Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Update: Nine-year old boy killed in Irvine collision

Any traffic death is heartbreaking. But it always seems worse when it’s a child.

Word is just coming in that a nine-year old boy was killed while riding his bike in Irvine this afternoon.

According to a press release from the Irvine Police Department, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was hit by a van at 3:15 pm at the intersection of Roosevelt and Bay Tree. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead just 20 minutes later.

The 57-year old driver remained at the scene.

No other information is available at this time.

A satellite view shows a residential neighborhood with four lane divided roadway in each direction, with a bike lane on Roosevelt and three parks within a four block radius.

Anyone with information is urged to contact IPD Traffic Sergeant Matt August at 949/724-7023.

This is the 70th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th in Orange County this year.

Update: The Orange County Coroner has identified the victim as Keven Jiang, who lived in Irvine. 

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

Thanks to David Huntsman for the link.

Bike rider killed in midnight collision on Vincent Thomas bridge

Sad news from San Pedro, as a bike rider has been killed in a collision after falling on the Vincent Thomas Bridge.

Multiple, virtually identical reports indicate 31-year old Long Beach resident Sergio Tapia was riding north in the right lane of the east-west bridge when he reportedly fell and was hit by a commercial truck, then knocked into the next lane where he was hit by a car.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No word on what might have caused him to fall, or if there were independent witnesses who saw it happen.

Unlike the replacement Gerald Desmond Bridge, which will have both bike and pedestrian paths when it opens, the Vincent Thomas Bridge has neither, forcing bicyclists to ride in heavy industrial traffic coming to and from the ports in Long Beach and San Pedro. And for some riders, especially those who work at the ports, there is no other viable route.

This is the 69th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 28th in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers Sergio Tapia and his family. 

Bike rider killed in Riverside; no details available

The Press-Enterprise reports a bicyclist was killed in Riverside’s Lake Hills neighborhood Wednesday afternoon, though few details are available at this time.

According to the paper, the collision occurred on the 15800 block of Skyridge Drive at 3:45 pm; the victim died at a hospital shortly afterwards.

No information was available about the victim or how the collision occurred, though the CHP was investigating.

A satellite view shows a narrow residential street, on what appears to be a steep hill.

This is the 68th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in Riverside County. That compares with 81 in SoCal this time last year, and ten in the county.

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

BOLO ALERT: Driver of blue car fled the scene after dooring woman near Fairfax and La Cienega Thursday night

Thursday's dooring victim; I'm not identifying the victim at this time since I have not been in direct contact with her family.

The victim of Thursday’s dooring in the hospital; she is not being identified at this time since I have not been in direct contact with her family.

A woman was seriously injured in a hit-and-run dooring while riding on the western edge of the West Adams district.

According to reports, the collision occurred near the intersection of La Cienega Blvd and Fairfax Ave, between West Jefferson and Washington Blvds around 10 pm Thursday night.

The driver stayed long enough to pull the victim out of the street, but took off after nearby valets called 911.

Her husband arrived on the scene while the suspects were still there, but they lied to him by saying the driver had already left the scene. He identifies the car only as a blue sedan with a license plate starting with H20.

I’m not sure if the police have been contacted yet. So if you may have seen the incident or have any information, email me at the address on the About page, and I’ll forward it to the appropriate people.

Dooring is always the fault of the driver or passenger; CVC 22517 requires anyone opening a door into traffic to wait until it’s safe to do so and can be done without interfering with traffic.

Let’s spread the news and see if we can catch these guys.

Update: I’m told the victim suffered a partially collapsed lung, broken clavicle and required multiple staples for a head wound; she was in surgery as this is being written. 

A gofundme account established to help defray medical expenses has raised $6,000 of a requested $10,000 in just three hours; she’ll need a lot more than that to pay for hospitalization and surgery.

Thanks to Kyle Murray for providing information in this case.


Bellflower bike rider killed in August hit-and-run; one-third of LA County bicycling deaths are hit-and-runs

Sometimes bad news takes a long time to surface.

That’s what happened Tuesday, as word finally broke that a bike rider was killed in a Bellflower hit-and-run last August.

According to the Press-Telegram, 60-year old Bradley Miller was riding on Lakewood Blvd north of Rosecrans Ave a little after 11 pm on August 18th when he was struck by an unidentified vehicle.

Sheriff’s deputies have little information on the car or the driver, and no details were released on how the wreck occurred.

Anyone with information is urged asked to call the Lakewood Station’s Traffic Office at 562/623-3500.

This is the 67th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 27th in Los Angeles County. Twelve of those have been victims of hit-and-runs, as have nine of the deaths in LA County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Bradley Miller and his family.


Mountain biker dies from trail fall in Riverside County

Sad news from the Inland Empire, as a mountain bike rider has been found dead following a fall on a Riverside County trail.

According to the Idyllwild Town Crier, the body of 57-year old Pinyon resident James Thomas was discovered on nearby trail around 8 pm Sunday.

He had been riding downhill on a dirt trail two-tenths of a mile southwest of California 74 and Pinon Flats Transfer Station Road around 1:55 pm, when he apparently lost control after hitting a rocky patch.

Thomas suffered significant head injuries, despite wearing a helmet. He was found by a hiker about six hours later.

The story does not report how the authorities can be so specific in pinpointing the time of the crash.

This should serve as a tragic reminder to always tell someone where you’re going, and give them a time when you’ll be back.

This is the 68th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Riverside County. He is the second SoCal trail rider to be killed in a solo fall since the first of the year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for James Thomas and his family.


Morning Links: 77-year old victim of bike hit-and-run dies, arrest made in Expo Park road rage murder case

Sadly, the 77-year old Echo Park man injured in a collision with a bicyclist has died.

The Eastsider reports Levon Avetisyan was crossing Glendale Blvd on his way to Echo Park Lake on October 15th, when he was hit by a rider described only as a white man in his 40s. He was hospitalized in grave condition with severe head trauma, and passed away on Sunday.

While police have described this case as a hit-and-run, the rider initially did the right thing by remaining at the scene until paramedics arrived. However, he left before police arrived, without leaving his name or contact information.

It’s possible the rider may not have realized he needed to stay, just like he would in any other injury collision.

If you know this person, tell him to contact a lawyer, then come forward by calling LAPD Central Traffic Division detectives at 213-833-3713.


In case you missed it earlier, an arrest has finally been made in the alleged road rage death of a bike rider next to Expo Park last month.

Or more precisely, the arrest of the suspect has finally been announced.

Thirty-five year old Ruben Wharton Vanegas was killed after he reportedly got into an argument with the driver of an SUV on October 15th. A witness reported that the driver pushed him off his bike, then threatened to run over him, before doing exactly that.

Word broke today that police had actually arrested 32-year old Andrew Williams just four days after the fatal argument; he was held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Williams was scheduled to be arraigned on charges of murder and felony hit-and-run yesterday, but the hearing was put off until November 20th. He faces 25 years to life if convicted on all charges.

Why there was no public announcement of the arrest until now is unclear.


The breaking news overshadowed Wednesday’s guest post from LA BAC member Jonathan Weiss discussing when it’s legal to ride two or more abreast, and why.

It’s a must read for anyone who rides with friends or in a group. Not to mention law enforcement officers at every level, since the law is often misinterpreted and cyclists too often ticketed for something that is legal under California law.


The College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona is hosting a reception to honor famed alternative transportation advocate Gil Penalosa in DTLA on Tuesday the 17th.

This free after-hours reception/mixer is a great opportunity to meet Guillermo “Gil” Penalosa, the founder and chairman of 8-80 Cities, previously served as the commissioner of parks, sport and recreation in Bogotá, Colombia, leading a team that designed and built more than 200 parks and opened 50-plus miles of car-free city roads for biking, walking, running and skating. His team is responsible for initiating the “new Ciclovia” — a program internationally recognized and emulated — which sees 1 million people walk, run, skate and bicycle along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday.

The event will be held at Diego Cardoso Gallery in downtown Los Angeles.  More details and tickets are available here.



LADOT is taking applications for more People Street projects, ranging from parklets to bike corrals.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman says there needs to be a larger discussion of the issues affecting mobility in lower-income communities than just how they fit into a bike-specific box.

CiclaValley gets psyched up for Sunday’s Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill climb competition.

BikeSGV calls for bike riders to turn out at a community open house next Tuesday in support of a proposed bike park at the site of the former Puente Hills landfill.



The 26th annual conference of the Bicycle Tour Network kicked off in San Diego on Wednesday, though some attendees had their flights delayed or diverted due to an active shooter near the airport.

Bicyclists present the results of a Lodi bike summit on how to make the city a cycling destination. Maybe John Fogerty wouldn’t mind being stuck in Lodi again then.

The victim of Tuesday’s Palo Alto bicycling collision was the 52-year old chief operating officer of a San Jose instrument company.

SFist complains that San Francisco police are once again blaming the victim in a fatal bike collision, while refusing to release video that could shed light on the crash; police say the victim should have been riding in a non-existent bike lane.

More bad news from the Sacramento area, as a bike rider was killed in a collision on Wednesday.



Writing for Bicycling Retailer, Rick Vosper looks at the culture of fear that inevitably blames the bike rider, and makes bicycling look more dangerous than it is.

Bike Snob Eben Weiss makes the case for replacing the word accident with the more accurate crash, saying the former is just a cop-out.

Interesting piece from Next City that says business-as-usual fails to engage low-income bike riders.

Former Ford CEO Bill Ford sees a world moving away from the personal car.

Bicycling wants to see photos of your bike-riding dog.

The Honolulu city council considers a proposal requiring any future bike lanes to be approved by the full council, following complaints over the city’s first protected bike lane.

Dallas advocates say the city needs more bike lanes to thrive; it currently has just 41.5 miles of bike lanes, compared to nearly 12,000 miles of lanes for motorized traffic.

Bicycling rates skyrocket after Detroit installs 150 miles of new bike lanes. Soon they’ll object to bike lanes by saying LA is no Detroit.

Actress Keri Russell is one of us, as she and boyfriend/costar Matthew Rhys ride through Brooklyn on his and hers Linus bikes.

A Miami man goes on trial for killing two cyclists while fleeing from the police following a botched car burglary.



Caught on video: Urban mountain bikers take a downhill run through the former stronghold of Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

In a first in North America, Calgary unveiled an entire network of protected bike lanes at once following five years of effort and community engagement; ridership is up 300% on one key corridor.

Ottawa city counselors compromise on a proposal to limit ghost bikes and other roadside memorials, approving a six-month limit rather than the three months recommended by city staff. Although they sort of make up for it with plans for a protected bike lane that takes advantage of barriers protecting the US Embassy.

Cycling Weekly offers up eleven bike maintenance mistakes and how to avoid them. I’m sometimes guilty of number seven, but only until noticing my brakes don’t work the first time I try to stop.

A writer for the UK’s Telegraph says cyclists other than himself are stupid and thoughtless, and giving us all a bad name. Yes, we should all obey the law and ride safely; many, if not most, of us do. But enough with the “I’m okay, you suck” BS.

City Lab looks at the success of the UK’s 20’s Plenty movement; nearly 25% of the country’s population now lives in communities where the speed limit has been lowered to 20 mph.

An Irish cyclist was wearing a helmet and had lights front, back and on his backpack, and a jury still absolves the truck driver who killed him, while calling for reflective wear for cyclists. Evidently, it’s not enough to light yourself up like a Christmas tree anymore.

The Netherlands presents the Tour de France with a bill for over $150,000 after allegedly getting stiffed for hosting the start of this year’s race.

A far reaching Turkish regulation is designed to encourage bicycling rather than public transport, ensuring that bikeways go onto streets with a topography suitable for riding, and connect with public transport.



Forget foam, soon you can protect your skull with helmet made of custom-fit mushrooms. But don’t despair, there may be other uses for your current helmet.

And why sleep outside when you can go bike touring with your very own 100-pound bike-pulled camper?

Other than having to pull 100 pounds plus all your gear, that is.


Update: Arrest made in Expo Park road rage attack; driver charged with murder, hit-and-run

Evidently, it was a secret.

In a surprise announcement, My News LA reports a suspect in last month’s fatal road rage assault near Exposition Park is under arrest — and has been since four days after the October 15th incident.

Thirty-two-year old Andrew Williams was scheduled to be arraigned today on felony counts of murder and hit-and-run in the death of 35-year old Ruben Wharton Vanegas, who had not been previously identified.

That confirms an earlier witness report that Williams had been arguing with Vanegas, and had threatened to run him over before doing exactly that.

Williams has apparently been in jail the past 16 days in lieu of $1 million bond. He faces 25 to life upon conviction, according to the site.

Update: Williams arraignment has been delayed until November 20th.

Morning Links: Calbike ranks LA area state legislators, and no charges in the Texas death of a San Diego cyclist

Great chart from Calbike showing the voting records of LA area legislators on bicycle issues in the recent legislative session.

I’m pleased to see my Assembly Member has a 100% rating.


Sad news from Texas, as a San Diego man on a cross-country ride to bring awareness to homeless vets was killed in a collision last week.

Stephen Michael Clift was riding eastbound on I-40 near Groom, Texas, when he was rear-ended by a driver who admitted looking away and never seeing Clift’s bike before he ran him down.

Apparently, that’s a good enough excuse for drivers in the Lone Star State, since police announced he won’t face charges. Evidently Texas drivers have no responsibility to pay attention while operating multi-ton machines, let alone avoid killing innocent people.

The former participant in the Occupy movement had reportedly given up everything he owned to take part in the March Across America for Homeless Veterans bike tour.



A video from Metro flies viewers through the plans for an improved Union Station, including a bikeshare station scheduled for next year, and a new Bike Hub due in two years.

CiclaValley details the first part of his journey from LA to San Diego by bike for the recent Calbike Bicycle Summit.

The Santa Monica Spoke offers details on the official launch of the Breeze bikeshare program a week from tomorrow in front of SaMo City Hall.

The Long Beach city council considers improving access to the LA River bike path, including a traffic signal opposed by some residents.

Former Long Beachers The Path Less Pedaled are headed back down to SoCal for a visit.



A student at Fullerton College explains why she is afraid to ride a bike to campus. Although she’s mistaken about one thing; bicyclists are allowed to ride in the full lane on any street where the right lane is too narrow to safely share with a motor vehicle.

San Diego responds to the death of a 15-year old boy by looking into safety improvements on the street, including bike lanes.

The San Diego Union-Tribune offers advice for runners and riders on how to stay safe after dark, including a warning to watch out for wild animals.

Still more news from San Diego, as the suspected bike thief who stabbed a cop trying to stop him pleads not guilty to four counts, including attempted murder of a police officer.

Sad news from Palo Alto, as well, as a bike rider was killed while riding on a popular bike route Tuesday morning.

The mother of a fallen San Francisco cyclist calls for safer streets in the wake of his death; police say he was thrown into the path of a bus after his bike got caught in streetcar tracks.

Napa County gets its first green bike lanes in St. Helena.

A Napa bicyclist suffered serious injuries after she allegedly went through a stop sign and was hit by a car. Once again, reports that she actually blew the stop should be taken with a grain of salt unless it can be confirmed by independent witnesses.



The Daily Beast looks at what it call the inevitable event when a self-driving car kills someone on a bike.

The next time you need a royalty-free photo of someone riding in a bike lane, People for Bikes has you covered.

Since Washington state legalized marijuana use, the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes with THC in their systems has nearly doubled.

Gizmodo explains how a former video game designer helped create Salt Lake City’s first-in-the-nation protected intersection.

An Aspen CO man is arrested for DUI twice in just three hours.

The cyclist killed in the Colorado Springs Halloween Day shooting spree was an Iraq veteran and a father of two. Sadly, it might have been prevented; a woman called police to report a disturbed-looking man walking down the street with an assault rifle prior to the shooting, only to be told they couldn’t do anything because the city has an open carry law.

Now that’s taking traffic crime seriously. A Michigan woman will spend the next 25 to 50 years behind bars for the DUI hit-and-run death of an eight-year old boy while he was riding his bike; she had heroin, cocaine and Xanax in her system at the time of the crash.

The Orlando paper offers a reminder not to buy a big box store bicycle-shaped object for the holidays, and suggests getting a clearance bike from your local bike shop for close to the same price instead.



Unbelievable. Not one day behind bars for a Vancouver cop convicted of punching a bicyclist in the head — while handcuffing him for running a red light. He also gets to keep his job, although he does have to pay a whopping $100 restitution.

Evidently, Edmonton’s bike corrals have to hibernate for the winter.

The Guardian looks askance at the crowdfunded proposal to build a floating bikeway through the heart of London on the Thames River. The people behind pseudo-visionary projects like this miss the point; one of the joys of bicycling is the ability to immerse yourself in the city and go wherever you want, rather than be totally isolated from it. Although it might be fun to ride on the famed river once or twice.

Scottish police are looking for a cyclist who pushed a 72-year old bike rider off his bike and punched him repeatedly while riding on a bike path. Sad to see the road rage that has become far too common among motorists spreading to the bike world.

PRI looks deeper into why some refugees are riding bikes across the border between Russia and Norway.

Olso, Norway is investing the equivalent of half a billion dollars in bicycle infrastructure.

A Turkish cyclist explains why he’s traveling the world by bicycle; he hopes to finish his journey by 2020.



If you swerve your truck to crash into your bike-riding friend because he took it the night before and owes you money, you’re probably not really friends. Evidently, an e-bike has to look cool before commuters will use it.

And TV’s Supergirl not only rides a bike, she has one tattooed on her ankle. Like they couldn’t have found a photo of it?


Come back later this morning, when we’ll have a great guest post from LA BAC member Jonathan Weiss explaining your rights to ride two or more abreast in California, reposted from the Velo Club La Grange newsletter.


Update: Bike rider killed in Carson when shipping container falls off flatbed truck

You’ve got to be kidding.

A bike rider lost his life in Carson this evening, for no reason other than he was there.

According to KTLA-5, a man was riding his bike on Santa Fe Avenue near Warnock Way around 5:05 pm Tuesday evening when a shipping container fell off a flatbed truck and landed on him.

He was pronounced dead at the scene; he has not been publicly identified.

The LA Times reports the truck somehow struck a railroad bridge, dislodging the massive container.

To make matters worse, the victim was not even riding in the street. KTLA says he was on the sidewalk when it fell on him, most likely as the truck was passing him.

Based on the limited description, there was absolutely nothing he could have done to avoid it. The only question is whether the driver struck a support, or if the load was too high to pass under the bridge.

This is the 65th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 26th in Los Angeles County.

Update: KABC-7 reports that the coroner’s office has identified the victim only as an Asian male, and confirms that the truck was passing the victim when the load fell off. 

According to a witness, a similar wreck occurred the previous day; fortunately, no one was hurt in that one. He blames trucking companies for cutting corners because truck drivers are on strike at the ports of LA and Long Beach. 

As a result, the companies are hiring flatbed truck drivers who simply strap the containers on, and who are paid by the load, rather than the hour, encouraging them to take chances. 

Today, it may have cost a man his life. 

Update 2: The LA coroner’s office has identified the victim as 51-year old Long Beach resident Robert Castorena.

Update 3:  BAC member David Wolfberg forwards what appears to be Robert Castorena’s Facebook page

Meanwhile, the LA Times fills in details about shipping companies and how the collision occurred; the truck apparently scraped the underneath of the railroad underpass, breaking the cables that secured the container.

No word on whether the driver, or the company he worked for, will face charges. 

Update 4: Police report the driver may face charges depending on the outcome of the investigation; they appear to be looking into whether the load was too high for the bridge. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Robert Castorena and his loved ones.


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