What the hell is going on in San Diego this year?
News is just breaking that a woman was killed in a collision while riding in La Jolla yesterday afternoon, continuing the county’s unusual rash of bicycling deaths.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, which appears to be the only source reporting on the story so far, the crash occurred in the south lanes of North Torrey Pines Road approaching La Jolla Village Drive around 4:20 pm.
The victim, identified only as a 34-year old woman, was reportedly riding in the right lane of the roadway when she merged into the left lane, and was struck by a 74-year old driver.
She died at the scene.
The driver remained following the crash — which should not need to be said, but sadly, does — and was not suspected of being under the influence.
However, the report raises a few questions, since there is a bike lane on Torrey Pines Road where she would have presumably been riding, unless she had shifted into the right lane in preparation for merging into the left lane.
In which case, why didn’t she see the large oncoming Mercedes to her left — and why didn’t the driver see her?
There is also the question of why she was merging into the left lane, since there is no street to the left on the three-way intersection. It’s possible she was attempting to make a U-turn, or may have been turning onto a pathway that appears to lead to the UCSD campus on the north side of the roadway.
And as always, the question is whether there were any independent witnesses, other than the driver, who actually saw her move in front of the car that killed her. Although there should have been several people around the busy intersection at that hour who may have seen the crash.
The story reports that the collision is still under investigation, so hopefully we’ll learn more soon.
This is at least the 29th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth that I’m aware of in San Diego County already this year, in what is turning out to be an exceptionally bloody year.
Update: The victim has not been publicly identified. However, comments below indicate she was from India with her husband, and the mother of a one-year old child.
Meanwhile, Douglas Alden left the following comment.
I passed by the crash on my bike commute home shortly after it happened. It occurred in the southbound lanes of North Torrey Pines Road just north of the intersection with Revelle College Drive. The police had closed the road in both directions and several cars were pulled over. The body of the woman that was killed was covered by a yellow sheet and was still lying in the street in front of the car. It is possible that the cyclist was crossing lanes to make a left from southbound North Torrey Pines onto Revelle College Drive. There is a protected left turn lane at the intersection. It is hard to speculate without knowing all the facts.
There are a number of other comments below that add insight to this tragedy.
Update 2: The victim has been identified as 34-year old Swati Tyagi, a postdoctorate researcher with the Salk Institute, who was working on the aging process and neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia.
Which raises the tragic question of what scientific breakthroughs in the field could be lost or delayed because of her needless death.
Tyagi leaves behind her husband of six years, a scientist at The Scripps Research Institute, and their 11-month old son, who is just shy of his first birthday.
Meanwhile, her parents and other family members have been unable to enter the US due to Covid restrictions in India, or to get her body sent back to the country of her birth, compounding the tragedy.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Swati Tyagi and all her loved ones.