Yet another bike rider won’t be coming home to his family this Christmas.
Earlier this evening, Orange County cyclist Ed Ryder emailed me with news that a bicyclist had lost his life in a Laguna Hills collision — news that has since been confirmed by the Orange County Register.
The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was apparently leaving the Ralphs parking lot on the westside of Paseo de Valencia south of Alicia Parkway when he was struck by a vehicle.
The Register says he collided with the vehicle, which seems unlikely.
Judging from the photo of the bike, it looks more like a side impact; the front wheel isn’t tacoed, while the rear wheel appears to have been separated from the bike.
Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time; most of the Register’s story is hidden behind their paywall.
This is the 85th confirmed bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 12th in Orange County; that compares with 74 and 14, respectively, in 2012.
There is also an unconfirmed report that a rider doored in LA’s Brentwood neighborhood earlier this month has died.
Update: Every bicycling death is tragic, but this one seems even more so. And not just because it happened on Christmas Eve.
According to Whiting, Tomaino was a minimum 100-mile a week rider, even at an age when most riders have permanently parked their bikes — despite being hit by cars and other cyclists, and crashing so many time he’d lost track of the number of times he’s been hospitalized.
Tomaino’s wife, 15 years his junior, would just as soon see her husband end his cycling career. But the exceptionally fit and lanky Tomaino will have none of that. Of those who say he’s too old to ride a bicycle,Tomaino says, “What do they know? They’re not athletes.”
With a dismissive wave of his hand, he looks me and declares, “Guys like us, we don’t stop. Heck, I’d rather be dead if I can’t cycle.”
Sadly, he got his wish yesterday.
Thanks to Ed Ryder and an anonymous OC source for the head’s up.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Peter Tomaino and his loved ones.
Update: According to KCBS-2, the collision occurred around 1:45 pm Tuesday; he was declared dead at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo at 1:58 pm.
The station reports the driver was not suspected of drug or alcohol use.
Meanwhile, both Ryder and OC cyclist and attorney David Huntsman point us to this letter Tomaino wrote to Cycling News over a decade ago.
I read Gordon Dillow’s article on drivers that are in a hurry and run through red lights. Believe me I can appreciate what he is talking about. I’m a 70 year old cyclist who is out there every other day riding 50 to 60 miles. I had one serious accident because of a driver running a red light. A lot of drivers have no consideration and don’t realise how vulnerable we cyclists are. So please drivers look out for us cyclists and let us enjoy our rides without the fear of being hit.
Laguna Hills ,USA
Saturday, November 3 2001
Update 2: David Whiting of the Orange County Register movingly remembers his fallen friend.
Correction: My apologies to OC Register’s David Whiting, who I misidentified as Dan in my rush to get this story online — then repeated my error in the comments.