Confirmation is just coming in that a bicyclist has died as a result of injuries in a crash at Camp Pendleton yesterday.
I had received an email about the collision earlier this afternoon; however, I was unable to confirm the death until now.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, three cyclists, identified only as civilians, were hit by a bus while riding through the Marine base; the paper uses the word “slammed” to describe the impact. The collision occurred around 1 pm on Stuart Mesa Road near Cook Crossing.
The paper reports that two of the riders were transported by ambulance, with the third flown out by helicopter.
Unfortunately, the LA Times writes that one of the riders has died, confirming the report in the email; according to the Times, one of the surviving riders remains in critical condition, while the third is listed as serious.
The Times reports the bus belonged to the North County Transit District.
No word yet on how or why the collision occurred.
Civilians are usually allowed to ride through the military base, except during war games or security alerts, and it is one of the most popular routes in North County San Diego cyclists.
This is the 57th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th in San Diego County; that compares with 10 in the county this time last year.
Update: Three days later, there has still been no follow-up from the press on this tragedy, and no confirmation from the San Diego coroner’s office. However, the name of the victim has become common knowledge in the San Diego cycling community, identifying him as Udo Heinz.
Some of the comments below are from people who knew him, and worth reading to get a feeling for the kind of man he was. If anyone wants to provide more information about Heinz, or how the collision happened, let me know; you can find my email on the About page.
And a quick note to commenters. My policy is to allow any discussion that is courteous, avoids personal attacks and does not disrespect fallen riders. At this time, we have no idea how this collision occurred or who was at fault. So if you feel a need to criticize bike riders, for whatever reason, find another post to leave your comments. This is not the place for it.
Update 2: If you haven’t read the comments below, please do. It’s obvious that Udo Heinz was well-loved, not just a cyclist, but as a father and friend, as this column on Mountain Bike Review makes clear; thanks to Lois for the heads-up.
Update 3: The Union-Tribune finally followed up on their initial story and provided a little more information.
Heinz, a 43-year old resident of Encinitas, was riding south on Stuart Mesa Road through Camp Pendleton with two other riders around 1 pm Sunday when a North County Transit District bus traveling in the same direction attempted to pass. The bus went into the northbound lane to pass the three riders, then cut back and hit them; the paper does not say if there was oncoming traffic or some other reason the bus came back into the lane before clearing the cyclists.
There were roughly a dozen passengers on the bus who may be able to help explain what happened, and there should be video from the bus itself.
According to the U-T story, one of the other riders, 62-year old John Edwards, suffered what was described as “serious permanent injuries.” The third rider was hospitalized, but no further information was available.
A member of the Ranchos Cycling Club, Heinz was a mechanical engineer with two master’s degrees and vice president of commercial products for TUV Rheinland Group.
He leaves behind a wife and children.
Update 4: More details on how the collision occurred and the injuries suffered by Edwards are included in a brief posted online by Edwards’ attorney. Apparently, the driver made no attempt to avoid the riders, despite video from an onboard camera showing them riding directly in front of the bus.
My prayers for Udo Heinz and the other victims and all their families and loved ones. Let’s hope the two survivors make a full and fast recovery.