This is exactly what I was afraid of.
Maybe it was the distraction of Valentines Day. But there was an unusually high number of bicycling collisions reported over the weekend, continuing through this morning. And sooner or later, it’s almost inevitable that one or more of those collisions will turn out to be life-threatening.
That’s exactly what happened today, as a 28-year old cyclist died as a result of a Tuesday morning collision in Irvine.
According to the Orange County Register, Christian Rhineer of Irvine was hit by a Volvo Sedan at the intersection of Von Karman Avenue and Michelson Drive just before 8 am. He was taken to Western Medical Center with severe injuries, where he died at 6:30 pm.
The 26-year old driver remained at the scene. It was unclear who had the right of way; no one was arrested or cited at the scene.
And yes, the Register notes that the victim was not believed to be wearing a helmet; whether it would have done any good under the circumstances is not clear. Hopefully, we’ll get more details later.
This is the sixth traffic-related cycling fatality so far this year, and the second in Orange County; a third Orange County cyclist died of natural causes after a fall while mountain biking.
My sympathy and prayers for Rhineer and his family and loved ones.
Update: An anonymous source confirms that Rhineer was wearing a helmet at the time of the collision. And thanks to Vinh Nguyen for the heads-up on the Register story.
Update: Comments to the original article in the OC Register from a man who claims to be a witness indicate that Rhineer ran the red light. In addition, he was reportedly wearing headphones, which is against the law in California; a single headphone in one ear is allowed, but not in both while riding.
People who knew Rhineer describe him as a great guy and former Mormon missionary who recently moved to Irvine from Salt Lake City along with his wife.
Bear in mind, though, that witness reports can be wrong, and comments on internet news stories aren’t always true. When I was injured in a road rage collision, a supposed witness lied to the police to make it look like I was at fault — even though the way he described the events was physically impossible.
There’s no reason to suspect that the witness in this case isn’t telling the truth, but take all unconfirmed reports with a grain of salt.
Thanks to ValleyBall1 for the tip.
On a related note, the driver who ran down a 13-year old girl in Santa Ana earlier this month, leaving her bleeding in the street as he fled the scene, has finally turned himself into the police.
According to KABC-7, the family of Arif Abdul Sattar convinced him to turn himself in after seeing news reports, along with his admission that he may have been in a collision.
Don’t expect me to get all teary eyed because he did the right thing. The right thing would have been to stop at the scene and try to help the little girl he nearly killed, rather than run away like a coward before surrendering to the police over a week later — after retaining an attorney, of course.
Fortunately, his victim, Teresa Pham, is recovering and has been released from the hospital. Let’s hope she continues to improve.
And that the man who put her there gets the justice he so richly deserves.