Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Morning Links: New study says bike injuries increasing, but without context; comedian rants riding through LA

Another study attempts to paint bicycling as a dangerous activity, especially for riders over 45.

The study from UC San Francisco shows that bicycling injuries have nearly doubled over a 15-year period ending in 2013, which they acknowledge coincides with the boom in bicycling.

Looking at it another way, the rate of injuries per 100,000 people has increased 28%, with the biggest increase coming among riders over 45, which jumped to 42% of reported injuries.

On the other hand, the number of people riding bikes has increased dramatically, rising as much as 32% in LA in a recent three year period, and 174% in Minneapolis in just five years, according to stats from People for Bikes.

And much of that increase has come from people over 45, as bicycling has become the new golf, as the press loves to tell us.

So it’s only natural to expect that both the rate and number of bicycling injuries would go up. It’s just as likely that the injury rate among cyclists, rather than the general population, may have gone down or stayed the same.

More troubling is the news that the most serious types of injuries have increased. According to the study, the rate of hospitalization due to bicycling injuries more than doubled, while the proportion of head injuries increased 60% over that period, and torso injuries jumped 21%.

That would imply that more bike riders are getting hit by cars, perhaps due to more people riding in an urban environment, as the author of the study suggests.

Which means the solution is not urging greater caution among older riders, or frightening them off their bikes, but improving safety for all cyclists in our cities.

But until someone takes the extra step of placing bike injuries in context with solid ridership stats, studies like this are interesting, but ultimately, meaningless.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

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This one’s worth checking out, as a bike riding comedian Mario Joyner captures his rants on GoPro while riding the streets of LA.

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Aussie rider Michael Rogers will get the Olympic bronze medal he didn’t win in Athens in 2004, after gold medalist Tyler Hamilton was stripped of his medal for doping three years ago.

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Local

Who says LA wasn’t a bike city? As this photo shows, they were the perfect way to get to a 1940s cowboy matinee. Looks like bike corrals are nothing new, either.

Bike SGV wants your support to help turn the massive Puente Hills landfill into LA County’s first bike park.

Examined Spoke questions why Milt Olin’s death has never been reported to California’s official SWITRS database. Why, indeed?

Vancouver’s Modacity will present Observations from an Emerging Bicycle Culture in Santa Monica and Echo Park next month.

 

State

The mayors of seven California cities, including LA and Lon Beach, call on the state to act now to fix our crumbling roads and bridges, including the need for comprehensive bike networks. Let’s not forget bad roads pose a greater risk to the safety of bicyclists than they do to motorists.

To no one’s surprise, Coronado’s NIMBYs have succeeded in killing a proposed bike path along the beach. The way residents reacted, you would have thought someone had suggested rerouting the 5 Freeway through their bucolic burgh.

Maybe bike collisions wouldn’t be rising so fast in Hanford if police would stop blaming the victims and focus on the people in the big, dangerous machines.

The LA Times provides more details on the San Francisco U-lock attack, in which a salmon cyclist breaking the rules of Critical Mass whacked a car with his lock after the driver bumped his bike.

A writer for the Sacramento Bee says a beautiful network of bike lanes will mean nothing if people are afraid to park their bikes out of fear of bike thieves. She’s right; LA’s efforts to encourage more people to ride instead of driving will be doomed if their bikes are gone when it’s time to ride back home.

 

National

Bicycling’s Joe Lindsey says our bike-riding president has done a lot to aid bicycling, but your voice is needed to ensure further progress. Meanwhile, the Feds tell risk averse traffic engineers to get off their ass and stop using them as an excuse.

Sarah Goodyear explains why we call crashes “accidents” and why we need to stop, while bike lawyer Bob Mionske explains what to do if you’re in one.

People for Bikes says protected bike lanes are seven times more likely to encourage people to ride.

Now that’s more like it. A Portland man apologizes for an ill-advised tweet, and says he doesn’t really believe anyone should run over people on bikes.

The cast of Breaking Away will reunite at Interbike in Las Vegas this month, including Dennis Christopher, Jackie Earle Haley, Paul Dooley and Dennis Quaid. If they can get Robyn Douglass to show up, I’m in.

In Houston, cycling concierges will deliver virtually anything you want directly to your door.

This is so wrong in so many ways. A Boston writer, who has evidently never met a bike rider, says bikes don’t belong on urban roads. Note to Jeff Jacoby: Like most bicyclists, I have a drivers license. And we pay the same taxes you do.

A New York bike website talks with the man riding a bikeshare bike from NYC to LA.

Washington DC will teach all second grade students how to ride a bike, which used to be standard practice for schools around the country. Growing up in Colorado, every kid received bike education in elementary school, ensuring that they all grew up knowing the rules of the road.

A South Carolina website gets it, saying motorists must respect the right of bicyclists to use the road on equal terms, but bike riders should assume most drivers don’t know that.

Alabama’s Tuskegee University has partnered with a local bank to give students a free bikeshare program.

A Birmingham AL grand jury will be convened to investigate the death of a prominent African American businessman killed when the driver of a pickup plowed into three riders with the Black People Run Bike and Swim group; the other two were airlifted to a local hospital. Traffic crimes don’t normally go to a grand jury; so the question is whether the DA is just covering his ass, or if there’s something they’re not telling us.

 

International

A British soccer player is banned from driving and gets a year of community service for DUI after plowing into three cyclists who stopped on the sidewalk to fix a broken chain. Yes, they were on the sidewalk when he hit them.

Famed Italian automotive designer Pininfarina has teamed with DeRosa to produce a lightweight, low-drag carbon racing bike.

Denmark will send its first astronaut into space today. To test bike parts, of course.

Syrian refugees are exploiting a legal loophole by bicycling across the border between Russia and Norway, which bans crossings by foot or car.

A South African website offers a photo essay on bicycling in Eritrea.

New Zealand is considering requiring a 1.5 meter passing distance for bicycles, the equivalent of nearly five feet.

 

Finally…

Now that’s a different looking bike, although it doesn’t look like something an Imperial storm trooper would ride. Your next water bottle could be a bike light; then again, your next foldie could be, too.

And you know you suck as a driver when even a car enthusiast website says you should lose your license for doing a massive burnout after an argument with a cyclist.

 

Unidentified bike rider killed while crossing Terminal Island Freeway

Once again, a bike rider has died on a Southern California freeway.

According to the Long Beach Gazettes, the victim was illegally crossing the Terminal Island Freeway north of PCH in Long Beach around midnight last night when he was hit by a semi-truck at 11:56 pm.

Like most California freeways, bikes are banned from the highway, also known as the 103 Freeway.

The victim, who was not carrying identification, was in the left lane of the northbound side when he was stuck by the truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A street view shows a four lane highway with an unobstructed center divider, making it relatively easy to cross; the victim may not have expected to encounter traffic at that hour.

My News LA places the time of the initial call at 11:56 pm Sunday, while the Gazettes says the police were dispatched at 12:07 pm.

He is identified only as appearing to be in his 60s, while the coroner’s office attempts to determine his ID.

This is the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 20th in Los Angeles County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 61-year old Jaimes Guadalupe.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jaimes Guadalupe and his loved ones.

 

Palmdale man killed in rear-end collision while riding to work early Wednesday morning

Bad news from North LA County, as a bike commuter lost his life in a collision earlier this week.

According to the Antelope Valley Times, 40-year old Palmdale resident Jeff Aubrey McGrath was riding south on Sierra Highway north of Pearblossom Highway around 4:40 am Wednesday when he was rear-ended by a car traveling in the same direction.

The paper reports the driver remained at the scene, and did not appear to be intoxicated.

A story in Thursday’s Antelope Valley Press, which is not available online, indicates McGrath was riding in the right lane on his way to work when he was hit, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

McGrath had worked as a farm handyman for over 15 years, and often came into work very early.

A street view shows a narrow shoulder, with the right lane merging into a single lane shortly above Pearblossom.

There’s no word on whether he was using lights or reflectors, nearly two hours before sunrise, or why the driver apparently didn’t see him.

This is the 44th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 19th in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jeff McGrath and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Michele Chavez for the heads-up.

Bike rider killed crossing PCH in Malibu; bicycling deaths down over 40% in LA County compared to 2014

The report of the possible death of a bike rider has finally been confirmed.

According to the Malibu Times, a 48-year old man was attempting to cross PCH on his bike at Busch Drive, near the entrance to Zuma Beach at 8:30 pm Sunday.

The victim, described only as a possible transient, was transported to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood. Despite suffering from what was initially described as non-life threatening injuries, he died four hours later.

A satellite view shows a left turn lane at the entrance to the beach just west of Busch Drive.

The paper reports both eastbound lanes were closed on PCH, along with one westbound lane, suggesting he was struck on the eastbound side. A spokesman for the sheriff’s department said he had crossed the highway when he was hit, which would mean he was riding towards the beach, rather than away.

No word on whether he was in the traffic lane or on the shoulder when he was hit, or who might have been at fault.

The Malibu times says this is the fifth bicycling fatality on the Malibu section of PCH this year.

The recently released PCH Safety Study calls for improvements in the area around the complicated intersection, including a new bridge connecting Westward Beach Road to PCH, to reduce conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

This is the 43rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 18th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the 9th death involving a bike rider in Malibu since 2011; surprisingly, only two of those have occurred on PCH.

That compares with 63 in SoCal this time last year, and 31 in the county, for a 42% decrease over last year in LA County, and 31% overall.

Morning Links: Tragedy in Santa Clarita, LA announces Vision Zero, and too much racing news for one day

Sad news from Santa Clarita, as a man apparently rode his bike to commit suicide Sunday morning.

According to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, the unidentified man jumped to his death off the bridge on White’s Canyon Road at Via Princessa in full view of several people. Deputies said an overturned bicycle behind the yellow sheriff’s tape belonged to the man who jumped.

As others have said before me, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

No matter how bad things may look today, it will change. Maybe not now, maybe not soon. But it will. That’s the way life goes.

Hopefully the good, in the end, will outweigh the bad.

And you are not alone.

There are people who care. If you need help, call. Or talk to someone you know. Not tomorrow, not next week.

Now.

I want to see you back here tomorrow. And many more tomorrows after that.

NOTE: I heard from a relative of the victim who complained that the line about the permanence of suicide was glib. It was not intended that way; I learned it from a psychiatrist who specialized in treating depression. And it has helped me get through some very bad days.

I didn’t say this last night in my rush to get this online, but my heart and prayers go out to the victim and all his family and loved ones. Regardless of how he died, he was one of us.

Update: The victim has been identified as 23-year old Phillip Michael Griffin; a search had been underway since he went missing on Wednesday. 

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This is a big day in LA.

According to Los Angeles Walks, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will formally announce the city’s Vision Zero initiative to end traffic deaths in the City of Angels within the next 10 years. He’s set to make the announcement at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and St. Louis in Boyle Heights at 12:30 pm.

Of course, the question is whether the city is willing to make the tough choices that will require. As the recent controversies over Westwood Blvd, North Figueroa and the Glendale-Hyperion bridge make clear, many Angelenos — and a handful of elected representatives — still favor convenience over safety, and maintaining the automotive hegemony on our streets.

And are more than willing to twist that safety argument to preserve the status quo and keep our streets dangerous.

It will take strong leadership to make a dent in the number of deadly collisions in our city, let alone eliminate them in 10 years. And it can’t be done if we continue to carve out certain streets, neighborhoods or council districts.

We haven’t seen that yet from our city leaders. In fact, we haven’t heard from the mayor on any of those controversies, or any of the other streets where opposition to bikes has blocked much needed safety improvements.

Hopefully, that will change today.

In fact, it has to.

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Way too much racing news today.

Taylor Wiles won the second stage of the women’s USA Pro Challenge; Kristen Armstrong ended up winning the short three-day tour by 29 seconds over Wiles on Sunday. Taylor Phinney’s mom — who was a pretty decent cyclist herself — is thrilled to see how Colorado has embraced women’s bike racing.

Saturday’s men’s stage was taken by Roman Kreuziger after a long breakaway, while BMC’s Rohan Dennis finished with the main pack to hold a 44 second lead. He held that lead to win the Pro Challenge, with teammate Brent Bookwalter taking second.

Earlier in the race, Dennis had chucked his panini at a rider who attacked when the peloton stopped to pee.

Across the Atlantic, BMC won the team time trial on the first day of the Vuelta a España; however, no individual times were recorded due to a dispute over the unsafe conditions of the sand-covered route. On the other hand, at least they didn’t have to outrace a tank.

After all the rumors about motor doping over the summer, Vincenzo Nibali did it old school, getting bounced from the race for holding onto a team car to catch up to the peloton after a crash. Astana teammate Paolo Tiralongo posts a nasty eye injury he suffered in that same crash. All of which supports Deadspin’s observation that the Vuelta is the best race of the season, calling it “as spectacular as a relatively tame sport gets.”

And for future reference, you might want to keep your eye on a 16-year old racer from San Diego’s Torrey Pines High School.

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Sometimes, cyclists really are heroes.

On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Washington Post tells the story of professional cyclist Ken Bellau, who returned to his New Orleans home after competing in the Tour of French Guyana, hopped in a boat, and saved over 400 people from the flooding caused by the hurricane.

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Local

South Pasadena neighbors team up to chase down a one-man bike theft crime wave; the thief had been busted three times for similar crimes in just the last 45 days.

Pasadena’s newly passed general plan calls for increased density in the urban core while encouraging people to walk, bike or ride transit.

 

State

A Laguna Beach website asks if it’s possible for hikers, mountain bikers and wilderness habitat to co-exist.

A Coronado letter writer says beaches and bicycles are not at match. A statement disproven daily at pretty much every beach, everywhere.

Those anti-bike Coronado people couldn’t have been happy on Sunday, as 3,400 cyclists rode around the bay, through the town and across the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in a fundraiser for the San Diego Bicycle Coalition.

A reminder from Santa Cruz that drivers are required to make a right turn from the farthest lane to right, which means merging into a bike lane rather than turning across it. But make sure to check for bikes first.

Deb Hubsmith’s hometown newspaper says the late founder of Safe Routes to School showed the impact one person can have in a short lifetime.

The Bay Area’s Bicicletas Por la Paz is a band, bicycle advocacy group, awareness collective and food kitchen rolled into one.

The Sacramento paper says it’s long past time to make safe, easy bicycling a priority.

A South Lake Tahoe cyclist is back home after riding through Iran to meet with school children to promote peace, although not everyone in this country welcomed his efforts. Or in that one, probably.

 

National

Now that’s more like it. A Reno man gets 20 years for the drunk driving death of a 16-year old bike rider; he was nearly twice the legal limit when he was arrested. Similar cases here seldom result in more than a couple years.

A Chicago writer rides Missouri’s 238-mile Katy Trail with her husband, even if their starting point was under water. Meanwhile, the Windy City has a shiny new three-mile elevated rail-to-trail conversion.

The Chicago man who was brutally beaten by five honor students was selling the bike to raise money for school; his attackers reportedly believed the bike was stolen.

Cleveland prepares to paint a buffered bike lane on a newly resurfaced street. And bizarrely puts the buffer next to the curb, instead of next to the traffic lane where it might actually do some good.

Sad news from Massachusetts, as a bike rider hit by a drunk driver in 1996 dies after 19 years in a coma; his family has forgiven the driver, but the DA has yet to determine if additional jail time is warranted as a result of the death.

President Obama and family ride their bikes through the drizzle on Martha’s Vineyard. Although judging by the photo, daughter Malia isn’t too happy about it.

A PA paper offers advice on how to teach someone to ride a bike safely. But despite what they say, might does not make right; drivers don’t have a superior right to the road because they’re in the larger vehicles.

If you really want your employees to ride to work, try offering a free bike valet like this New York company. But discourage them from stealing a bikeshare bike to commute with.

A Baltimore driver hits a cyclist while trying to pass on a curve, then gets out of his SUV and hits him some more. With his fists. Showing how non-seriously authorities take traffic violence, he’s out on just $25,000 bail.

 

International

A musician rides 1,800 miles across Canada to perform, while supporting a movement for clean air, food and water.

Bicycling looks at how Bogotá’s ciclovía changed the world. I’m not sure the new Mobility Plan would have passed without CicLAvia, which is based on the Bogotá event.

Better bike routes and more bicycling could solve the traffic problems in Manchester UK.

A British bike rider was lucky to get away with a broken wrist and hand injuries after someone sabotaged his bike by disconnecting his brakes; the local government councilor crashed into a lamp post after careening down a hill at 30 mph.

A private postal service in Edinburgh delivers the mail by bike for a third less than conventional services; not surprisingly, business is growing by booming 20% a month.

A Chinese tourist who was kidnapped by Taliban militants while bicycling through Pakistan over a year ago has been freed by Pakistani security forces.

 

Finally…

It may not be safe for Florida kids to bike to school, but at least they can pedal at their desks. A new smart helmet could help avoid wrecks. Too bad we can’t get drivers to wear it.

And while the driverless car is still in development, the riderless bike is here today.

 

Morning Links: Newport hit-and-run driver turns himself in, and more fallout from the new LA Mobility Plan

More on the 14-year old girl who was critically injured when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding in Newport Beach Tuesday night.

Thirty-six-year old Anthony Michael George turned himself in to police at around 2 pm Wednesday, which would have given him plenty of time to sober up.

Assuming he had been drinking, of course, which only seems like a given.

That was after his badly damaged car was discovered by a sharp-eyed Newport resident out for a run.

His victim, who was riding a beach cruiser with a group of other riders, was on vacation with her family from San Carlos; she’s now fighting for her life after she was hit head-on with enough force to shatter the car’s windshield.

She was not wearing a helmet, despite state law requiring them for anyone under the age of 18. Whether it could have made a difference, given the description of the collision, is questionable.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link about the car discovery.

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The Daily News says the newly passed Mobility Plan offers promise, but questions whether the city is dictating new habits or anticipating them. Neither, actually. It’s aimed at improving safety while giving people the option of how they want to travel, rather than how they currently feel they have to.

LA Times readers offer surprisingly rational responses to yesterday’s story about the shift in LA transportation priorities.

KNBC-4 misses the point, saying community groups oppose taking travel lanes — not auto lanes, thank you — from streets like Westwood Blvd, even though current plan for Westwood don’t involve removing a single lane or parking spot. Which makes you wonder what the real reason for their opposition is, along with that of Councilmember Paul Koretz, who appears to be in the pocket of wealthy homeowners.

Larry Mantle discussed the passage of the Mobility Plan on KPCC’s Air Talk; the LACBC’s Tamika Butler made some good points by stressing it’s not just about bike lanes, although the remarks by motorhead Jay Beeber — and many of the comments — are infuriating.

Speaking of which, I’m told you should only read the comments on KFI’s Facebook page, home to the bike hating John and Ken, if you want to lose all hope for humanity.

And Bicycling wants to arm you with responses to the typical anti-bike comments you’ll find to any online story about bicycling.

Meanwhile, this is what the story looks like from an overseas perspective.

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Brenda Miller of the Alliance for a Healthy Orange County writes to say they’re looking for vendors with experience in hosting bike rodeos.

Orange County will be holding bike rodeos the month of September, 2015, and is seeking bids from vendors experienced with such bicycle education events. Funding for the rodeos is provided by the non-profit, Alliance for a Healthy Orange County, as part of a community health grant received from the CDC. Contact info, details/specs, and a list of Q&A’s submitted by potential vendors is downloadable via Dropbox HERE.

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Matt Brammeier, the cyclist injured in that horrific Tour of Utah crash, as been released from the hospital.

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Local

Councilmember Mike Bonin’s office is preparing a pop-up Great Streets installation on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista early next year, including improved — and possibly protected — bike lanes.

Richard Risemberg says even if we get bike lanes, once the paint dries, we’re on our own.

Bike thefts continue in DTLA, as six people have their rides taken, four after the locks were cut; one man was arrested trying to take one.

There will be a pop-up community open house for the Cesar Chavez Great Street, which doesn’t appear to include anything to improve bike safety, this Saturday. Maybe you can point out the error of their ways.

 

State

San Francisco police back off their heavy-handed crackdown on scofflaw bike riders in the face of angry bicyclists, after 200 riders were ticketed for rolling stops, running lights and not stopping for pedestrians in just a two-day period. A petition protesting the crackdown drew over 19,000 signatures.

The Yolo County driver who intentionally ran down three cyclists in succession behind the wheel of a stolen car now faces attempted murder charges and a sanity hearing. That’s Yolo, not YOLO.

 

National

Bicycling talks to the people behind everyone’s favorite bike comic.

VeloNews asks what the rise of e-bikes means for the world of bicycling. Less pedaling, for one.

Bloomberg notes that crowdfunding is the latest way to get bikeways built, but questions just what the purpose of taxes is, then.

Not a bad idea. A new light attaches to your brake cable, giving you an automatic brake light for just $10.

If a judge agrees, an Anchorage teen could get less than three years in juvie for the DUI hit-and-run death of a bike rider. The collision came just eight days after she completed — and evidently failed — a drug abuse program; she was on Ecstasy, coke and marijuana at the time of the crash.

A car is a man’s — or woman’s — castle in Kansas; just reaching inside could entitle the driver to use deadly force. Good thing that personal space doesn’t extend to the air around it.

Caught on video: This is what a dangerously close pass by a Texas driver looks like.

A fifth Minneapolis bike rider has been attacked by a rock-throwing SUV driver; the latest victim suffered a broken clavicle.

The Cleveland Clinic offers advice on how to avoid neck pain caused by cycling. Or maybe you suffer from hay fever while riding, instead.

An Ohio driver gets a lousy three months in jail for sideswiping a cyclist with his trailer after following behind a group of riders for several hundred feet, honking and yelling at them out his window.

The athletic director at Middle Tennessee State University considers himself lucky after breaking two neck vertebrae and a wrist when he went off the road while riding his bike.

Bicycling casualties are raising red flags in Boston, where 13 people have been killed riding bikes in the city in the last five years. Nearly that many died in Los Angeles last year alone, with 11 bicycling deaths within the city limits in 2014.

A Florida man faces a manslaughter charge after killing another man with a single punch in a dispute over a stolen bike. Seriously, recovering your bike isn’t worth taking a life. Or spending the next several years behind bars.

 

International

Hundreds of cyclists formed a funeral procession for a popular British bike advocate who was killed in a road rage assault while driving his car.

Add this to the list of things you wouldn’t see while driving, as Town Mouse spots a very hidden young deer on her ride to town. And note that her definition of a busy road is spotting half a dozen vehicles in four miles.

The next time you’re in Amsterdam, look bikes with a yellow rack for a free ride on the back from an unofficial bike ambassador.

Australia’s Senate is told that mandatory helmet laws do more harm than good.

New Chinese augmented reality glasses currently raising funds on Indiegogo promise to give you a heads-up display while you ride. Because it just takes too much effort to look down at a Garmin.

Over 40,000 Thai cyclists have registered for a ride this Sunday to honor the country’s Queen on her 83rd birthday.

 

Finally…

Seriously, when a driver tells you to get off the road, just flip ‘em off if you have to respond, instead of causing $300 damage to the jerk’s car. If you’re riding a stolen bike armed with burglary tools and a stun gun, don’t ride on the damn sidewalk.

And caught on video: A Chinese bicyclist just barely avoids serious injury when he hops off his bike milliseconds before it’s hit by a driver making a dangerous U-turn in a busy intersection. Naturally, police conclude it wasn’t really the driver’s fault.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in El Cajon; second bicycling fatality in San Diego County this week

Word is just coming in from multiple sources that a bike rider was killed in El Cajon, northeast of San Diego.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was hit by a car at the intersection of Compton Street and Madison Ave around 4 pm today; the man died at the scene.

A street view shows what looks like a relatively quiet, residential intersection.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in San Diego County. It’s also the second fatality in the county in the last two days.

Update: According to San Diego’s Fox-5, the victim may have come off the sidewalk in front of a distracted driver, with one error compounded by another.  Given the limited information, there’s no way to know if the driver could have stopped in time if he or she had actually been paying attention to the road instead of a cell phone.

The story also stresses that the victim wasn’t wearing a helmet. However, there’s no indication that he suffered a head injury, or that the collision would have been survivable with one; a lot depends on the speed of the car at the time of the collision.

Update 2: The Union-Tribune confirms that the victim, a 50-year old man, had been riding on the sidewalk and swerved out into the street, where he was hit by the car. He suffered major head injuries, which could make the lack of a helmet relevant. However, the story makes no mention of texting or driving distracted.

Update 3: The victim has been identified as 53-year old Jack Vandereb; no city of residence was given.

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

Bicyclist killed riding on I-15 in North San Diego County hit-and-run; victim may have been struck multiple times

Sometimes, there’s just no obvious explanation.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports the CHP received a 911 call saying a bicyclist was riding on the northbound I-15 freeway south of West Bernardo Drive/Pomerado Road around 4:25 am.

Fourteen minutes later, they got another call, before officers could arrive, saying in effect there was no need to hurry.

The victim, who was not carrying identification, was hit by a vehicle while riding in the #2 lane. A satellite photo indicates that would seem to be the far right lane of the four-lane freeway, since the left two lanes appear to be Express Lanes.

That’s assuming he was past the northbound offramp; if it happened further south, it would place him in the fourth lane from the right out of five lanes.

San Diego 7 indicated the driver of a white pickup stopped at the side of the road for about 10 minutes before driving off. Police are looking for a white GMC pickup based on debris found at the scene.

The victim appears to have been struck by multiple vehicles following the initial impact; none of the other drivers seem to have stopped, either. A CHP spokesperson said they don’t know how many times he might have been hit or run over.

Under those circumstances, the victim may be very difficult to identify, for obvious reasons.

There was no word on whether he was using lights at the early morning hour. And no apparent explanation for why he was riding in a traffic lane on a high-speed freeway, rather than on the shoulder.

Bikes are allowed on the shoulder of the 15 freeway a little further north, according to the U-T. But never in the traffic lane.

This is the 41st bicycling fatality in Southern California and the eighth in San Diego County; that compares with 61 in SoCal and six in the county this time last year.

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

 

Update: 23-year old Newport Beach e-bike rider died after colliding with parked van

A bike rider has died after he was critically injured while riding in Newport Beach Sunday afternoon.

According to the Orange County Register, 23-year old Corona del Mar resident Jonathan Wilson died about an hour after he collided with a parked minivan.

The paper reports the collision occurred around 1:27 PM at 1801 Bayside Drive, while Corona del Mar Today places the location further up the road near the intersection of Bayside and El Paseo Dr.

Matching photos from the scene with a street view suggest he was riding north on Bayside, in between the two locations.

No explanation is given for how or why he hit the van.

Photos accompanying the Register story show a mountain bike lying near the curb, with the back of the van in badly damaged. That suggests Wilson somehow hit it at a high rate of speed, which is surprising given the flat road surface.

Even though the road has sharrows, the impact point on the van is just to the left of the curb. So the question becomes why he was riding so close to the curb, and how he reached a high enough speed to cause so much damage.

And whether he didn’t see the row of parked cars directly ahead of him, or was forced to the right in some way.

Unless a witness turns up, we may never know.

This is the 40th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in Orange County. That compares with 57 in SoCal this time last year, and 12 in the county.

Wilson also the 11th cyclist killed in Newport Beach in the past five years, and second to die in a solo crash in the city in just the last two weeks.

Update: According to the Newport Beach Police Department, Wilson was riding an electric bike, would could explain the force of impact evident from the damage to the minivan. 

He was initially found conscious and responsive, while suffering from numerous lacerations. 

And no, he was not wearing a helmet.

Update 2: Corona del Mar Today cites a police spokesperson as saying neither drugs or alcohol appeared to be a factor, and it did not appear that Wilson was forced into the van by another vehicle.

Update 3: Customers at the Corona del Mar Starbucks where Wilson worked as a barista remembered him as kind, sometimes silly and always friendly.

Update 4: Wilson may have been using his cell phone at the time of the crash, though it’s not clear if he was texting, talking or performing some other task. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jonathan Wilson and all his loved ones.

 

Update: 36 year old bike rider killed in Newport Coast

Sadly, another bike rider has died days after she was injured, in a case that hasn’t made the news.

According to the Orange County Coroner’s office, 36-year old Monterey Park resident Yeny Vergara was injured when she came off her bike around midnight last Wednesday, at 35 Crystal Cove in Newport Coast.

Vergara OC Coroner

She died just after noon on Saturday; no cause of death is given.

A satellite view of the location shows a narrow roadway turning to a dirt road as it leads to the beach. However, it’s possible that she was riding on PCH or bike path next to it, and the coroner simply gave the closest street address.

Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time.

The age and city of residence match a 36-year old master’s racer who has competed in several Southern California races this year. However, that is unconfirmed at this time, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

This is the 39th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Orange County.

Update: A response from the Newport Beach Police Department indicates her fall occurred on state property on the trails deep within the Crystal Cove State Park near the 73 Freeway. The NB Fire Department responded to the call as the closest agency; police never responded since it was reported as strictly a medical call. 

No word on whether she fell, had a medical issue, or collided with another rider, although the latter would seem unlikely if her injury occurred at the late night hour indicated by the coroner. 

Update 2: The Orange County Register reports that Vergara was apparently injured in a fall while riding on the Elevator Trail around 3:45 pm on the 22nd, rather than midnight as the coroner’s report listed. 

She was found lying unconscious on the trail, suffering from an obvious head wound despite wearing a helmet.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Yeny Vergara and all her family.

Thanks to Bill Sellin and Lois for the heads-up.

 

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