Update: Man killed riding bike near Santa Clarita in Canyon Country; victim ID’d as popular Rapha ride leader

Please make it stop.

The deadliest year in memory got even worse, when someone was killed riding their bike in Canyon Country this afternoon.

According to KTLA-5, the victim was struck by a driver around 12:45 pm on the 21500 block of Sand Canyon Road near Santa Clarita.

They were pronounced dead roughly 45 minutes later, apparently the result of head trauma.

There’s no word on the identity of the victim, or what may have caused the crash. There’s also no information on the driver, raising the possibility they may have fled the scene.

Hopefully we’ll learn more soon.

This is at least the 33rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 12th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: This story is still developing. I received the following email from Hamid Valai with additional information contradicting much of. the earlier reports.

Hi Ted, thank you so much for reporting on our deadly streets.  I rolled on the accident scene in Santa Clara today minutes after it had happened.

First, the news is wrong.  This did not happen in Sand Canyon.  It happened on the Santa Clara Truck Trail, about a mile south of Fire Department Camp 9 (who first responded to the scene).  Here is a Google maps link of the accident site.

I had just met this group minutes before the accident and talked to the victim while we were filling up our bottles at the Fire Department mentioned above.  I didn’t get his name, but he was a really nice guy who told me about all the trails in the area (I was visiting this area and not really familiar with it).  They descended The Santa Clara Truck Trail a couple of minutes before me.  I was devastated to roll on to the accident scene.

Also, the driver did not flee the scene.  He was on the phone with 911 on speaker phone, while they gave CPR instructions to the cyclist’s friend.  He was probably in his late 20’s or early 30’s driving  a BMW convertible.  The front windshield was destroyed along with other front-end damage from the impact.

I did not see the accident.  I have no idea who was at fault.  All I know is that it happened around a tight bend in the road, where you have no idea who’s coming around the corner.

You can see my Strava post with some pictures and my description.

This was absolutely devastating.  A wonderful day or riding turned tragic.  I just attended the Andrew Jemel memorial ride last week in Griffith Park.  As an avid cyclist, this is very disturbing.  Thanks for all the help in reporting on cycling fatalities.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 37-year old Los Angeles resident John Hermoso

Update 3: Phil Gaimon added this to what we know. 

Update 4: Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for the CHP to blame the victim

According to a CHP spokesperson, Hermoso was riding on the wrong side of the road as he rounded a blind curve, and slammed into the driver’s BMW, which was traveling at a sedate 15 mph. 

Yes, 15 miles per hour. Which seems pretty damn unlikely. 

It also doesn’t make sense that an experienced ride leader would take a blind curve on the wrong side of the road. Or that a collision with a vehicle traveling at 15 mph would result in fatal injuries, especially for a helmeted rider, unless he was traveling downhill at an extreme rate of speed. 

What makes far more sense is that both Hermoso and the driver were hugging the centerline, and traveling at far more than 15 mph. And that the CHP investigated with their usual windshield bias. 

But we’ll never know what really happened until we hear from the other people on the ride. 

And shamefully, Rapha Los Angeles has still had nothing to say about the tragedy

My deepest sympathy and prayers for John Hermoso and al his loved ones.

Thanks to Hamid Valai and Michael Kim for the heads-up.

16 comments

  1. La rider says:

    Saw from a friend’s post on Strava that was there shortly after the collision occurred. Driver hit the cyclist head on. Driver did stay on the scene and he was riding with a group of cyclists. Paramedics arrived but they were not able to save him.

    • Erik D. says:

      Sucks to lose our dear friend Panduh. He was a great man.

      • Luis says:

        I’m heart broken that I won’t be able hug him anymore or get coffee or lunch ….I can’t imagine how his mom feels …. Truly a great person

  2. Jodi Jacobons says:

    This is just awful.

  3. TJ Knight says:

    Prayers for Panda’s friends and family. Everyone who knew him loved him.

  4. Zenaida Dela cruz says:

    This is just so heartbreaking especially to her mom which is a dear friend of mine , please join me to send her our Very Deepest Sympathy and May He Rest In Peace

  5. TP says:

    RIP Panda.

  6. Mariesha says:

    RIP PAN DUH,
    Our hearts are heavy today. A truly sad day.

  7. Rusty says:

    John (Panduh) was probably the nicest guy on two wheels! Godspeed!

  8. I did not attend AIDS/LifeCycle’s Day on the Ride two weeks ago. So, I did not learn that Andy Jelmert was killed in Griffith Park until the following day. He was such a sweet man. I was twenty miles from home and still had to pedal my bike home.

    Today, my Facebook feed filled up with tributes to Pan Duh. And now reading on BikingInLA that he was killed way up by Camp 9 surrounded by his friends makes it so much more emotional for me. I’ve ridden my bike to Camp 9 many times. There are hardly any vehicles on Santa Clara Truck Trail.

    I had a tough time riding my bike home after I learned that Andy was killed. But it is hard for me to imagine the emotions that Pan Duh’s friends felt as they had to ride down to Bear Divide, then go up that steep climb to Dillon Divide, and descend the rest of the way down Little Tujunga Canyon without him. I’m not sure that I would have been able to do that.

    I never met Pan Duh, but I knew of him and that he was a cycling mentor to a number of my friends in Adobo Velo and the Rapha Cycling Club. I am very sad about this.

  9. Abner Hornedo says:

    Truly an ambassador of the sport of cycling as exemplified by the number of cyclists whose lives he touched in one way or another. You surely will be missed John Panda.

  10. Bruce Bellamy says:

    We will end our Saturday (5/7) rides at the flat top (helipad) in Griffith Park to toast to Panda at Sunset (6:30 arrive – Sunset 7:43)

    • bikinginla says:

      If you can give me more information, such as the starting point and who the group is, I’ll be happy to mention this ride later this week.

  11. Julianna Bach says:

    Does anyone know how we can get a ghost bike up for our friend Panda? Griffith Park could be a nice place for a permanent memorial.

    • Matthias says:

      We could find something on Craigslist maybe, I used to transport bikes on my backpack… not sure if I still have the legs to carry two bikes up there though
      Maybe when nobody is looking and taking a break or two.

      But do we have an “official” ride now?

  12. Djang says:

    RIP panda .i nkow your ride in parekoy your taller cyclist rider 6’5 or 6’6 i talk to you about basketball but your answer you dont no how play basketball.you ask me you try to play ..anyway you till me must better cyling this is my passion…i nkow your happy now..where ever you are

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: