Tag Archive for Riverside

Morning Links: Torrance tri canceled, Riverside carnage continues, and bike advocate ponders if it’s time to quit

If you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss yesterday’s guest post Letter From St. Louis, from CyclingSavvy’s Karen Karabell.

Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Then buckle in. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today.


Don’t bother showing up for this weekend’s triathlon in Torrance.

Word comes from Todd Munson that the race has been called on account of apparent greed and billing irregularities from the cities involved, and not involved.

This is what the organizers had to say.

Yesterday, the city of Torrance canceled the 2016 LA Triathlon at Torrance Beach.  With much regret, we are forced to announce this cancellation to our participants and sponsors only 4 days prior to race day.  We understand that the cancellation will come with great disappointment to those of you who have worked hard and prepared for months toward this year’s triathlon.  We are disappointed by the unexpected and unprecedented circumstances and demands that have unfolded to cause this cancellation.

We have listed the key points that led to the city’s cancellation of our event in an effort to offer some immediate transparency to all participants:

  1. On August 31st, the City of Torrance sent to Pacific Sports an email demanding advanced payment, in full, to the city, prior to the event, for city services.  There was no detail of the charges, simply amounts in total and the requirement to bring two cashier’s checks by 5pm.   This is not standard practice in other municipalities and certainly not in those where all previous invoices had been paid in a timely fashion.
  2. In the same email on August  31st, we were informed that a significant separate payment was also required to be paid to the neighboring City of Palos Verdes, a city in which we have no footprint, no permit, no participants enter their city as part of our course, no liability coverage, and no relationship of any kind.  This demand is unprecedented in our 36 year history as an event production company, and to our knowledge unprecedented in the event industry in the United States.    This payment is demanded by Torrance (to be paid to Palos Verdes) although we have never been made aware of the apparent business relationship (although it has been requested) between Torrance (where we do have permits) and the city of Palos Verdes.
  3. Also in this email, it was finally revealed by the City of Torrance, after an audit requested by Pacific Sports, the city had significantly overbilled us by an amount in excess of 30% to the total in 2015 for city services.   We have strong evidence that the 2014 invoice may have been overbilled as well.   Importantly, we have no reliability that the advance payment demanded for 2016 (without detail of its calculation) is backed up by verifiable charges which will only be available after the event has occurred.
  4. Since August 31st, we have worked tirelessly with all levels of the city government including the city council and Mayor’s office in an attempt to bring resolution.  We offered a structured and fair written compromise on these issues in attempt to  insure the event went on as planned on September 11th.  Ultimately, the city offered no compromise or proposed solution and informed us they had unilaterally canceled the event.

We are upset and deeply disappointed by the cancellation, but the requirements were unreasonable and excessive.  Accepting the terms would have compromised the entire event and were untenable for us to continue at the current site for the LA Triathlon.


Yet another teenager has been injured riding her bicycle in Riverside, where it’s apparently open season on bike-riding school kids.

A 14-year old girl is in stable condition after being hit by a pickup while riding in a crosswalk just 100 feet from her school Wednesday morning. The driver fled the scene after stopping briefly; she was taken into custody on a nearby highway about 10 minutes later.

Although despite what the story says, it’s hard to imagine the driver was “fully cooperative” with police when she tried to make a getaway before being caught.


Lucas James Guidroz pled not guilty to in the hit-and-run death of math and music teacher, musician and cyclist Rod Bennett as he was riding on Placerita Canyon Road last May. Guidroz faces felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury.

Note to Santa Clarita Valley Signal: Show a little respect, and get the victim’s name right in the caption.


In the wake of yesterday’s blog post from Surly’s Skip Bernet, in which he said he’s done riding on streets due to the dangers posed by cars, long-time LA bike advocate Examined Spoke questions whether he wants to keep riding his bike.

Is cycling in traffic safe? I can find statistical support for any answer I want: yes, no, who knows. My own experiences suggest the answer should be no, not safe. In 2009 I was rear-ended while riding on Los Feliz Boulevard; last year I was brushed (side-swiped) on Fountain Avenue. I can recount several other close passes, terrifying moments — the usual stuff that you will hear from almost any cyclist. I shrugged off these experiences when they happened, but they still haunt me. They’ve also made me into a poor advocate; I cannot argue for cycling’s essential safety, I am a personal testament to its dangers. As much as I want to believe the opposite, little by little I’ve had to admit to myself that I don’t feel safe on the road. I never feel safe out there.

It’s a very well-written and challenging piece, and one that poses some very difficult questions.

If anyone wants to respond to it, let me know. I’ll be happy to share your thoughts here.


The bus carrying Britain’s Team Sky pro cycling team nearly made mince pie out of a cyclist on a narrow country road.

The team contacted him a few hours after the video went online to apologize.

They should give him an autographed team bike, at the very least. And a new pair of shorts, since he probably needs them after that.

Meanwhile, Lance’s doping ban has been partially lifted, so he is now free to compete in non-bike related Olympic sports, like ski jumping, pole vaulting and synchronized swimming.



Props to CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo for beginning work to create a pedestrian plaza, including bike racks, on the Hoover Triangle in University Park. Now if he could just do something to make it safer to bike or walk there.

More honorees at the LACBC’s upcoming Firefly Ball include Culver City Council Member Meghan Sahli-Wells and The Walt Disney Company.

CiclaValley shares video of the new Spring Street bike lane between 1st and 2nd Streets in DTLA.

Damien Newton talks with Marisa Creter of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments about plans for a 200 mile bike superhighway crisscrossing the entire valley.

WeHoVille examines the 18-month timeline to reconstruct Santa Monica Blvd through Beverly Hills; the street will be widened, providing enough room for the bike lanes that won’t be installed. Increased costs and the objections of residents to widening one narrow section of the street was given as the reason not to install much-needed bike lanes on the boulevard. So why won’t they commit to adding them now that the street is being widened anyway?

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson reports on Wednesday’s meeting of the Palos Verdes Estates Traffic Safety Committee as only he can.



A Canadian man is riding over 1,500 miles to attend next month’s Desert Trip music festival in Indio on his Pedego ebike.

Pismo Beach votes to move a bike path into a busy parking lot to keep it from besmirching a coastal subdivision for wealthy homeowners.

Fresno jurors find an accused career criminal not guilty of attempted murder of a police officer in a struggle that began when the cops tried to stop him for riding without a light.



Streetsblog says the US has the worst per capita traffic fatality rate in the developed world because we drive too damn much. Not to mention too damn fast, too damn drunk and too damn distracted.

Zocolo Public Square says modern roads resulted from a coalition of early bicyclists and rural farmers banding together to demand better streets, only to see cyclists squeezed out with the advent of the automobile.

Build your own DIY ebike that looks like it would probably alert the bomb squad.

Bicycling offers advice on how to ride through your pregnancy.

Exploring Hawaii’s Lanai island by bicycle, where only 3,200 people live and there are no traffic lights.

The Tacoma teenager tackled by police as she rode her bicycle through a mall parking lot is suing the police department, as well as the officer in question, the mall and its security company.

American Denise Mueller hopes to set a new motor-paced bicycle land speed record of over 168 mph at Utah’s famed Bonneville Salt Flats this weekend.

A Chicago area writer can’t seem to figure out if he’s pro or anti bike, saying allowing bicycles in wilderness areas is a bad idea, but giving bicyclists the same rights as drivers is a good one — especially if it means more riders get tickets.

An Op-Ed writer in the Chicago Tribune complains about a parking protected bike lane, and insists that bike riders can’t be ticketed — or pay fees — because they don’t have operators licenses. Never mind that most bicyclists have driver’s licenses, like most other human beings in this country, and can be ticketed even without them.

Cleveland officials say the bike lane that was removed to provide parking for the Hilton hotel wasn’t really removed because it was never really a bike lane to begin with.

A retired Boston doctor encourages drivers to open their doors with their right hands to avoid dooring cyclists.

New York protected the security of the presidential candidates from bike riders by forcing the riders onto a busy highway at rush hour.

A Pennsylvania website says bicyclists face a life and death struggle for space on the state’s roads.



Ottawa officials say it’s okay that bike lanes on a newly opened bridge are too narrow to meet official guidelines, because they’re not really bike lanes. Evidently, they’ve been talking with the people in Cleveland.

It only took 120 years to get a bike lane on one Toronto street.

The Guardian looks at the Rails to Trails movement in the UK, where abandoned rail lines are being turned into world class biking and walking trails.

Curbed introduces Amsterdam’s first Bike Mayor, elected as an unofficial representative for the city’s bicyclists.

Apparently Belgrade, Serbia fails to make the grade when it comes to being bike friendly.

A new report says Adelaide, Australia isn’t ready for bikeshare because of its immature bikeway network, mandatory helmet law and crushing car culture. Los Angeles can cop to two out of three.

An Aussie writer calls for a network of segregated cycle routes to replace painted bike lanes, augmented by a network of shared quietways where cars don’t own the roads. Which sounds a lot like the apparently forgotten Bicycle Friendly Streets called for in LA’s Mobility Plan.



Bicycling may be good for your health, but good sex may kill you. Seriously, if you’re already on probation for drug charges and carrying an “unknown white substance” on your bike, don’t ride on the damn sidewalk.

And just in time to beat the Halloween rush, a bicycle on a kickstand pedals itself, both forward and back, with no one but the camera around.

Morning Links: Rough days for SoCal cyclists, RAAM champ critically injured, and Pokémon goes Ovarian Psychos

It’s been a rough few days for SoCal cyclists.

A bike rider was hospitalized after being struck by a car in Pomona Monday night; no word on the victim’s condition. Thanks to Joe Linton for the heads-up.

A 16-year old girl is in critical condition after being hit by a Dial-A-Ride Bus while riding in Riverside with her mother; KABC-7 shows her mangled bike.


Sad news from Ohio, as Danny Chew, two-time winner of the Race Across America, was paralyzed from the waist down after a solo fall while riding with a friend near Lodi, Ohio.

Chew was riding around 20 to 25 mph when he drifted off the road as the result of a dizzy spell, and broke his neck crashing into a drainage ditch. His long-term prognosis following emergency surgery won’t be known for several days.

A crowdfunding site has raised over $37,000 to help pay his medical bills.

He is an eight-time RAAM finisher, once crossing the US in eight days, seven hours, and 14 minutes as a solo competitor, and just 200,000 miles from his goal of riding one million miles on his bike.


Three-time Vuelta winner Alberto Contador predicts Columbia’s Nairo Quintana will win this year’s race, though second place Chris Froome still has his hopes up.

Froome insists over half of the peloton should have been eliminated for missing the time cut-off, which would have left just 71 riders to finish the race.



Former LA City Controller Laura Chick endorses Jesse Creed in his race to oust incumbent Paul “No Bikes On Westwood” Koretz from the city council. Meanwhile, Josef-Bray Ali is hosting a fundraiser this Monday in his race to unseat Gil “No Bikes Anywhere” Cedillo.

Curbed races to Dodger Stadium to find the fastest way to get there from Union Station; the bicycle finished a close second to the car. But didn’t have to pay those parking fees, either.

Harrison Ford may be one of us, but doesn’t seem to have the hang of roof racks yet. Thanks to Steve Herbert for the link.

CiclaValley feels the call of the Great White North.

Pasadena’s Public Health Director will tell the city’s Complete Streets Coalition that their work aligns with public health efforts at the coalition’s monthly meeting tonight.

That didn’t take long. Just weeks after the Raleigh bike store opened in Santa Monica, thieves broke in early Monday and stole five e-bikes worth nearly $20,000.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson urges everyone to come out to support bike safety efforts in NIMBY haven Palos Verdes Estates at tonight’s Traffic Safety Committee meeting.



An Anaheim man has ridden across the country 64 times to raise funds to fight multiple sclerosis.

Santa Ana is offering eight hour Confident Cycling classes the next two weekends.

A writer for a North San Diego County paper calls for curb protected bike lanes to replace the painted lanes in the wake of a hit-and-run that left a cyclist seriously injured.

Sacramento police make their 41st bait bike arrest of the year to fight back against bike theft. Los Angeles doesn’t even have a bait bike program.



A health website attempts to raise a panic about the harmful effects of bicycling, which turns out to be nothing more than the old discredited fears that too much riding may make you a candidate for those ED commercials.

CNET recommends a $45 waterproof, 1080p action cam.

A new $250 smartphone attachment will allow you to control your phone and answer calls without taking your hands off your handlebars. Or you can get all that built into your helmet.

A Boulder CO designer has created a simplified bikeway map that includes ratings for difficulty.

Wichita KS changes the law to make biking under the influence a less serious offense than DUI.

A Dallas cyclist nearly gets into a fight with an aggressive driver who tells him to get on the sidewalk.

An Arkansas mountain bike park draws 1,000 cyclists a week; it will be the site of the International Mountain Bicycling World Summit in November.

An Ohio man gets four years in prison for blinding a 72-year old bike rider in one eye with a paint gun; however, he could be out in as little as six months with good behavior. Another reminder to always wear some form of eye protection while you ride. And have a good lawyer on speed dial.

New York’s Vision Zero is too ambitious, according to a writer the Post, who proposes making it Vision 123 instead.

The New York Times discovers the Rolling Coal movement, and drivers who think they have a God-given right to belch soot and smoke in the face of bike riders and pedestrians.

Solange Knowles is one of us, as she takes Ed Droste on a bike tour of her adopted hometown of New Orleans.



Yahoo offers typo-filled advice on how to ride your bike around the world.

Bike Radar lists the ten best movies about roadies. No, not those roadies.

City Lab takes up the issue of whether traffic dangers and population outweighs the benefits of bicycling, after the recent report from the Financial Times, and concludes the real danger is sitting on your ass. Thanks to Jon and Patrick Murray for the FT link.

An Ottawa columnist says separated bike lanes aren’t enough to protect cyclists, while another urges the city to embrace Vision Zero and consider all traffic deaths preventable.

Montreal considers improving safety for bicyclists by narrowing lanes, reducing speed limits and moving stop lines back to make room for bike riders at traffic lights.

A London bike lawyer says the police response to the recent Jeremy Vine case offers hope that they might finally take incidents involving other riders seriously.

Caught on video: A London cyclist catches a bus driver using his phone to place bets on soccer while driving.

A recent Polish immigrant tells the horrifying story of the vicious gay bashing he suffered while riding his bike in a Dublin park, and the suggestion from the investigating officer that he somehow provoked it. And what the hell difference would it make if he did?

Welsh cyclists — and anyone else — now have the legal right to propose new biking and walking routes, and local leaders are required to listen.

Apparently, road rage is no different in Mumbai than anywhere else.



That’s not a bike, it’s a pedal-powered seismograph. Throwing your bike at police officers after stealing hash browns from McDonalds is not a generally accepted usage.

And let’s all go for a musical Pokémon bike ride.

Especially since the video seems to feature LA’s Ovarian Psychos.


Ovarian Psychos

Update: Riverside bike rider killed in Sunday collision

Sometimes the news reports are as infuriating as the news itself.

According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, a bike rider was struck and killed at the intersection of Meadowbrook Lane and Jurupa Avenue last night.

The police say the victim, who has been identified only as a man, was headed north on Meadowbrook when he “steered” into the intersection around 7:40 pm, and was struck by the eastbound pickup, whose driver was reportedly unable to stop in time.

The question is what does that mean? The implication is the victim was turning onto Jurupa; however, he also may have been attempting to cross and swerved to avoid the truck at the last minute.

The other question is why wasn’t the driver able to stop in time?

The police press release implies that the cyclist may have run the stop sign on Meadowbrook and ridden out into the path of the truck on the uncontrolled street, where the driver would have the right-of-way. However, that would depend on whether there were independent witnesses other than the driver who saw the victim ride out in front of the truck.

It’s also possible that he may have come to a stop, and simply misjudged the speed of the truck before riding onto the five lane, 45 mph street, or that the driver was speeding, giving the illusion that he had time to turn or cross the street. Or maybe the driver just wasn’t paying attention, and didn’t see the cyclist until it was too late.

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

Hopefully their investigation will go a lot deeper than what’s contained in their press release.

This is the 7th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year,* and the first in Riverside County. It’s also the eight bicycling fatality in Riverside in just the last two years.

Update: Raw video from the scene shows the truck stopped in the center turn lane just beyond the intersection, with the bike stuck underneath, suggesting that the victim was crossing the street when he was struck. It also shows an open bottle of vodka standing upright next to his covered body, implying that he may have been drinking. But be forewarned, the video is very difficult to watch.

*I’ve added the death of a teenager who was killed while walking his bike on the train tracks near Oxnard.

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

Update: 31-year old bike rider killed by train in Riverside

Always wait for the barriers to lift at a railroad crossing.

A Riverside bike rider didn’t, and sadly, paid the price.

According to the Press-Enterprise, the woman was riding her bike east on Mission Inn Ave in downtown Riverside when she stopped to wait for a southbound train around 11:10 this morning.

As soon as the train passed, she continued across the tracks while the crossing arms were reportedly still down and the warning lights flashing. She was then hit and killed by a train traveling north on the tracks, whose approach would have been hidden from sight by the other train.

The victim is identified only as an apparent transient in her 30s.

This is the 20th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Riverside County. That compares to 41 in SoCal this time last year, and six in the county.

She is also the first bike rider to be killed in a collision with a train anywhere in Southern California since August of last year.

Update: The Press-Enterprise has identified the victim as 31-year old Virginia Gadberry of Riverside.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Virginia Gadberry and her loved ones.

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.

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: Riverside bike rider killed by suspected drunk driver; first SoCal bike fatality of 2014

That didn’t take long.

Just five days into the new year, Southern California has suffered its first bicycling fatality, as a Riverside rider was run down by a suspected drunk driver on Sunday.

According to the Press-Enterprise, 22-year old David Mendez was riding east on Central Avenue, approximately three-quarters of a mile west of Victoria Ave, at 3:47 pm yesterday when he was hit from behind by a suspected drunk driver. An earlier story puts his location close to the Olivewood Cemetery.

The story says he was riding in the far left lane, suggesting that he may have been preparing for a turn.

Mendez was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead half an hour later. The story reports he was wearing a helmet; clearly, it was not enough to protect him from the force of the impact.

The 20-something driver was detained at the scene on suspicion of DUI; no word on whether he was arrested.

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

This is the first bicycling fatality in Southern California this year and the first in Riverside County; there were 11 cycling deaths in the county last year. Mendez is also the fifth bike rider to be killed in the City of Riverside since 2011.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for David Mendez and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Zak and West Seegmiller for the heads-up.

Update: As a comment from John McB notes, the Press-Enterprise story has been corrected to say Mendez was riding in the far right lane nearest the curb, rather than the left lane as originally reported.

The story also reports that the driver, 31-year old Christopher R. Banning was arrested at the scene on suspicion of vehicle manslaughter without gross negligence and driving under the influence. Any charges will be determined by the Riverside district attorney’s office.

Update: 15-year old bike rider killed in Metrolink collision; first SoCal bike death in nearly a month

We almost made it.

It’s been exactly 26 days since the last bicycling fatality anywhere in Southern California. Lately I’ve kept my fingers crossed the we could make it to a full four weeks; a much needed respite in what has been a very bad year for SoCal cyclists.

Sadly, we didn’t make it.

And neither did a young Riverside man.

News is just breaking that a teenage boy was killed in a collision with a Metrolink train in Riverside earlier this evening; KCBS-2 originally identified him as 15 years old, but later removed that from their story.

According to Murrieta Patch, the young man, who has not been publicly identified, was crossing the tracks at Madison Street near Indiana Avenue at 5:58 pm Thursday when he was struck by a train headed from Orange County to San Bernardino.

A satellite photo shows standard drop-bar crossing arms on both sides of the tracks.

No word on which direction he was riding, or how he ended up on the tracks as the train was coming through. However, a division chief for the Riverside Fire Department speculated that there may have been a second train coming in the opposite direction after the first train had passed.

There are few things easier to avoid than a wreck with a train. Unlike cars, they can’t deviate from a set track; all you have to do is stop when the barricades come down, and wait until they go back up before crossing the tracks — regardless of how safe it may seem at the time.

This is the 68th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in Riverside County. That compares with 62 and 11, respectively, this time last year.

He is also the sixth Southern California bicyclist to be killed by a train this year, compared to just two in all of last year, and four in 2011.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his family and friends; this news will be devastating for whatever school he may have attended.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Update: A report from KNBC-4 confirms that the victim was 15-years old, and that witnesses said he waited for one train to pass, then was hit by second train coming from the opposite direction when he attempted to cross the tracks. 

Update 2: According to the Press-Enterprise, the victim was riding south on the sidewalk on the west side of Madison Street when he stopped for the first train. 

A witness who recognized the boy waved at him, and watched the wreck unfold. 

“We saw him riding his bike, and we just waved at him,” said Soto, who was heading to a friend’s home in the Casa Blanca neighborhood. “He stopped right there at the (crossing) light” when an eastbound freight train passed by.

“It passed by and 30 seconds later we’re still just waiting there for it (the crossing gate) to lift up. I see a train coming and oh, it’s another train,” Soto said. “I could see the kid go straight and I guess he didn’t look to his left and he got hit. It was a loud pop. At first … I didn’t believe it.”

The witness, who said he was scarred for life by what he’d seen, went on to say that the victim may have been fooled when the warning gate started to lift before coming back down again. 

“I thought something was wrong with it,” he said, “so I guess he (the boy on the bicycle) saw that with the corner of his eye and went straight. I guess now he’s in heaven.”

Update 3: The San Bernardino Sun identifies the victim as Serafin Gonzalez of Riverside.

Update 4: According to the Press-Enterprise, Gonzalez was just out for a quick ride when he was killed; he was dragged over 170 feet by the force of the impact.

He was described by his teachers as an extremely good young man without a mean bone in his body. 

And in an indication of a serious problem, the paper reports that Gonzalez was the fourth person in Riverside to be struck and killed by a second train after waiting for the first train to pass in the last four years.

Update 5: A vigil was held in Gonzalez’s memory Friday night. In a tragic irony, he lived on Railroad Avenue, paralleling the tracks he died on. 

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