It’s bad enough when one cyclist is killed.
When two bike riders lose their lives in a midnight collision, without even being on their bikes at the time, I don’t even know what to say.
Except to let the facts speak for themselves.
According to the Whittier Daily News, a man and a woman were killed in a single collision in Norwalk early Saturday morning.
The paper reports they were walking their bikes across Rosecrans Avenue at Fidel Avenue at 12:02 am when they were struck by an eastbound Ford F-150 pickup truck, which then veered to the side, striking at least three parked vehicles.
No identification or other information about the victims are available at this time.
The driver, who was uninjured, remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators, He did not appear to be intoxicated, and was not taken into custody at the scene.
No word on whether the victims were in a crosswalk, marked or not, when they were struck. A satellite view shows a zebra crosswalk on the west side of the intersection, but none on the east.
If they were in the crosswalk, they were doing exactly what most law enforcement agencies recommend by walking in the crosswalk, rather than riding.
The question is why the driver didn’t appear to see two people walking bikes directly in front of him. And how fast he had to be going to take two lives with a single impact.
These are the 22nd and 23rd bike-related fatalities in Southern California this year, and the 9th and 10th in Los Angeles County, compared to just four this time last year.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for both victims and their families.
Update: Now it makes a little more sense, while seeming even more needless and tragic. Chris K, who lives in the area, writes to say that the crosswalk seen in the satellite photo has long been a popular crossing for people in the neighborhood to the south to get to the businesses, church and school on the north side of the street. He notes that there has even been a crossing guard there in the mornings.
Unfortunately, when the street was resurfaced recently, the crosswalk was removed, and the crossing guard was shifted the equivalent of three blocks west to the traffic light at Shoemaker Ave.
Chris notes that despite the removal, people continue to cross at that intersection just as they always have, sometimes stepping out in front of oncoming traffic expecting traffic to stop as if it was a marked crosswalk.
It should be noted that under California law, there is a crosswalk at every intersection, marked or not. The only exception is if there is signage prohibiting crossing, which doesn’t seem to be the case here.
Now two people are dead, apparently because local traffic planners ignored historic pedestrian patterns and removed a marked crosswalk, despite the need for residents to cross the street.
Two more victims to a world where motor vehicles are valued more than people.
Update 2: Chris K adds that the florescent yellow signage pointing to the crosswalk remains in place, even though the crosswalk itself is gone, creating a confusing situation.
Update 3: KABC-7 has identified the victims as 23-year old Giovanni Xavier Chaidez and 20 year-old Rosibel Montoya, no hometown given. According to a live report on the station Sunday night, the driver is not expected to be charged.
Maybe someone can explain that one to me someday. Because unless the victims somehow leapt out into the roadway without warning, the driver should have been able to see them and stop in time.