Rider killed in collision with SUV in Camarillo Saturday (Updated)

Last night, I saw a brief notice from the Ventura Star that a cyclist had been injured in a collision in Camarillo on Saturday afternoon.

This morning, the worst fears were confirmed when the story changed to report that the rider had died at a local medical center.

No details are available at this time, other than the collision with an SUV occurred around 1:15 pm at the intersection of Pleasant Valley Road and Freedom Park Drive.

This is the third cycling death reported so far this year in Ventura County, and the 31st in Southern California.

Thanks to DC for the tip.


Update: the cyclist has been identified as 76-year old John H. Dillingham Jr. of Camarillo.

According to the Star, Dillingham was attempting to turn onto Freedom Park Drive from Pleasant Valley Road when when he was hit by a car driven by 63-year old Eva Labrador of Oxnard. Yet the paper also says he “accidently” veered into the eastbound lane in front of Labrador’s SUV; she was reportedly driving at 55 mph and unable to avoid him.

Unfortunately, the story does not explain which direction Dillingham was riding, or what the speed limit is on that stretch of roadway. Reading between the lines, it sounds as if he was riding east on the shoulder of the road, and moved into the traffic lane to make his turn; however, that is pure supposition based on the minimal description and the satellite photo of the scene.

It is important to remember is that, unless the police have other witnesses, the only description of how the collision unfolded could be coming from the driver.

Unfortunately, Dillingham isn’t around to defend his actions or explain his version of events. 

My condolences to his family and friends.

Update: TQ reports that Dillingham was riding with a friend, so hopefully the investigators are getting both sides of the story. And Will Campbell does what I didn’t, checking Google’s street view to discover a speed limit sign indicating the limit near the park is 50 mph.


  1. TQ says:

    There was at least one other witness. Mr Dillinger was riding with his friend, another experienced cyclist, who was able to provide an account to the police.

  2. Upon initial view of the Google map I was expecting since the collision occurred adjacent to a public park that the speed limit might be 10-20 mph less than the driver’s reported speed, but a Google Streetview perspective (see link below) of that stretch of Pleasant Valley Road passing the recreation area shows the posted speed limit to be 50 mph.


    • bikinginla says:

      I thought about looking at the street view, but didn’t after scanning the satellite view for road signs and not seeing one that looked like a speed limit. Thanks for taking it a step further and getting the information I didn’t.

  3. DanaPointer says:

    Once again this points at the dangerous 85% laws, where the speeders in CA get the speed limits raised on streets that are too wide for residential areas.

    All we can hope that each additional fatality bolsters the case for changing both CA road design guidelines as well as gets the speed limits lowered.

  4. kreastman says:

    Just a quick reply. I am a longtime friend of Mr. Dillingham. I’ve spoken to his son, who has spoken to the police and to the friend who was riding with him at the time of the accident. The driver was not at fault. Mr. Dillingham and his friend were riding east on Pleasant Valley Road and preparing to turn onto Freedom Park Road where they had left their cars to begin their ride (to Channel Islands Harbor). Mr. Dillingham apparently did not hear the SUV approaching from behind him, and turned left directly into its path. The driver had basically no time to react.

    I also live in Camarillo, and the road in question is straight, fairly wide and very rural, with the Camarillo Airport on one side and agricultural fields on the other. 50 mph is a reasonable speed limit for the section in question.

  5. The Trickster says:

    Kreastman – I guess the cynicism with the investigation goes back to the class “SWSS” or Single Witness Suicide Swerve which often regardless of evidence to the contrary the cyclist seems to get blamed.

    Ted – just a FYI, although not really a pleasant one. They had another two pretty big quakes in Christchurch yesterday, a 5.5 and a 6.3, which if the CBD wasn’t still sealed off would have been life threatening as there were more building collapses – all still related to that 7.2 we had back in September. Unfortunately this is what you guys have got to look forward to when LA finally gets its proper “big one”. They’re up to something like 7,000 aftershocks now with the occasional 4.5+ turning up to create havoc. I wonder what its like in Japan at the moment as they’d be having the same problem in Sendai.

    I’m still a little unsure whether I’ll go race down there in October if they’re still getting them – being up in the Port Hills if another 5+ goes off wouldn’t be a pleasant experience.

  6. Pink Bike says:

    Kreastman, thank you for the additional information about John’s accident. We also know John and Joan quite well, and are absolutely heartbroken over this. John had thousandsof miles under his wheels. He was known to be an extra cautious cyclist. It’s just tragic no matter how you look at it, but there is comfort in knowing that it wasn’t carelessness on anyone’s part.

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