Sad news from Laguna Hills.
The victim was identified only as a woman in her 60s, pending notification of her family. No other information is available at this time.
A photo from the scene shows a Toyota minivan with its windshield smashed on the right side.
A satellite view shows what appears to be a bike lane on the southbound side of Paseo De Valencia, while the Aliso Creek Bikeway parallels the road on the northbound side, crossing Kennington in the crosswalk. There is a traffic signal at the intersection.
Paseo De Valencia marks the border between Laguna Woods to the west and Laguna Hills on the east. The OC Sheriff’s Department places the collision on the Laguna Hills side, suggesting the victim may have been riding on the bikeway and was struck when she attempted to cross Kennington; however, that is merely speculation at this point.
This is the 23rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Orange County; that compares to 44 in SoCal and nine in the county this time last year.
Update: The Orange County Register reports the 66-year old victim was riding south on the bike path when she rode out into the northbound traffic lane on Paseo De Valencia to avoid other cyclists coming in the opposite direction. As she did, she was hit, apparently head-on, by a minivan driven by a 59-year old man, who remained at the scene.
Bystanders performed CPR until the fire department arrived and took her to Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, where she died less than half an hour later.
She may be known in the local bicycling community, as friends described her as an avid cyclist who rode 30 to 40 miles a day.
Update 2: The Orange County Coroner’s office has identified the victim as 66-year old Michiko Day of Laguna Woods.
Bill Sellin forwards a graphic that clearly shows what happened to cause the collision.
The red arrows represent the route Day took as she exited the bike path to cross Kennington Drive, then swerved into traffic to avoid other riders, indicated by the blue arrows.
So she appears to have been a victim, not just of the car and driver that took her life, but an inadequate bikeway design that forces riders off a protected bike path and out into the street before coming back into the crosswalk.
Update 3: The Orange County Register reports that Michiko Day was just one block from home when she was killed while riding in Laguna Woods last month. Her riding partner confirms what we thought, that poor road and bike path design may have contributed to her death.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Michiko Day and her loved ones.