San Diego-area cyclist killed on Sunday

Yet another Southern California cyclist was killed over the weekend.

According to a number of news reports, a 50-year old Poway woman was killed while riding her bike in Carlsbad on Sunday; authorities are withholding her name until relatives can be notified.

The North County Times reports that she was riding north on South Rancho Sante Fe Road with her boyfriend when she attempted to turn left onto Calle Barcelona near the border of Carlsbad and Encinitas.

As she entered the left turn lane, she hit the curb on the center divider and lost control of her bike; in a struggle to regain control, she swerved back into the left through lane where she was hit by an oncoming car. A photo from MSNBC shows that the driver clearly tried to stop but was unable to avoid her; she died at the scene.

In light of the recent debate over the unacceptably high rate of bike deaths in Orange County — more on that later today — she did not run a red light or stop sign and wasn’t riding in a group, well behaved or otherwise. And whether she signaled or was riding side-by-side had nothing to do with this collision.

Not that any death is acceptable, of course.

This time, at least, it seems to be a case of rider error. Police note that drugs or alcohol don’t seem to involved, though no mention is made of whether the driver was distracted or exceeding the speed limit.

This also serves as a reminder that it’s always important be aware of road conditions and the traffic around you, and can be better to let yourself fall than struggle to stay upright and risk getting hit by oncoming cars.

Even when you’re not in full control of your bike, it’s often possible to choose when and where you want to land by shifting your weight in the direction you want to fall.

For instance, had she let herself fall to the left instead of struggling to stay upright, she would have risked going over the narrow median and landing in the path of south bound traffic; if there were no cars coming, that might have been a viable option. Or she could have made herself fall to the right, which probably would have kept her in the left turn lane and out of the way of through traffic.

Either way, she might have ended up hurt.

But chances are, she’d be alive.

It doesn’t do any good to play armchair quarterback and analyze what she should have done. She reacted in the moment, undoubtedly out of instinct and fear.

The point is to train yourself to respond in a conscious and deliberate manner, and maintain as much control over the situation as possible.

Even when you can’t control your bike.


The Beverly Hills City Council will discuss the reconstruction of Santa Monica Blvd through the city at tonight’s council meeting. This will provide an opportunity for cyclists to argue for bikes of be accommodated in the new plans, and end the current dangerous black hole between the bikeways of West Hollywood and Century City; current plans include consideration of a bike lane in one direction only. The meeting starts at 7:30 pm at Beverly Hills City Hall.


The Source offers instructions on how to load your bike onto a bus; helpful advice for those of us who haven’t tried it yet. UCLA offers a new Android app for campus bike lockers. Mayor Villaraigosa plans a Wednesday press conference to officially announce CicLAvia. If Long Beach is truly going to be one of the nation’s most bike friendly cities, it has to design bridges that work for everyone. An actor who was about to quit the profession stars in the upcoming movie Peloton as a cyclist who was about to quit the sport. Santa Rosa gets a bike-activated beacon to warn motorists about cyclists on the road ahead of them. Just Another Cyclist jumps into the helmet debate with both feet, offering an all-too-rare cool-headed look at both sides of the question. Sharrows are coming soon to my hometown. A Colorado cyclist pepper sprays two attacking dogs and their owner, who ends up getting a ticket. The biggest bike news in DC since Tony Kornheiser’s infamous anti-bike rant, as the nation’s capitol unveils its long-awaited bike share program. A personal crusade to stop the salmon cyclists. A New York cyclist is killed on an environmental tour in New Brunswick. A beginner’s guide to fast descents. Bike pools allow you to connect with other cyclists who want to share a ride. Both British teenage inmates who busted out by bike are now back in custody. A new study shows Brit cyclists and motorists would rather not share the road, thank you. After a Bangalore bar bouncer collided with cyclist while escaping after punching a cop, the bar owner takes the rider to the hospital and promises to buy him a new bike.

Finally, if you think riding in L.A. traffic is hard, at least it beats riding underwater.


  1. Michele says:

    The story about the cyclist being killed at Rancho Santa Fe and Calle Barcelona hit close to home, since that is only blocks from where I have family. The speed limit on Rancho Santa Fe is very fast (50 mph?).

  2. Evan says:

    Let’s give credit where credit is due–Kyle Woodward did the UCLA Bike Locker Android app all on his own. It came out of a conversation on a listserv last week. UCLA does have a nice new mobile-friendly site with shuttle arrival times, though.

  3. Yes, it was Kyle Woodward who put together the app. He did a great job!

  4. reb1 says:

    What do dogs and salmon riders have in common?
    They do not belong in the road with humans. When I lived in Washington state the Tacoma Wheelmen had a dog ride once or twice a year (club the bad doggies in the head ride). Personally I like waiting for the doggies to go after the females then I pick them up by their tail and drag there nose along the pavement. At this point they are usually trained.
    Would some of you be interested in having a salmon ride. I have very little tolerance for this kind of brain dead activity. I have had damaged equipment and my wife has been injured by these fools. I always warn them to get out of my way and if this don’t work I have a one pound can of pepper spray to help them figure it out. I absolutely refuse to move further into the lane instead I help them out by forcing them further into traffic. I am surprised that the female journalist who writes those negative articles about bicyclists has not tried suing the state for the wrongful death of her husband. Instead she slanders all people on bicycles. How quick would the police pull someone over in a car going against traffic. I believe they would end up in a cage for this kind of activity. The reason the police do not pull salmon riders over is the same reason they automatically tag a guilty sign on bicyclists at the seen of an accident. They do not believe we have any rights unless we are driving a motor vehicle.

  5. DC says:

    Green Party Senate candidate (in Maryland) fatally struck by SUV while biking
    Natasha Pettigrew of Cheverly aimed for Senate,0,6892851.story?track=rss

    Driver killed Natasha Pettigrew. Driver thought it was an animal she hit until she discovered she had the remains of a bicycle under her car when she got home. Natasha was an avid runner, swimmer and cyclist, and she had long complained about the lack of designated bike lanes. RIP.

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