Dear God, not again.
Southern California’s unbelievable — and prior to last month, unimaginable — plague of cycling fatalities continues, as yet another rider succumbs after being struck by a vehicle.
And once again, in Riverside County.
According to KCBS-2, 44-year old La Quinta resident Mark Ledbetter was hit by some sort of vehicle, described only as a gold Dodge, on the 79900 block of Country Club Drive in Bermuda Dunes. The collision occurred just after 7 am Saturday; he was pronounced dead at the scene.
A second cyclist was also hit and slightly injured, but did not require hospitalization.
No other information is available this time.
This is the 44th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Riverside County. It’s also the second Riverside cycling death in the last four days, and the third in just three weeks.
And it’s the 15th SoCal in just the last five weeks — an utterly unacceptable average of three deaths every week.
And it’s got to stop.
My sympathy and prayers for Mark Ledbetter and all his family and loved ones.
Update: MyDesert.com offers more details on how the collision occurred.
According to the website, Ledbetter was riding westbound alongside 29-year old Chad Priest on Country Club Drive; Priest was on the shoulder and Ledbetter was riding in the traffic lane, with the shoulder dividing line between them.
A 2009 Dodge Caliber driven by 32-year old Coachella Anthony Peraza struck them from behind, hitting Ledbetter full on while striking Priest with his passenger side mirror. CHP investigators don’t know how fast Peraza was driving, or why he failed to avoid the two riders.
Ledbetter was declared dead at the scene around 7:30 am, while Priest received moderate cuts and bruises on his left side.
The investigation is ongoing; no word on whether Peraza will face charges. But for once, it doesn’t sound authorities are jumping to blame the victims.