Sometimes it’s just bad news on top of bad news.
And this one is going to hit a lot of people very hard.
I’ve just gotten confirmation that there was, in fact, a second bicyclist killed in the Highland/Mentone area over the weekend.
The CHP reports that a bike rider was killed by the driver of a Chevy SUV on SR-38 and Garnet Street in Mentone around 9:35 am Saturday.
He died at the scene.
I’m told the victim was well-known cycling coach Bruce Elliott of Big Wheel Coaching and Don’s Race Team, though that has not been officially confirmed.
Elliott was reportedly on a group training ride at the time of the crash; no other details are available at this time.
His death came just 13 hours after, and less then a dozen miles from where a 68-year old man was killed crossing a street in Highland on his bike Friday night.
He was also the third person killed riding a bike in Southern California in less than 24 hours, following another fatal crash in Hawthorne on Saturday.
This is at least the 30th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh that I’m aware of in San Bernardino County.
This has got to stop.
Update: Commenter GregW reports that he saw the crash on Saturday.
I was a first hand witness to the fatal crash in Mentone on Saturday. An SUV struck the cyclist head-on after entering into their oncoming left turn lane. I was with the cyclist until emergency services arrived. If anyone has more information regarding the man’s identity I’d like to get in contact with his family to give my condolences.
Update 2: The San Bernardino County Coroner confirmed the victim was 55-year old Redlands resident William Bruce Elliott, who was pronounced dead at 10:21 am at Loma Linda University Medical Center, despite the coroner being called to the scene.
They place the location of the crash at Mills Creek Road and Highway 38, instead of at Garnet Street; however, that appears to be the same roadway.
I am told the group was setting up for a left turn from Hwy 38 onto Garnet Road, which is a downhill.
There is no traffic light, though there is a dedicated left turn lane. Traffic goes fast through there and often the oncoming traffic will cross over the lane lines as there is a slight S turn bend. It was a head on collision that threw Bruce into other riders, who then attempted CPR.
Update 3: A memorial service will be held at 2 pm this Sunday, August 6, at The University of Redlands Memorial Chapel. All friends and family wanting to honor Bruce Elliott and support his family are welcome.
Elliott’s family has requested that contributions be made to a crowdfunding campaign in lieu of flowers. The funds will be split between the nonprofit Bikes for Kids Foundation and the Grand Teton National Park; at this writing, it has raised over $9,000 of the modest $12,500 goal.
Update 4: The Redding Record Gazette confirms Elliott was the “captain of Don’s Bikes Race Team and part of Big Wheel Coaching, a group that mentored area riders,” and was well-loved in the local community.
“Bruce was an extraordinary guy,” said Scott Welsh, the Redlands Bicycle Classic media director. “He was very positive and energetic and had a good outlook on life. The cycling community can be an interesting cast of characters, but he was a bright, positive light and a natural leader.”
In addition to his love of bicycling, Elliott was a revered physical education teacher at Bella Vista Elementary School in Desert Hot Springs.
Bruce Elliott was also remembered in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, where he served as the head of the Hopkinton Public Schools Health and Wellness Department for six years, from 2012 to 2017.
According to the Hopkinton Independent,
“He was a wonderful guy, such a hard worker, so positive,” (Hopkinton High School principal Evan Bishop) recalled. “He always had a smile on his face, always willing to roll up his sleeves and do whatever he was asked to do. He understood the stress that a lot of students were feeling and was just a really dependable, kind, caring, supportive colleague and leader of his department.”
Jeanne Reimonn was a Hopkinton neighbor and friend and remained in contact with the Elliott family after they moved. Bruce and Cindy Elliott have two grown children: a son, Wyatt (who graduated from HHS), and a daughter, Ainsley…
Reimonn noted the dangers of cyclists sharing the road with motor vehicles and said Hopkinton’s new downtown bike lanes are the type of thing that should be promoted.
“Bicycling infrastructure is something that we need more of,” she said. “It would help prevent some of these accidents.”
My deepest sympathy and prayers for William Bruce Elliott and all his family and loved ones.
Thanks to Jeffrey Rusk for the heads-up.