Drivers are expected to see what’s in the road directly in front of them.
Except too often, they don’t.
That was the case in tiny Bonsall yesterday, just west of Camp Pendleton, where a man from Colorado was killed when he was rear-ended by a 19-year old motorist.
The victim, publicly identified only as a 63-year old man, was riding westbound on State Route 76 near Thoroughbred Lane when the driver slammed into him from behind around 9:50 am Wednesday.
He was thrown from his bike, and died at the scene before paramedics could arrive.
The San Diego Union Tribune describes him as riding a Cannondale road bike, “in full biking gear and wearing a helmet.” Which clearly wasn’t much benefit in the crash, with a likely impact speed at or above the posted 55 mph speed limit.
The driver continued a short distance to a nearby strip mall, where he pulled over to call 911 and wait for the CHP to arrive, telling them he never saw the man he killed until after the impact.
A CHP spokesperson says he was not under the influence.
No mention is made of whether he was driving distracted, however, or if there was some other reason why he couldn’t see a grown man on a bicycle right in front of his car.
Investigators are unsure where the victim was riding prior to the crash, although it’s likely he was riding in the painted bike lane on the right shoulder. Which raises the question of whether he left the lane for some reason, or if the driver somehow drifted into it.
No word on whether the victim was visiting from Colorado, or living in the area.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the CHP’s Vista office at 760/643-3400.
This is at least the 71st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, but just the fourth that I’m aware of in San Diego County.
Update: The victim’s hometown newspaper has identified him as 63-year old William Tyson, an experienced bike rider who lived part-time in the San Diego area.
According to the paper, police suspect Tyson swerved into the traffic lane in order to make a left turn at the upcoming intersection, and that the driver was unlikely to be charged as a result.
However, that doesn’t explain why an experienced bicyclist would swerve into the traffic lane without apparently looking on a highway with a 55 mph speed limit. Or why the driver failed to see him until the moment of impact, when he should have at least been aware of someone riding in the bike lane in front of him.
There are still far too many questions out there to accept such a simplistic answer. Especially coming from the CHP.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for William Tyson and his loved ones.
We offer up our prayers for the family and friends of the victim.
Pull the drivers cellphone activity just prior to the accident.
Will we ever get more of the facts from this horrific accident? I am finding all these”accidents” hard to believe. I have been hit twice while road biking. The story from the drivers are always the same, I saw the cyclist but thought I could beat him or I didn’t think he was going that fast.
Clark! Does this mean you actually saw Bill the day he was killed? I am his former wife and with our kids we’re still working really hard to establish the facts of his death. Our attorney is seeking contact info for anyone who knows anything about the accident, the route, or the “Wednesday Ride” we believe Bill was hoping to join. If you know ANYTHING and are willing to talk with our representative we would be forever grateful. We don’t live out there, so it’s hard for us to gather contacts. We now have two other witnesses and the sad story isn’t getting any easier to digest. I’ll watch for any replies here. THanks, anyone reading this still. Susan
I drive this road daily- there are constantly drivers erratically changing lanes and speeding – the 76 has multiple intersections and nearly always I end up at the same lights with these drivers – it’s not work risking a life – yours or someone else’s to get a few car lengths ahead – crashes and death are all too frequent on this hwy – condolences to this unfortunate victims family and friends
Why do articles always say the person was wearing a helmet? It is not relevant to the accident. Does it make it better that they were? The driver was distracted and killed someone!
Does anyone at all have any idea what ride this was on? I have the contact info for the family who is trying to hunt down where he parked. Any iformation would be greatly appreciated!
Hi Max, I’m part of Bill’s family, and we just got the CSP’s official report, which raised more questions than it answered. We have hired legal help in order to find out more, and now we’re back to gathering facts about the ride Bill was aiming to join that awful morning in December. Did you ever get any responses? We’re trying to find anyone who might know what the “Wednesday Ride” out there was. Any contact info would be super helpful. Thanks for any clues and your support.
I am a member of the rider’s family. We just returned his car and his RV to Durango. Bill was a lifelong, dedicated bicyclist, a member since its founding of the Durango Wheel Club. His carbon fiber Cannondale road bike was utterly destroyed, and his body couldn’t be made presentable for his family to view before cremation. We are heartbroken and we are investigating. The whole community here is heartbroken. He regularly spent December in SD so he could ride. I would love to know if anyone can guide us with info about perhaps putting a ghost bike where he was killed. I’ve heard that it’s a very dangerous road. Something should be done. Cars and bikes can’t coexist without discerning lane design and traffic regulation. We would like to thank all those who helped us find Bill’s car and RV in a strange city.
Susan, I am so sorry for your families loss.