Santa Margarita BMX rider dies two weeks after he was struck by a car

It may be a new year, but last year’s bad news isn’t done with us yet.

According to the Orange County Register, 25-year old Chandler Espinoza died on New Year’s Day, 17 days after he was hit by a driver while riding his bike.

The Trabuco Canyon man had spent the last two weeks in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo before succumbing to his injuries.

There’s no word on exactly where the crash occurred, or why the driver wasn’t able to see Espinoza or stop for his bike while he rode in the crosswalk.

He was riding his BMX bike to work in Rancho Santa Margarita on December 15th when he was struck by the driver’s car shortly after entering a crosswalk just before 3:45 pm.

However, a Caring Bridge post apparently written by Espinoza’s mother says “There appears to have been no reckless behavior on behalf of the driver, who stayed at the scene.” She goes on to describe it as “just a tragic accident.”

His mother describes him as an adventurous risk taker since early childhood.

Photo from Chandler Espinoza Caring Bridge Page

Chandler engages life with his body, mind, and spirit. He is loyal, funny, a great dancer, athletic, a deep thinker, adventurous, protective, generous, and never meets a stranger. 

I knew he had a lot of friends, but I never understood the impact Chandler had on those friends and what he meant to them until this week. Chandler makes everyone feel special. I have a whole new perspective on my son now. 

This is at least the 51st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Chandler Espinoza and all his loved ones and friends.


  1. JJD says:

    Our prayers go up for the family and friends of young Mr. Chandler Espinoza.

  2. Petrice Kam says:

    May his spirit ride on. He kept one less car off the street, commuted to work and lived actively and as he chose.

    Another life taken too soon for us. I share his family’s grief.

  3. Bill Sellin says:

    Photos of Ghost Bike installation suggests location was Antonio Pkwy & Via Honesto
    Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
    33.641578, -117.586215
    Antonio Parkway is 6 lane highway encouraging high speeds despite a Class II bike lane on it.
    It is right through residential areas and a church, and posted 45 MPH but no one drives at that speed or less…not that a collision at 45 is very survivable for a person.
    Education and Enforcement needs to make roads safer for all road users; pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
    Also – If included in 2108 I count him as #9…