Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Morning Links: Actor doors bike rider, PCH cyclist seriously injured in Malibu crash, and the science of bicycling

Did an actor get special treatment from the LAPD?

In a story that seems to have made news everywhere — except right here in Los Angeles — actor Jeremy Piven allegedly doored a bike rider when he flung his car door open without looking after parking his Cadillac near the Grove.

Yet despite the rider suffering a serious chest injury, Piven escaped without so much as a ticket because the police didn’t see it happen.

Even though CVC 22517 makes it clear that it is the driver’s responsibility to open a door only when it is safe to do so.

No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

Which means that if the rider was hit by the door, the driver was at fault.

Whether or not anyone saw it.

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A bicyclist suffered major injuries in a crash on PCH in West Malibu Wednesday afternoon; the rider reportedly lost control and swerved into the path of a pickup in the northbound traffic lane. Thanks to James Johnson for the heads-up.

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Great piece from Scientific American relates the story of the researcher who finally unlocked the secrets of why a bicycle remains upright and able to balance itself even without a rider; next on his agenda is trying to solve the terrifying speed wobble.

Meanwhile, physics suggests that stopping and starting with both feet on the pedals is more efficient than pushing off with your foot.

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A Chinese bike rider somehow miraculously dodges a barrel-rolling van.

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Twenty-four-year old Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe is making an impact at the Tour de France, while Nairo Quintana is unexpectedly struggling. Five riders could still make the podium in Paris, but no matter what happens behind him, Froome seems to keep his hold on the yellow jersey.

America’s only remaining Tour de France winner says claims that Froome’s Team Sky is dominating the race thanks to marginal gains is “bollocks.”

Peter Sagan will be the world’s best paid pro cyclist after jumping teams next year; he’s reportedly earn $6.6 million. He’s worth it in movie take-off videos alone.

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Local

Investing in Place calls Metro’s upcoming transportation ballot measure a huge leap for walking and biking in Los Angeles County, while recapping just what advocates were able to win in negotiations over the measure.

Streetsblog interviews CicLAvia Executive Director Romel Pascual.

KPCC examines whether it’s better to ride a bike or drive in polluted air.

CiclaValley reminds us that the annual Tour de Laemmle rolls this Sunday.

An employee with the LADOT Bikeways Program describes her multimodal commute to work.

LA cyclist Nick Brandt-Sorenson, aka Strava’s Thorfinn-Sassquatch, was due to be sentenced Wednesday to up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for peddling performance-enhancing drugs, just days after receiving a lifetime ban from US cycling’s governing body.

The Daily News says you’re a step closer to being able to ride your bike from Canoga Park to Griffith Park. Only one of which actually is one.

 

State

Bikeshare and ebikes factor into California’s aggressive zero emissions goals.

New bike lanes are planned for West Newport Beach, along with improvements to sidewalks and landscaping to encourage people to walk and bike.

Garden Grove’s draft Active Transportation Plan envisions a city where cars, bikes and pedestrians can move in harmony.

Authorities say 25-year old Zachariah Doll was wearing dark clothing, had no lights or reflectors on his bike and was riding salmon when he was killed in an early morning collision in the Riverside County town of Winchester last week.

A San Francisco survey shows most drivers want protected bike lanes, too.

Calbike is hiring a Communications Director to work in their Oakland office.

Pleasanton cyclists call on the city to improve a dangerous intersection where a 72-year old woman was killed recently while riding in the crosswalk.

Redding police arrest a junkie bank robber who tried to make his escape by BMX bike.

 

National

A new report from NACTO says that as cities build bike infrastructure, the rate of bicycling goes up while the risk to riders goes down.

If you build it, they will come. A real estate website says the belief that Millennials are eschewing suburbs ain’t necessarily so — as long as those suburbs have good sidewalks and bike lanes.

An 81-year old Denver driver who kept driving after fatally striking a 14-year old boy standing in a bike lane was still allowed to behind the wheel despite a previous hit-and-run last year — even though family members promised she wouldn’t drive anymore. It’s up to family members to keep older drivers off the road when they can no longer drive safely, since the government is unable, or unwilling, to do it.

Apparently, a Dallas bank was robbed by a bike-riding pirate.

Apparently taking a cue from Donald Trump, Skokie IL will allow residents to build fences up to ten feet high along a new bike path. No word on whether Mexico will pay for it, however.

Atlantic City police arrested an alleged serial hit-and-run driver for DUI after he crashed into a street sign, followed by a cyclist, followed by a car, before finally coming to rest after striking a toll booth. Fortunately, the bike rider only suffered bruises; no word on whether the sign, car and toll booth survived.

A New York driver faces 136 years behind bars for killing one man and injuring two others when he smashed into a business at 50 mph while high on meth; a bike rider was also injured by flying debris.

When Charleston SC approves a controversial bike lane over a local bridge, the local paper approves of their approval.

Bighearted Alabama cops buy a new bicycle for a child after he unintentionally bought a stolen bike with his $7 allowance.

Only 850 miles of the planned 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway are currently ready to ride; plans are for 95% of the off-road bike path to be completed by 2030.

 

International

Bikes are enjoying a renaissance and bridging class barriers in Santiago, Chile.

Vancouver finally rolls out a delayed and truncated bikeshare system, with just 260 of the promised 1,500 bikes currently ready to ride.

Like bikes that pass in the night, a single speed cyclist seeks a fixie rider she met under the Thames.

More anti-bike sabotage in the UK, as someone strung fishing wire neck high over a popular Belfast bike trail.

An Indian computer professor was forced to abandon a long-distance bike tour across the country due to illness after riding 2,200 miles in 23 days.

Singapore becomes the next city to embrace bikeshare with a 1,000-bike system using 100 docking stations.

 

Finally…

Call it Fifty Shades of Bicycles. Don’t ride your bike off a cliff into the ocean, bro.

And if you’re carrying stolen credit cards and a meth pipe on your bike, ride your damn bike on the right side of the road.

Seriously.

Riverside County bicyclist killed in early morning collision

The Riverside Press-Enterprise is reporting that another bike rider has fallen, in the unincorporated community of Winchester in Riverside County.

According to the paper, 25-year old Winchester resident Zachariah Doll was riding on Highway 79 at Patterson Avenue when he was run down from behind by the driver of a Chevy pickup at 3:18 this morning.

He was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:44 am.

The driver remained at the scene, and did not appear to be under the influence.

There’s other information available at this time, and no word on whether Doll had lights and reflectors on his bicycle.

A street view shows a narrow, two lane rural highway with no paved shoulders, and no visible speed limit sign.

This is the 49th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Riverside County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Zachariah Doll and all his family and friends.

 

Update: Long Beach bike rider killed in Saturday morning hit-and-run by driver of stolen car

KNBC-4 reported Saturday morning that a woman was killed in a hit-and-run wreck while riding her bicycle early that morning.

The collision occurred around 1:20 am in the 400 block of East Market Street.

According to an article posted today by the Long Beach Gazettes, the victim, who was not publicly named, was riding westbound with a friend in the center median on Market when she was struck by a speeding car.

Emergency personnel found her lying unconscious in the eastbound lane; she was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The driver was illegally passing another car when he or she struck the victim’s bike from behind before fleeing the scene.

Police later found the vehicle, a 2013 Kia Optima, abandoned 5300 block of Atlantic Avenue. The car, which had a smashed windshield and major front end damage, had been reported stolen in a carjacking the day before.

There’s no word on why the couple were riding in the painted center lane instead of in the traffic lane, where they presumably would have been protected by the car that was being passed.

Police are looking for four people who were reportedly in the the stolen car at the time of the crash. Anyone with information is urged to call Long Beach collision investigations detective Brian Watt at 562/570-5520; tips can also be reported online at www.lacrimestoppers.org.

This is the 48th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and 20th in Los Angeles County. And it’s at least the tenth fatal bike crash in Long Beach since 2010.

Update: The victim has been identified only as a white woman in her 40s, pending notification of next of kin.

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

Medical researcher died following May bicycling injury in Pacific Palisades

Too often, when a bike rider is injured, the story never makes the news.

And even if it does, we may not learn how it turned out for weeks afterwards. If ever.

That’s what happened in this case, as word has just come in that Dr. Keith Nolop, a 63-year old resident of Pacific Palisades, died on May 31st after suffering head injuries while riding his bike in the Palisades on May 6th.

I’m told told his injuries occurred on Temescal Canyon Road.

No other information is available at this time. There’s no word on whether there was a vehicle involved, or exactly where the crash occurred.

The neighborhood Palisades Post reports he worked as a medical researcher, helping to develop the sinus treatment Nasonex, as well as a groundbreaking melanoma treatment and other highly-engineered cancer therapies.

That’s in addition to writing over 50 peer-reviewed articles and holding several patents.

This is the 47th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 19th in Los Angeles County; it’s also the fifth in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Dr. Keith Nolop and all his loved ones. 

Update: Bicyclist killed in Baldwin Park collision Thursday night

Another SoCal bike rider has lost his life, struck by a car in Baldwin Park.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the victim, believed to be a 30-year old Baldwin Park resident, was crossing Baldwin Park Blvd on La Rica Avenue when he was hit by a BMW traveling north on Baldwin Park at 9:23 pm.

A helicopter was called to rush him to emergency treatment, but he succumbed to his injuries before it arrived, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The 19-year old driver remained at the scene and cooperated with police.

The paper describes the intersection as having stop signs on La Rica, but uncontrolled on Baldwin Park. There’s no word on which direction the victim was riding or if he stopped before entering the intersection, or how fast the driver was traveling.

A street view shows a four lane divided roadway that would encourage high speed travel at that hour.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Baldwin Park Police at 626/960-1955.

This is the 46th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 18th in Los Angeles County. That compares with 34 in SoCal Last year, and 14 in the county.

Update: The victim has been identified as 30-year old James Hernandez, who lived just around the corner from where he was killed.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for James Hernandez and his loved ones.

Bicyclist killed in Oxnard hit-and-run; 17-year old driver arrested

Apparently, you’re never too young to take a life while driving under the influence.

The Ventura County Star reports a bike rider was killed in an Oxnard hit-and-run Friday morning, and the 17-year old driver taken into custody minutes later.

Forty-two-year old Oxnard resident Gregory Dominguez was riding near the intersection of Lakehurst Street and Janetwood Drive a little after 7 am Friday when he was struck by an SUV.

The driver continued down Lakehurst, knocking down numerous mailboxes before crossing the road, and crashing into a magnolia tree with enough force to knock it down.

The driver, who has not been publicly identified, then fled the scene on foot, but was arrested nearby. Police say drugs or alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.

Dominguez was taken to the Ventura County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The Star reports local residents have tried in vain to get city officials to do something about speeding drivers on what should be a quiet, residential street.

Evidently, they need to do something about teenage drivers who are drunk or stoned at seven in the morning, as well.

This is the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Ventura County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Gregory Dominguez and all his loved ones.

Update: LA cyclist killed in multiple car Beverly Grove hit-and-run

Another bike rider has been murdered by a hit-and-run driver.

LA’s KNBC-4 broke the news late last night that a bike rider had been taken to a hospital in critical condition following a hit-and-run collision in the Beverly Grove neighborhood.

Sadly, the station confirmed this morning that the victim, identified only as a 58-year old man, has died.

According to the news report, he was riding on the 100 block of North Crescent Heights Blvd, between Beverly Blvd and First Street, around 9 pm Tuesday night when he was rear-ended by the driver of a red Ford SUV, who fled the scene.

He was struck with enough force to throw his body 75 feet, landing near the driveway at 109 N Crescent Heights, where he was struck by another vehicle; that driver stopped and cooperated with police.

It’s likely the SUV driver was exceeding the 35 mph speed limit to strike the victim with that much force.

Screen grab from KNBC report

Screen grab from KNBC report

His bike, a blue road bike with green handlebar tape, lay mangled on the side of the road. A red tail light is visible on the seat post.

The driver of the SUV fled on foot after crashing into a parked car a block away, leaving her wrecked car behind. Initial reports indicated the driver was a woman, but police were unable to confirm that.

The station reports both the victim and the driver of the SUV were westbound; however, it appears they were actually traveling south, since it’s a north-south street.

Crescent Heights is afour-lane street,  mostly residential, with commercial buildings on the major cross streets. The right lane is a mixed traffic and parking lane; at that hour, it’s likely there would have been numerous parked cars, pushing him into the left lane to avoid the zone.

Police say the second driver won’t face any charges.

It’s impossible to know which of the vehicles struck the fatal blow. However, the driver of the SUV should face a homicide charge, since she — or he — made the decision to flee the scene, and leaving the victim unprotected to be struck by another car.

This is the 44th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th in LA County; it’s also the fourth in the City of Los Angeles.

Update: KNBC has updated their report to say the driver was a woman, but police have no other description at this time.

Update 2: The Beverly Press reports the victim is a 59-year old Santa Monica resident, but still has not been publicly identified.

According to the paper, he was headed west on 1st Street and ran a stop sign to cross Crescent Heights, as well as ignoring a right-turn only sign; if the driver had stopped, she might have been released without charges. 

Instead the driver, who was operating a rental car, is wanted for felony hit-and-run. Police are trying to identify who had rented the SUV. 

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

 

Guest Post: The cost of traffic violence — the daughter of a distracted driving victim speaks out

Last year, an alleged distracted driver plowed into a cyclist in Moorpark, then swerved into motorcyclist coming in the opposite direction, killing them both.

Recently, the daughter of one of those victims asked for the opportunity to tell her story. 

This is what she has to say.

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Hailey Cushman’s Story

My name is Hailey Cushman and I am Jesse Cushman’s only biological child. My dad was killed on September 12th, 2015 on his way home from work from BMW Motorcycles located in Ventura. He was hit head-on on his motorcycle in Moorpark, CA by Rachel Hill, who was later found to have been texting and driving. Hill first hit bicyclist Maciek Malish then over-corrected and swerved to hit my father. Both men were killed on impact but Hill only walked away with scratches. In fact, Hill was caught taking pictures of her injuries and posting them on her Facebook the next day as if the accident was humorous to her. This tragic event happened just 9 days before my 21st birthday (in which I had plans that were immediately cancelled and never rescheduled). Dad was going to be 44 years young in October 2015. He was born in Simi Valley, CA but lived most of his life in Reno, NV, which is where I live. Within a couple days of the accident I was down in Fillmore, CA, where dad currently lived with my grandmother, Jorja, and my stepmother, Julia. Julia and dad married in 2002. When dad moved to Southern California he was brought closer to his biological father, Joe Freas, who lives in Thousand Oaks, CA. Joe and dad were in the process of trying to rekindle their relationship after years of separation.

As a child I was lucky to have never experienced a close death in the family but that aspect has also made losing my father at this age extremely difficult for me. My dad had an exciting, fulfilling and fun life. My dad was Batman! My dad and Julia were heavily involved with cosplay and all things comics. Dad had several Batman suits that were so legit that he was in several professional photo shoots. That year dad and Julia won free tickets to the San Diego Comic Con, which they had been trying to attend for years. Dad and I enjoyed doing a lot together when I would come visit in the summer time; we would go boogie boarding in Malibu, go to Six Flags Magic Mountain several times a month (it was our favorite together), race quads (he raced professionally but he also taught me how to ride and I was too racing at just 5 years old). As a family, we would frequently play video games and board games as they owned a plethora of Monopoly games and superhero video games. We would even get the whole family involved with Rockband and have somebody on each instrument. Another big part of my dad and Julia’s life was motorcycles. They were a part of the local STAR riding chapters where they would do toy drives, poker runs and many other fun rides with the group. My grandma would always worry about dad on his motorcycle because she knew the risks but both dad and Julia were very cautious riders. I guess this proves that no matter how cautious you are in life you can never fully protect yourself from others.

Since I lost my dad my life has changed forever. I’ve had to see more psychiatrists lately for stress, anxiety and depression in order to keep my job and continue my college education (which I am close to finishing). I am so young and I have so much of my life ahead of me but my father will not be able to be there to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, be there at the birth of his grandchildren, see me graduate college or buy my first house. The Cushman and Malish family’s lives have forever been changed and will always hurt when we think about this tragic incident. We try to put our minds at ease by thinking about how Rachel Hill will have to live with what she has caused these two families for the rest of her life as well, but unfortunately, we are unable to rely upon the justice system to make her accountable. We have recently been told by the Ventura County District Attorney’s office that Hill may not even receive any jail time but only community service. The Ventura County District Attorney’s office is certainly corrupt. The CHP took 8 months to complete the police report to ensure they had all the information and evidence to create a strong case. The CHP’s recommendation was that Hill should be charged with a felony of two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Within 2 weeks of the Ventura County District Attorney receiving the case they decide that Hill only be charged with a misdemeanor!

Now, I am a smart and educated person. I have been going to school for 16 years (total) and this is not what I was taught in how our justice system operates! When you kill another person due to reckless driving you go to jail! End of story! Rachel Hill is only getting a slap on the wrist for killing TWO innocent people. I spoke with the assistant District Attorney who informed me that they did not have enough evidence to prove gross negligence, even though they had all of Rachel’s text message conversations showing she was texting while driving leading up to the accident. Hill has been able to spend the last 9 months with her family through the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, which were especially hard times for both the Cushman and Malish families. Now that Father’s Day is less than one week away my heart aches just thinking about that empty feeling I will have now not being able to celebrate it with my dad. No amount of money or punishment on Rachel Hill’s behalf will ever bring my father or Maciek Malish back but it would at least be nice to have a piece of mind knowing that Rachel Hill’s life would be forever affected with jail time, a felony and two counts of manslaughter on her record for the rest of her life the same way that our family will forever be devastated about this loss and injustice. Not a single person I have spoken to agrees with the District Attorney’s decision of a misdemeanor (besides the Hill family). We need to bring attention to this obvious injustice and corruption of our justice system by bringing publicity to this case for both the Cushman and the Malish family in hopes to one day begin to heal from this tragic loss.

From left to right: dad, Julia, grandma and me. Disneyland 2012 celebrating mine and Julia's graduation, grandmas birthday and dad and Julia's anniversary.

From left to right: Dad, Julia, Grandma and me. Disneyland 2012 celebrating my and Julia’s graduation, grandma’s birthday and Dad and Julia’s anniversary.

Dad and Julia's wedding picture: June 12th, 2002.

Dad and Julia’s wedding picture: June 12th, 2002.

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

My favorite picture of dad and I at Disneyland.

My favorite picture of Dad and I at Disneyland.

R.I.P. Jesse Cushman. I love you!

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Reducing, let alone eliminating, traffic fatalities will be impossible as long as prosecutors refuse to take even the most egregious cases like this seriously. 

If you’re as angry as I am about this case, contact Ventura County DA Gregory D. Totten, and politely — but firmly — demand that the case be re-filed as a felony.

Hailey, and all the families and loved ones of both victims, deserve better.

As do we all.

Update: Bicyclist killed in Cathedral City hit-and-run Saturday morning

Yet another Southern California bike rider has died at the hands of a cowardly hit-and-run driver.

According to the Desert Sun, a man was hit by a car while riding his bicycle around 10 am Saturday morning on Ramon Road between Crossley Road and Landau Boulevard in Cathedral City.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, died of his injuries at a local hospital.

The driver continued without stopping; police believe the suspect is driving a green Jeep Cherokee with possible damage to the passenger side.

A street view shows a four lane highway with a center turn lane, and a 45 mph speed limit; however, the design of the road would appear to encourage higher speeds.

Anyone with information is urged to call Cathedral City Police at 760/770-0303.

This is the 43rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Riverside County. It’s also the third fatal bike crash in Cathedral City in the last nine months.

Update: Cathedral City police detained, but have not yet arrested, a suspect in the crash, acting on a tip from a local resident. 

The victim, who has still not been publicly identified, was riding west on Ramon when he was run down just west of Landou

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 60-year old Cathedral City resident Clay Charles Triolo. Prosecutors are still reviewing the case to determine if charges will be filed.

Although considering the driver fled the scene before eventually turning himself in, felony hit-and-run should be a given.

My deepest sympathy for Clay Charles Triolo and his loved ones.

Bicyclist killed, building destroyed in Compton collision

Reports are coming in that a bike rider was killed in Compton this morning, and a building partially destroyed by an out-of-control driver.

According to KTLA-5, the crash occurred on the 1100 block of E. Compton Ave before 10:50 Monday morning, when the driver of a van was reportedly unable to avoid hitting the bicyclist before crashing into the storefront.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, has was pronounced dead at the scene. Attorney James Johnson indicates he may have been a man in his 50s.

There’s no explanation for how the collision occurred or why the driver was unable to avoid striking the rider. However, the position of the victim and his bike, in relation to the impact with the building, suggests he may have been thrown a significant distance by the impact of the crash.

In addition, the building — the site of a planned real estate office — suffered significant structural damage and may have to be red tagged, implying that the wreck may have occurred at a high rate of speed.

In a report that is not yet online, KABC-TV places the impact at 10:27 am at 1137 E Compton Blvd.

They also report the driver taken into custody, although other reports indicate he was injured and taken to a hospital for treatment.

You can view the KABC report in a cellphone video recorded by a viewer.

This is the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th in Los Angeles County.

That compare with just 24 in SoCal on this date last year, and ten in the county. It’s also the fourth bicycling death in Compton since 2011.

Update: According to KNBC-4, the driver was headed west on Compton when he somehow veered across three lanes of traffic to hit the victim head-on before slamming into the building.

The 22-year old driver was found unconscious following the crash. 

The victim had apparently just stopped for food; a shopping bag lay on the sidewalk next to his body.

Meanwhile, KABC still hasn’t posted their report online. However, an update to the story suggests the driver was not taken into custody as originally reported.

The station reports that, while the investigation is ongoing, police describe it as just a tragic accident — despite the description in the KNBC story. 

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

Thanks to Michael MacDonald and James Johnson for the heads-up, and to Vanessa for the cellphone video. 

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