Archive for Bicycle Safety

Update: 78-year old man dies two days after Huntington Beach crash

The Orange County Register is reporting that a man has died following a crash in Huntington Beach.

According to the paper, 78-year old Huntington Beach resident Charles Kam was riding on an unidentified street in the city when his bike was struck by a vehicle at 8:42 am Sunday.

Kam was taken to a local hospital, where he died Tuesday night.

No other information is available at this time.

There’s no word on how or where the crash occurred, or on the identity of the driver. Or if the vehicle that struck Kam even had one, for that matter.

Hopefully the Huntington Beach police will release more information soon. Because frankly, anyone who’s still riding at 78 deserves more than just four sentences in the local paper.

This is at least the 49th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh that I’m aware of in Orange County.

Update: The Daily Pilot places the location of the crash at the intersection of Edwards Street and Varsity Drive.

Kam was riding east on Varsity Drive when he was struck by a 28-year old woman in a Jeep Cherokee; she remained at the scene. 

Anyone with information is urged to call Investigator Tai Huynh at 714/536-5666 or Officer Robert Frahm at 714/536-5663.

Correction: The Register had originally spelled the victim’s name as Cam, rather than Kam. I have changed this story to correct the spelling.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Charles Kam and his loved ones. 

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

 

 

Bike rider killed in Victorville crash; few details available

Yet another bike rider has been killed on the unforgiving streets of Southern California.

The Victor Valley News reports that a man in his early 20s was riding north on 1st Ave between Sholic and Winona Streets in Victorville, when he was struck by the driver of an SUV around 7:08 pm Tuesday.

Despite the efforts of a nurse and other bystanders, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A pair of boxing gloves were found by his side.

Police didn’t hesitate to blame the victim, who has not been publicly identified, for dressing in black, and said he “did not appear to have the proper safety equipment for riding at night.”

That would appear to be a reference to not having lights and/or reflectors on his bike, though that is not clear.

The driver remained at the scene, and did not appear to be under the influence. There’s no word on how the crash occurred, or what direction he was driving.

A street view shows a two lane road with dirt shoulders, and no visible street lights.

This is at least the 48th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth that I’m aware of in San Bernardino County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones. 

Breaking News: Bike rider killed on Florence Ave in South LA

The LAPD has just released word that a woman was killed in a collision while riding her bike in LA’s Florence neighborhood.

According to the notice below, the victim was somehow struck by the driver of a truck on Florence Ave just east of the 110 Freeway at 8:26 pm.

She became trapped under the wheels, and died at the scene.

; INC#1465; 8:26PM; 360 W Florence Av; ; ; PRELIM: One adult female bicyclist apparently struck by and found trapped beneath truck, determined dead at scene once freed by firefighters; Male vehicle driver not injured; LAPD South Traffic Incident #4811.

A street view shows three lanes and a left turn lane in each direction.

No other information is available at this time.

Crashes like this usually involve a vehicle somehow turning across the path of the rider, but we’ll have to wait for more information to understand how this could have happened.

This is at least the 46th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 24th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and her loved ones. 

 

Update: Bike rider dies four days after he was rear-ended in Long Beach crash

People on bikes are taught to take the lane to improve their visibility and safety.

Sometimes that’s not enough.

And sometimes, all the doctors and nurses in world aren’t enough to undo the damage that can result.

According to a release from the Long Beach Police Department, 39-year old Crestline resident Bryan Lembke died Sunday, four days after he was struck by a driver.

Lembke was riding in the center of the right lane on westbound Spring Street through El Dorado Park around 4:40 am last Thursday, when he was run down from behind by a driver as he approached the San Gabriel River.

In other words, he was exactly where he was supposed to be. And was rear-ended anyway.

He suffered major injuries to his head and body, and was taken to a local hospital where he died.

The driver is identified only as a 53-year old man from Cypress. He remained at the scene, and was released pending further investigation.

No word on whether Lembke had lights and reflectors on his bike in the early morning darkness. And no word on whether police have obtained a warrant to check the driver’s phone to see if he was driving distracted.

Anyone with information is urged to call Accident Investigation Detective Sirilo Garcia at 562/570-7355. Anonymous tips may be submitted through LA Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800/222-TIPS (8477) or visiting lacrimestoppers.org.

This is at least the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 23rd that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: A comment below from the mother of Lembke’s son indicates that he did have front and rear blinking lights on his bike, as well as a solid white headlamp on his helmet. 

A crowdfunding campaign raising funds for his son’s education has raised over $15,000 of the $25,000 goal.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Bryan Lembke and all his loved ones.

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up. 

 

Update: Bike rider killed in big rig crash on Santa Monica Blvd in West Los Angeles

This morning, I received two separate reports of a serious crash involving a bike rider and a tractor-trailer on Santa Monica Blvd in West Los Angeles.

David Drexler emailed to say he had driven past a crash involving a tractor-trailer at the southbound onramp to the 405 freeway on Santa Monica Blvd.

I could not get on the highway there at approx. 10 am, ramp was closed and highway patrol looked like it set up an investigation scene.  There was a very crumbled bicycle in the middle lane of the on ramp sitting at the back tires of the truck that was sitting in the lane as well.  The victim must have been removed earlier.

That was followed by this tweet from CG.

Then late this afternoon, Caltrans District 7 confirmed the death on Twitter.

As anyone who has tried to ride that section of Santa Monica Blvd knows, it is a very dangerous, poorly designed and overly crowded intersection, with a high risk of a right hook or left cross from drivers attempting to get onto the 405.

Not to mention the usual jockeying for position from too-often distracted drivers trying to snake through the congestion.

Most riders don’t try it second time, opting for the safety of Ohio Blvd a few blocks to the north; those who do usually stick to the sidewalks, which are often blocked by homeless people.

And even that requires coming off the sidewalk to ride past the onramp.

For whatever reason, this person sadly paid the price for that bad design.

This is at least the 44th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 22nd that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: A GoFundMe page has identified the victim as Frank Guzman; it’s raised over $500 of the $5,000 goal in the first few hours.

A family member describes him like this.

She added this —

Frank was 31, lived in Glendale and is survived by his parents, two siblings, his girlfriend and niece who he adored. He worked full time and was also in school trying to further his education. He was a foodie. Loved to try new things & always seeking adventure.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Frank Guzman and all his loved ones. 

Thanks to David Drexler and CG for the heads-up.

 

Costa Mesa Fire Captain Mike Kreza died, 2 days after he was struck allegedly stoned driver in Mission Viejo

In the end, a man who spent 18 years saving others couldn’t be saved himself.

News broke this morning that Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Captain Mike Kreza had died, two days after he was after he was run down by an allegedly stoned driver while riding in Mission Viejo.

Kreza was training for an Ironman Triathlon when his bike was struck by a car driven by 25-year old Stephen Taylor Scarp around 8 am Saturday on Alicia Parkway near Via Burgos.

He was reportedly hit from behind as he was riding in the bike lane on eastbound Alicia Parkway, suffering critical wounds to the head and body.

The Costa Mesa Fire Department had reported that he was unresponsive as a Sunday afternoon, and surrounded by family and friends.

Scarp remained at the scene. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI after police found multiple prescription medications in his car. At last report he was being held on $100,000 bond, pending a hearing scheduled for tomorrow.

Kreza leaves behind a wife and three young daughters.

This is made even more tragic, not just because of the families he leaves behind — both his own and the close-knit firefighter community — but because so many of us owe our lives to the men and women who devote theirs to saving others.

He died, sadly and needlessly, not in a courageous effort to rescue someone else, but as one of us.

A crowdfunding campaign for his family has raised over $126,000 in just two days, more than five times the original $25,000 goal.

This is at least the 43rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mike Kreza and all his family and loved ones. 

Thanks to Megan Lynch, Steve S and Steven Bonadio for the heads-up.

 

 

Update: Driver arrested on murder charge for intentionally running down a Claremont bike rider

Wrecks are seldom accidents.

But they’re usually not on purpose, either.

Yet that was the case in Claremont today, where a driver is facing a murder charge for intentionally running down a woman as she rode in a bike lane.

According to the Daily Bulletin, 54-year old Leslie Pray was riding north along the 1900 block of North Mills Avenue near Radcliffe Drive around 11:30 am today when she was deliberately struck by the driver of a 1996 station wagon.

Pray was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police arrested 61-year old Claremont resident Sandra Wicksted at a nearby hospital after a brief investigation.

There’s no word on how — or why — the crash happened, or whether the two women knew each other.

Wicksted is being held on $2 million bond. Then again, if she could pay that, she probably wouldn’t be driving a 22-year old station wagon.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Claremont Police Department at 909/399-5411.

This is at least the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 21st that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

And the first one that was, allegedly, on purpose.

Update: KABC-7 reports that Wicksted was driving in the opposite direction on Mills, and swerved across the road to strike Pray’s bicycle.

The presence of skid marks on the street demonstrates her path across the road, as well as indicating she was braking as she crossed the roadway. Which is odd for a driver who was attempting to hit someone. 

However, the station also says other bike riders told police that Wicksted had swerved towards them just moments before she killed Pray.

She is also suspected of being under the influence; several empty liquor bottles were found in her car after the crash.

Tragically, Pray had just started riding a bike this summer.

Update 2: A ghost bike will be installed at 7 pm today

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Erik Griswold and Megan Lynch for the heads-up. Photo by Erik Griswold. 

Unidentified man killed in Van Nuys hit-and-run; suspect arrested nearby

Another day, another fatal hit-and-run on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

In what’s rapidly becoming an everyday occurrence, a man was killed riding his bicycle in an early morning crash, and left to die by the heartless killer who ran him down.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the hit-and-run was reported around 3:45 am at Haskell Ave and Stagg Street.

When police arrived, they found the victim dead at the scene next to his crumpled fat tired bicycle, after being thrown approximately 40 feet from where he was rear-ended.

The belligerent, and apparently intoxicated, driver was arrested about a mile away at Woodley Ave and Satticoy Street near the Van Nuys Airport, with the arrest filmed as it happened by KTTV Fox11.

He insisted that he is in the army and serving our country, demanding the officers respect him while swearing at them and refusing to obey orders. However, police suspect the camo uniform he wore was nothing more than a Halloween costume.

KTTV places the time of the crash at around 3:15 am. At that hour, it’s most likely that the victim was either homeless, or riding to or from work.

No word on whether he had lights on his bike, how fast the driver was going, or what direction they were traveling.

A ghost bike will be installed at 7 pm Friday.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that this hit-and-run epidemic will continue until our elected officials finally care enough to actually do something about it.

Or more likely, when we do.

So if you haven’t already demanded action from your state legislators, maybe it’s time to start.

This is at least the 41st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 20th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his loved ones.

Brother of state legislator killed in Buena Park bike collision on Monday

Another Orange County bike rider lost his life on Monday, in what was an exceptionally deadly two days for SoCal bicyclists.

The Orange County Register reports, almost as an aside, that the 52-year old brother of California Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva was killed riding his bike in Buena Park.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Darlington Avenue and Artesia Boulevard when Raymond William Jaso was hit by the driver of a pickup around 6:18 pm.

No other information is available at this time.

Jaso was homeless following a longtime battle with alcoholism; he recently began drinking again after walking away from a county-run treatment program.

It’s not clear if that may have contributed to the crash.

His homelessness, and struggles with alcohol and mental health issues, should do nothing to diminish the tragedy of Jaso’s life or death.

Quirk-Silva writes movingly about the loss of her brother.

Jaso’s death follows fatal collisions in Oxnard and Sun Valley on Sunday and Monday, as well as a second Orange County death in Stanton on Monday.

This is at least the 40th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Raymond William Jaso and all his loved ones. 

Ebike rider killed in Stanton crash; driver left scene before returning

This has been a deadly week for SoCal bicyclists.

In the wake of two previously reported fatal collisions in Oxnard and Sun Valley on Sunday and Monday, two other riders lost their lives in Orange County on Monday.

The first of these occurred near the intersection of Cerritos and Magnolia avenues in Stanton around 1:50 pm.

The Orange County Register reports 79-year old Anaheim resident Tam Nguyen was struck by the driver of a car while riding his ebike. He was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center, where he died sometime later.

The driver, who has not been publicly identified, stopped in a nearby parking lot before returning. Police do not believe he or she was under the influence.

There’s no word on exactly where the crash occurred, which street Nguyen was on, or how the crash happened.

A street view doesn’t help, since we don’t know where the crash took place.

Nguyen was initially unidentified at the time of his death. Which should once again serve as a tragic reminder to always carry some form of ID when you ride.

This is at least the 39th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

Update: Peter Flax points out that Cerritos was recommended for a Complete Streets makeover, but rejected due to political concerns. 

He also points out that it is the same street where Debra Gresham was killed two years ago

Let’s hope Orange County is held accountable for not fixing it. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Tam Nguyen and all his loved ones. 

 

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