Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Update: Bicyclist killed on PCH in Seal Beach this morning

Still waiting for official confirmation, however, I’ve received two credible reports that a bike rider was killed at PCH and Seal Beach Blvd in Seal Beach around 8:12 this morning from people who passed by the crash site.

More information when it becomes available. However, it looks like SoCal’s killer highway has taken yet another life.

If confirmed, this will be at least the third bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first I’m aware of in Orange County.

Update: Still no official confirmation of the crash. However, I received the following update from Allyson Vought Friday evening.

My friend was at the accident scene just after it occurred. He said the rider was on a black Kestrel road bike and sadly was face down on the roadway — unmoving. The bike had been struck from behind at speed and a vehicle’s windshield was badly damaged.

This is a particularly bad intersection that Strava calls “time the light.”  It’s a downhill from a bridge into Seal  Beach on PCH that we riders always make speed — while watching for cars that can travel 50 mph plus through the intersection while traveling straight — or speed ahead of riders on a long right hand turn lane that takes you to the 405. Cars often interfere with the riders in making this turn and all of us have had to dodge, slow or slam on the brakes all too often here! Important to note that this is a marked bike lane as well. Solo riders are often not seen or just ignored by careless drivers in too bag a hurry. 

Update 2: We finally have official confirmation from the Seal Beach Police Department. However, his name has not been released, despite being well known in the community. Thanks to Nani Luculescu for the heads-up.

Update 3: The Orange County Register has identified the victim as 64-year old Long Beach resident Paul Smith.

I refrained from naming him over the weekend, even as his name became common knowledge, out of respect for his family until he was publicly identified.

The paper reports around 150 people attended a memorial service for Smith on Sunday afternoon, on an unpaved shoulder of the roadway where he was killed. They recalled him as a loving, generous and devout man who was a friend to everyone he met.

In 2016, Ed Ryder prepared a report on Southern California’s deadly coast highway through San Diego, Orange and LA Counties for this site, based on stats from the CHP’s SWITRS crash database.

It hasn’t gotten any safer in that time. 

Thanks to Richard, John McBrearty and Jeff for the above link.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for John Smith and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Derek Willburn and Cleave Law for the heads-up.

Update: 64-year old woman killed in bicycling crash in the Wrigley neighborhood of Long Beach

That didn’t take long, either.

Just one day after the first Southern California bicycling death of the new year, a second rider was killed in a collision in Long Beach’s Wrigley neighborhood.

The victim, identified only as a 64-year old woman, died four hours after she was struck by a driver Thursday evening.

According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, the woman was riding north on Golden Avenue in Long Beach around 6 pm Thursday. She crossed the intersection at Willow Street on the green light, however, the light changed before she cleared the street.

The driver of an SUV accelerated through the intersection as the light turned green on Willow, striking the victim.

She was taken to a local hospital, where she died four hours later.

The driver remained at the scene, and was not suspected of being under the influence.

The question is why he failed to notice the victim riding her bike in the roadway directly in front of him, regardless of whether he had the green light.

This is the second bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Los Angeles County. It’s also at least the fourth bicycling death in Long Beach in the past year.

Update: The victim has been identified as 64-year old Long Beach resident Rhodora Roldan Bachillar.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Rhodora Roldan Bachillar and her loved ones.

Florida man killed, woman loses part of leg in Imperial County bicycle collision; first SoCal bike death of 2019

That didn’t take long.

The Imperial Valley Press is reporting that a bike rider was killed in an Imperial County crash, just two days into the new year.

According to the paper, a 25-year old Florida man, who has not been publicly identified, died after he was struck by a driver while riding in Imperial County’s Slab City Wednesday night.

A 23-year old woman who was being towed in a cart behind his bike was seriously injured, suffering a partial amputation of her leg, as well as a broken arm and facial cuts.

Her dog, who was apparently in the cart with her, was also killed.

The crash occurred around 7:52 pm Wednesday on Beal Road, near The Range dance club in Slab City.

The victim was apparently riding on the wrong side of the road when his bike was struck head on by a car traveling at 50 mph; there’s no word on whether he had lights on his bike in the desert darkness.

The driver remained at the scene, and was not suspected of being under the influence.

This is the first bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first I’m aware of in Imperial County in the nearly two years.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victims and all their loved ones.

Santa Margarita BMX rider dies two weeks after he was struck by a car

It may be a new year, but last year’s bad news isn’t done with us yet.

According to the Orange County Register, 25-year old Chandler Espinoza died on New Year’s Day, 17 days after he was hit by a driver while riding his bike.

The Trabuco Canyon man had spent the last two weeks in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo before succumbing to his injuries.

There’s no word on exactly where the crash occurred, or why the driver wasn’t able to see Espinoza or stop for his bike while he rode in the crosswalk.

He was riding his BMX bike to work in Rancho Santa Margarita on December 15th when he was struck by the driver’s car shortly after entering a crosswalk just before 3:45 pm.

However, a Caring Bridge post apparently written by Espinoza’s mother says “There appears to have been no reckless behavior on behalf of the driver, who stayed at the scene.” She goes on to describe it as “just a tragic accident.”

His mother describes him as an adventurous risk taker since early childhood.

Photo from Chandler Espinoza Caring Bridge Page

Chandler engages life with his body, mind, and spirit. He is loyal, funny, a great dancer, athletic, a deep thinker, adventurous, protective, generous, and never meets a stranger. 

I knew he had a lot of friends, but I never understood the impact Chandler had on those friends and what he meant to them until this week. Chandler makes everyone feel special. I have a whole new perspective on my son now. 

This is at least the 51st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Chandler Espinoza and all his loved ones and friends.

Update: Rancho Mirage bicyclist killed by speeding driver in possible road rage incident

Call it an act of self-defense. 

If you believe the driver, that is. 

According to Palm Springs TV station News Channel 3, a bike rider was killed in Rancho Mirage this morning by a speeding driver, who claims he was trying to get away from someone who was attempting to run him off the road. 

Sure, let’s go with that. 

The victim was struck at the intersection of Ramon Road and Rattler Road around 6:49 am. A photographer for the station who witnessed the crash reported that the victim was rear-ended as he was riding east on Ramon Road, with the force of the impact sending him cartwheeling through the air. 

He died at the scene. A Facebook post identifies him as road cyclist Will Campbell

The young driver of the white Honda Accord reportedly overcorrected as he was speeding down the road, swerving to the right and slamming into Campbell’s bike. He was handcuffed and taken into custody. 

Another driver reportedly stopped at a gas station a little further down the road, lending credence to reports that a second vehicle was involved. 

While road rage is a possibility, street racing is as well, especially since the crash occurred near a high school. 

street view shows Ramon Road is a six lane virtual highway, with a bike lane on the eastbound side. The street has a 55 mph speed limit, which the reporter at the scene says drivers frequently exceed.

This is at least the 50th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth that I’m aware of in Riverside County.

Campbell’s death is the second fatal bicycling crash in Rancho Mirage this year, and the fifth on deadly Ramon Road since 2015. 

Update: A party will be held at 5 pm tomorrow at the La Quinta Brewery to celebrate Will Campbell’s life.

My deepest sympathy and prayer for Will Campbell and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

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.

 

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