A San Pedro man rode his new e-bike to work for just the second time yesterday.
And the last.
According to the Long Beach Post, 35-year old Ben Rael — described by his brother as having “the biggest damn heart you can imagine” — had saved up for six months to buy the bike he lost his life riding.
The Press-Telegram reports Rael was riding west on the south sidewalk on 7th Street approaching Martin Luther King Jr. Ave around 6:35 am Thursday. Witnesses say he rode off the sidewalk and into the street against traffic, and was immediately struck by the driver of a large pickup.
Rael was apparently thrown into the back of the truck, where the driver performed CPR until paramedics arrived; he died after being taken to a nearby hospital.
Police said alcohol was not a factor.
However, damage to the truck, and Rael’s shattered bicycle, suggest that speed may have been. It’s possible that the driver may have been speeding, or that Rael may have been traveling at a high speed when they hit head on.
Either could explain why he apparently rode out directly into the path of an oncoming truck, which is the lingering question in explaining what happened.
This is at least the 28th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th in Los Angeles County.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ben Rael and all his family and loved ones.