riverside County, compared to just two this time last year.

Update: The victim has been identified only as a man in his 60s

Update 2: The Valley News identifies the still unnamed victim as a 61-year old Menifee resident, and places the location in Perris, on the 3100 block of Railroad Canyon Road. According to the paper, he was attempting to cross the eastbound lanes from the center median when he was struck by a car driven by a 21-year old Yucaipa resident. 

A Riverside County Sheriff’s sergeant reports that the victim suffered major head trauma and internal injuries, despite wearing a helmet.

It’s important to note that while bike helmets can provide protection in solo falls and low speed impacts, they are not designed to protect against high speed collisions, and offer no protection against injuries to any other part of the body. 

While I am a firm believer in helmet use, they should be considered a last line of defense. It’s far better to avoid collisions than to count on your helmet to protect you.

Update 3: The coroner’s office has identified the victim as 61-year old Conrad Pasco of Menifee.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Conrad Pasco and his family. 

Thanks to Zak for the heads-up.

Update — Bike rider killed in Coachella collision

On a day when LA bike riders safely celebrated one of the city’s most iconic streets, the news from further east was much more troubling.

According to the Desert Sun, an unidentified bike rider was killed in a collision with a pickup at 6:30 Sunday evening at the intersection of Vista del Norte and Dillon Road. The paper reports the victim died at the scene, and that drug or alcohol use did not play a role in the collision.

Unfortunately, no other details are available at this time.

This is the 28th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Riverside County already this year, compared to just two in the county this time last year.

And it’s a reminder that too many of our streets remain dangerous for those who choose to travel unprotected by a few tons of glass and steel.

Update: The Desert Sun has identified the victim as 48-year old Atwater resident Larry Dale Taylor. According to the Riverside County coroner, he was wearing a helmet, which may or may not be relevant depending on the victim’s injuries and how the collision occurred.

 Thanks to attorney James Johnson for the heads-up.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Larry Taylor and his loved ones.

Update 2: KESQ.com report that Taylor was riding east on the shoulder of Vista Del Norte just west of Dillon Road when he inexplicably turned left directly in front of the pickup in what sounds like a classic SWSS.*

Reports like that should always be taken with a grain of salt, unless there are independent witnesses other than the driver, which is not clear in this case. Often when the victim is unable to give his side of the story, police are forced to rely on statements from the driver, who has an inherent interest in seeing his or her actions in the best possible light.

It’s always possible that instead of the victim turning in front of the vehicle, the driver may have drifted to the right or not seen the cyclist riding in front of him.

*Single Witness Suicide Swerve

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