Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Man killed riding bicycle on 405 Freeway in Long Beach; fifth Long Beach bike death this year

Once again, someone has been killed trying to ride a bicycle on a Southern California freeway.

According to the Long Beach Post, a 39-year old man was riding a bicycle in the auxiliary lane of the northbound 405 Freeway in Long Beach around 10 pm on Friday.

As he approached Woodruff Ave, he was struck by a car driven by an 83-year-old Long Beach man.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Long Beach Report explains that the auxiliary lane is added to a freeway to allow drivers to speed up or slow down to get on or off.

There’s no word on why the victim was riding on a limited-access highway where bicycles are prohibited, and the driver would have no reason to expect one. And no word on whether the victim had lights on his bike, although the freeway itself should have been lighted.

This is at least the 50th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 22nd that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County. It’s also the fifth bicyclist killed in Long Beach this year.

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

 

65-year old Palm Desert woman killed when driver jumps curb and hits her bike

It’s not surprising that a painted bike lane may not seem safe as drivers speed by at 55 mph or more.

But sometimes, the sidewalk isn’t safe, either.

According to the Desert Sun, a 65-year old woman was killed when she was struck by a pickup driver as she was riding on a Palm Desert sidewalk.

The victim, later identified as Palm Desert resident Thereseem Smith, died at the scene.

She was riding on the sidewalk next to northbound Highway 74 near Haystack Road around 7:20 Monday morning. A driver traveling in the opposite direction veered across two northbound lanes and a painted bike lane before jumping the curb and slamming into Smith’s bike, knocking her into a grassy area several yards away.

Sheriff’s deputies found the driver unresponsive. Paramedics took the 61-year old Palm Desert man, who hasn’t been publicly identified, to a local hospital in unknown condition.

It’s not clear at this time whether he was injured as a result of the crash, or if he may have crashed due to a medical emergency, or for some other reason.

This is at least the 49th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh that I’m aware of in Riverside County. She’s also the second bike rider killed in Palm Desert in the last two months.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Thereseem Smith and all her loved ones.

82-year old Long Beach man dies after crash on Los Coyotes Diagonal; 4th Long Beach bike death this year

On Friday, we mentioned that an 82-year old man was critically injured while riding his bike on deadly Los Coyotes Diagonal in Long Beach.

Sadly, news broke on Saturday that the victim has died.

According to the earlier story, the elderly man, publicly identified only as a Long Beach resident, was struck by a driver near the intersection of Los Coyotes Diagonal and Clark Ave around noon Thursday.

He was transported to a local hospital with injuries to his upper body.

A press release from the Long Beach Police Department places the time of the crash as 11:55 am, and moves the location slightly north to Los Coyotes Diagonal north of Stearns Street.

The victim was riding east across Los Coyotes Diagonal when he was struck by a driver in the left northbound lane.

He may have simply been trying to cross the nightmare of an intersection, where two major streets transect the massive six-lane boulevard, when he ran out of time to get all the way across.

The 19-year old driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators. The police say he was not impaired or distracted at the time of the crash.

Something they wouldn’t know for certain unless they had examined his phone; it’s not clear if they have actually done that, or are simply taking his word.

However, in this case, blame can most likely be placed on a street and intersection that is simply not designed for fragile human lives.

Anyone with information is urged to call Long Beach Police Detective Allen Duncan at 562/570-7355, or call anonymously to 800/222-8477.

This is at least the 48th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 21st that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

It’s also at least the fourth traffic-related bicycling fatality in Long Beach since the first of the year, and the second on Los Coyotes Diagonal, in what has been a horrible year for LA County’s second largest city; another man died while competing in a Long Beach bike race last month.

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

 

Man killed riding bike in Sunland hit-and-run; LAPD waits two weeks to ask for public help

Sometimes it seems like LA neighborhoods like Sunland must be on the far side of the world, where it can take weeks for news to filter out.

Or maybe, for whatever reason, the LAPD just doesn’t want us to know what’s going on.

That’s because word finally broke on Friday that a man was killed in a hit-and-run over two weeks ago in the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood.

Why they waited so long to release the news is known only to them.

Especially when both the city and the state have adopted a yellow alert system intended to alert residents to hit-and-runs within hours, when there’s a far better chance of actually catching the driver.

Not two weeks later, after the driver has had his or her car fixed or hidden. And any potential witnesses may have forgotten exactly what they saw.

Instead, the LAPD waited until Friday to release news of the crash, when they asked for the public’s help finding the driver who fled the scene of the Sunland crash after killing a bike rider on Friday, August 23rd.

According to the Daily News, the victim, publicly identified only as a 55-year old Tujunga man, was riding west on Foothill Boulevard at Oro Vista Avenue at 2:15 am when he was rear-ended by driver and thrown into a parked car.

He died at a nearby hospital.

His killer continued without stopping.

Police are looking for what is believed to be a late model Prius with likely damage to the front passenger side. No description of the driver is available.

Anyone with information is urged to call Valley Traffic Division Officer J. Takishita at 818/644-8116, or anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS. As always, there is a $50,000 reward for any fatal hit-and-run in the City of Los Angeles.

This is at least the 47th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 20th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; it’s also the tenth in the City of LA.

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

Longtime bicycle industry executive Chad Peterson died following Labor Day bike crash near Ortega Highway

Trade industry publication Bicycle Retailer and Industry News is reporting that Chad Peterson, Chief Operating Officer and Product Director for mountain bike maker Intense has died following a crash on Labor Day.

According to a press release from the Temecula-based company, Peterson was riding near Ortega Highway on Monday when he somehow became injured. He succumbed to his injuries the following day.

Unfortunately, no details are available. It’s not known at this time if he was injured while riding offroad, which seems most likely, or in some other way.

Chad Peterson originally entered the bike industry as a bike mechanic following college, before starting as a mountain bike product manager for Cannondale in 1999.

He moved to Intense nearly six years ago, following stops at Patagonia, Brooks England, Selle Royal and Crankbrothers.

He leaves behind his wife of 20 years, as well as two sons, the oldest of whom is a recent Marine Corp recruit.

This is how the company’s press release summed up their loss, concluding with Peterson’s favorite quote.

Chad’s strong spirit will live on in our memories,” stated Jeff Steber, INTENSE founder and CEO. “He lived his life INTENSE and his drive for cycling inspired the majority of the bikes created since his arrival. There is no person that represents INTENSE For Life in a better way than Chad has. He felt like our Superman here—always invincible—and his passing will continue to not seem real.

“It’s all OK in the end. If it is not OK, it is not the end!”

This is at least the 46th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year.

It’s unclear at this time if Peterson was injured while riding in Orange County or Riverside County; it would either be the ninth bicycling death in Orange County, or the seventh in Riverside.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Chad Peterson and all his family and loved ones.

 

Man killed by hit-and-run driver while walking bike across street in South LA

Yet another bike rider has been murdered by a heartless coward on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

According to KABC-2, the victim was struck by a driver around 11:50 pm last night near 92nd Street and Grape Avenue in the Florence-Graham neighborhood of South LA.

The driver fled the scene, apparently without stopping, leaving his victim to die in the street.

The victim, publicly identified only as a man in his 50s, was dead by the time first responders arrived.

KCBS-2 provides more details, reporting that the victim was walking his bike across the street, though it’s unclear whether he was crossing 92nd or Grape.

He was found surrounded by aluminum cans, leading police to conclude he made his living by recycling them.

There’s no information available on the suspect or his or her vehicle at this time, and it was unclear which direction the driver fled.

It seems likely the victim was crossing 92nd, since it’s a through street, which would enable the driver to travel at high speed at that hour; 92nd has two lanes with a center left turn lane and bike lanes in each direction, while Grape is an unlined residential street that dead ends into 92nd.

The crash comes barely over 24 hours after Frank Mendez messaged to say he witnessed the aftermath of another crash just half a mile away at 92nd and Compton, suggesting a major safety problem on the street; fortunately, the victim did not appear to be seriously injured in that collision.

This is at least the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 19th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; it’s also the ninth in the City of Los Angeles.

At least six of those deaths in the county have resulted in hit-and-runs, half of which occurred below the 10 Freeway.

Yet city, county and state officials have done virtually nothing to halt hit-and-runs, even though a recent report found only 1% of LA hit-and-runs result in a conviction.

And meanwhile, we are literally being left to bleed — if not die — in the streets.

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

Thanks to Sean Meredith for the heads-up.

Downey man dies after crashing in Long Beach masters race; victim identified as Beverly Hills teacher Gerry Gutierrez

Sadly, we got yet another tragic reminder today that bike racing can be a dangerous sport.

And this time, it happened in our own back yard.

The following notice went out Thursday from the El Dorado Race Series by Bikeable Communities, via email and Facebook.

Tuesday at the El Dorado Race Series in Long Beach.

We are deeply saddened to report that our friend and colleague Gerry Gutierrez passed away earlier today.

We know that everyone in our community is saddened at this incredible loss and want to give heart felt condolences to his wife, Stephanie, to his entire family and his many many friends. He truly was a very special member of our community and a beloved family man.

When available we will post any information on a memorial and a location where people can post their condolences and comments about this wonderful and much loved man.

Then there was this in an email from Allyson Vought.

Sadly, Gerry had a crash in the Masters race on the first lap at El Dorado her in Long Beach for reasons yet to be revealed and he never regained consciousness.

I and many others had the great pleasure to know Gerry from our group rides together, and he was a great rider with a warm and engaging soul. His Pop’s, Gerry Gutierrez Sr. was a racer from the 90’s at Eldo as well, and had JUST returned to riding from much prompting from Jr. 

According to Gerry Gutierrez’ Facebook page, he lived in Downey and worked as physical education teacher in Beverly Hills.

Gutierrez posted this from the previous week’s El Dorado race on Facebook.

It was his final post.

 

Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time. Hopefully, we’ll get more details soon.

This is at least the 44th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 18th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Gerry Gutierrez and all his family and loved ones.

Thanks to Allyson Vought and Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Breaking news: Man reportedly killed riding bike near Griffith Park on Thursday

Yesterday someone sent me a photo showing the aftermath of a crash involving a bicyclist on LA’s Griffith Park Blvd.

Sadly, friends of the victim are reporting today that he was killed in the collision, though there is no official confirmation at this time.

The reports indicate the victim, identified by friends as Jeff Jones, was killed when the driver of a white van made a U-turn in front of him.

No time was given for the crash. However, he was supposed to meet a friend at 1 pm, but never arrived. The email I received came shortly after that.

A friend of the victim confirms it was Jones’ bike in the photo.

There’s another vehicle visible at the scene with damage to the right rear quarter panel, which may or may not have been involved in some way.

(Note: I’m not posting the photo here. Family members inevitably read these stories, and can find images of a crash scene very disturbing. If you want to see the photo, which doesn’t show much more that the bike and van, you can click through to it here.)

I’m told Jones was in his mid-50s, and a father. Whose children will now spend the rest of their lives without him.

Photo of Jeff Jones by Josh C.

 

More information and official confirmation when it becomes available.

This is at least the 43rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; it’s also the ninth in the City of Los Angeles.

Update: The Eastsider has confirmed the details of the crash with a detective with the LAPD’s Central Traffic Division. The driver stayed at the scene and was cooperating with investigators.

Update 2: A ghost bike for Jeff Jones will be installed on Wednesday evening.

Update 3: A memorial will be held for Jones at Zuma Beach on Sunday, September 8th.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jeff Jones and his loved ones.

Thanks to Todd Munson and Patrick Pascal for the heads-up. 

Update: Man riding bike home killed by alleged drunken hit-and-run driver in Ontario

Once again, an innocent person has been murdered by a cowardly hit-and-run driver.

A driver who somehow couldn’t manage to avoid getting behind the wheel after drinking, with predictable results.

Allegedly, of course.

But at least this time, the killer was caught a short time later, and not far away.

According to the Fontana Herald News, the victim was riding west on Mission Blvd near Baker Ave in Ontario, just south of the airport, when he was run down sometime early Wednesday morning.

He was found on the shoulder of the road by a passerby, who called police at 1:10 am; no word on how long he’d been there before being discovered.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the paper, he was on his way home, riding west on Mission, when he was somehow struck by a cowardly hit-and-run driver, who left him there to die.

Nearly an hour and a half later, police received a report of a suspicious vehicle less than a block away in a parking lot at 1320 S. Baker Ave.

They found it had major front end damage matching the evidence at the crash scene, while the driver, 31-year old Ontario resident Julio Tapia, was still inside with minor head and face injuries.

He was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI, hit-and-run, and gross vehicular manslaughter.

If there was any real justice, he’d be charged with second degree murder for making a conscious decision to leave the victim of his hit-and-run to die there in the street, rather than calling for help as the law and basic human decency demands.

Assuming he was actually capable of making a decision, and wasn’t so drunk he had no idea what the hell just happened.

He’s being held on a quarter-million dollar bond pending arraignment on Friday.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Ontario Police Department at 909/986-6711 or Officer Brandon Resendez at 909/408-1805.

This is at least the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth that I’m aware of in San Bernardino County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 22-year old Pomona resident Thomas Shane Pinto.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Thomas Shane Pinto and his loved ones.

Update: Unidentified man riding bike killed in Las Flores collision on Oso Parkway

This is why you need to carry ID with you when you ride.

Yes, every time.

According to the Orange County Register, authorities have struggled to identify a man who was killed riding his bike in Las Flores early this afternoon.

The victim, who investigators believe was in his 30s, was riding on westbound Oso Parkway near Antonio Parkway, between Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita, when he was struck by the driver of a pickup around 1:45 pm Monday.

Sheriff’s deputies found the victim sprawled on Oso Parkway, dead on arrival.

The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators. He is not suspected of being under the influence.

There’s no word on how the collision may have occurred, though the severity of the crash implies high speed.

A street view shows a three lane virtual freeway with a painted bike lane on the right, where drivers are likely to exceed the posted 55 mph speed limit — making an unprotected lane dangerously inappropriate.

And yet, somehow, an Orange County fire captain blamed the victim for not wearing a helmet, even though a crash at those speeds is unlikely to be survivable, with or without one.

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

Update: We finally know the identity of the victim, as well as a little more about how the crash happened. 

The sister of the victim has identified him on a GoFundMe page as Pablo Valdez, no age or residence given. 

According to the description, he was killed when the pickup driver pulled out of a gas station without looking.

Which means I was wrong in assuming that speed was a factor. Although it’s still questionable whether a helmet would have helped in this instance, if Valdez really was run over by the truck as his sister writes. 

As of this writing, the GoFundMe page has raised nearly $17,000 of the $20,000 goal.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Pablo Valdez and his loved ones.

Thanks to Kenny Uong for the heads-up

Photo of Pablo Valdez taken from GoFundMe page

 

 

 

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