It’s already been a bad weekend for SoCal bike riders.
Starting with a fatal collision in Escondido Friday night.
According to the Union-Tribune, a 33-year old man, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was struck by the driver of a Nissan Altima just after 7 pm at the intersection of West Ninth Avenue and South Spruce Street.
The paper reports that paramedics responding to the crash arrived to find the victim unconscious and bleeding from head injuries; he was taken to Palomar Medical Center, where he died.
Unfortunately, there’s no word on how the collision occurred. However, visibility may have been an issue since the crash occurred sometime around sundown.
A street view shows a bike lane with a brief separation on Ninth, beginning west of Spruce, on a three lane street with a 35 mph speed limit; the intersection is controlled only by a stop sign on Spruce. The street has two lanes in each direction with sharrows east of Spruce.
The driver, who also hasn’t been identified, was taken to a hospital with undisclosed medical issues after initially remaining at the scene.
This is at least the 14th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third that I’m aware of in San Diego County.
Although someone should tell the U-T that the car did not hit the victim by itself; the story doesn’t even mention the driver until the final paragraph.
Update: The victim has been identified as 33-year old Escondido resident Diego Mateo.
Mateo was riding west on Ninth when he was rear-ended by a driver following in the same direction, after allegedly swerving in front of the car.
However, it’s important to remember that, unless there were independent witnesses, we only have the driver’s word on how the crash occurred, since the victim isn’t around to share their side of the story.
A motorist can easily drift right, then assume the bike rider who suddenly appeared in front of them somehow darted into their path.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Diego Mateo and his loved ones.