They say bad things come in three.
That seems to be the case this holiday weekend, with fatal and near fatal collisions here in Southern California, and a cycling legend clinging to life in Colorado.
According to the San Bernardino Sun, 27-year old San Bernardino resident Russell Alvin Burrows was riding south on the 18700 block of Cajon Boulevard around 8:10 pm Saturday when he was apparently hit from behind by a 2007 Toyota Corolla traveling in the same direction. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the Toyota has not been publicly identified.
A satellite view shows a four lane roadway, dropping to two lanes, with little or no shoulder, suggesting Burrows was most likely riding in the traffic lane.
Depending on exactly where the collision occurred, it’s also possible that he was right-hooked, as there are a number of driveways and a freeway on- and off-ramp in the area.
No other details are available at this time, and no word on whether he was using lights or reflectors, as it would have been nearing full dark at the time of impact.
This is the 63rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in San Bernardino County. That compares to 10 bike-related deaths in the county in all of 2012, and six in 2011.
A 20-year old bike rider suffered life-threatening injuries in another struck-from-behind collision early Sunday morning, this time in San Diego.
The victim was riding south in a traffic lane on the 2500 block of Ingraham Street on Vacation Island in San Diego’s Mission Bay Park at 3:30 am when she was hit by a sedan. The driver reportedly swerved into the left lane when he saw her, but wasn’t able to avoid hitting her bike.
She was transported to a hospital with what a police spokesperson described as “major, life-threatening injuries.”
A street view shows the two lane roadway increasing to three lanes with no shoulders. The right lane appears to be of substandard width, suggesting that she was legally within her rights to take the lane — as well as following the advice of most bike safety advocates to avoid riding near the curb if the lane is too narrow for a bike and car to safely share.
Again, no word on whether she was using lights or reflectors as required by law.
However, police and the press are usually quick to say if a victim didn’t have lights after dark.
Word broke Saturday night that an American cycling legend had suffered life-threatening injuries in a fall caused by an out-of-control driver in Boulder, Colorado’s Lefthand Canyon.
In the 1970s and early ’80s, Dale Stetina and his brother Wayne dominated American bike racing, with Wayne winning the Red Zinger/Coors Classic — then the country’s leading bike race — in 1977, and Dale winning in ’79 and ’83.
The two riders were both inducted into the US Bicycling Hall of Fame for their dominance of the sport in this country, and their role in paving the way for the first generation of American international riders that followed — riders with better known names like Andy Hampsten, Davis Phinney, Olympic gold medalist Alexi Grewal and the country’s only current Tour de France winner, Greg Lemond.
It was also long rumored that the two brothers were the inspiration for the cycling cult classic American Flyers.
So it was devastating news that 57-year old Dale Stetina was critically injured when a driver pulled onto the shoulder on the wrong side of the popular riding route, then swerved back to the other side just as a group of riders came around bend in the road.
All of the cyclists were able to avoid colliding with the car; however, Stetina reportedly went over his handlebars, landing face first on the pavement.
Despite wearing a helmet, he suffered major face and eye injuries, as well as loss of responsiveness; a CAT Scan revealed additional injuries to his brain stem. According to the Boulder Daily Camera, he remains in a medically induced coma in critical condition.
He is also the father of rising Garmin-Sharp rider Peter Stetina.
And he’s long been a personal hero and inspiration to me, dating back to when I first started riding seriously in the 1980s.
My prayers and deepest sympathy for Russell Alvin Burrows and all his family and loved ones.
And I hope you’ll join me in offering prayers and best wishes for Dale Stetina and the publicly unidentified victim in San Diego; may they both recover quickly and completely.