Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Woman killed by drunk driver while walking bike across Sepulveda Blvd in Manhattan Beach

There’s something seriously wrong when a woman can’t even walk her bike across a street without getting killed by an underage drunk driver.

That’s exactly what happened in Manhattan Beach last night, according to the Daily Breeze.

Thirty-one year old Manhattan Beach resident Amory Borgens was crossing on the 400 block of S. Sepulveda Blvd about 12:20 this morning when she was hit by a speeding car. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died.

The 20-year old driver remained at the scene, and was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter.

However, it’s unclear exactly where the collision occurred, since the story places it near Tennyson Street, which would be the 600 block of South Sepulveda.

satellite view shows no crosswalks in a four block stretch of the busy six-lane street between Artesia Blvd and Longfellow Drive. Regardless, a crosswalk is presumed to exist at every intersection not marked by a No Crossing sign, whether or not one has been painted on the street.

Intentionally or not, the article, which was written by the City News Service, indulges in a remarkable degree of victim blaming, stating it was a “crash between Borgens and a speeding 2003 Toyota Corolla,” and “Borgens was in the roadway when she was struck.”

It’s hard to cross any street without being in it. And she didn’t crash into anything, she was run down by a speeding car.

It should also be noted that the legal alcohol allowed for anyone under the age of 21 is zero.

This is the 12th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Los Angeles County already this year. And it’s the first bicycling fatality in Manhattan Beach in at least the last five years.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Amory Borgens and all her loved ones.

Bike rider killed in South LA collision last week

Sometimes bad news never makes the news.

According to the South LA Sheriff’s Department, a bike rider was killed in a collision with a car last Tuesday, Jan. 26th, at the intersection of Ocean Gate Avenue and 132nd Street in unincorporated LA County. The victim was taken to a local hospital.

Unfortunately, no other details are available.

A street view shows a pair of quiet residential streets; matching that up with the photo in the sheriff’s post suggests that the driver was headed west on 132nd.

A comment to the post says the victim was a boy; she also says the driver had the right-of-way, but may have been speeding. However, there’s no way to verify the comment.

This is the 11th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the third in Los Angeles County. That compares with just two in SoCal this time last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his family.

Thanks to GhostBikes for the heads-up.

Update: Mountain biker found dead after search in Angeles National Forest

An overnight ground and air search for a missing mountain biker led to bad news in the hills above Altadena.

According to KCBS-2, a Torrance man was found dead in the Angeles National Forrest around 10:30 Saturday morning, after going missing while riding on Friday.

The victim, whose name has been withheld pending notification of next of kin, was pronounced dead after his body was discovered on the Brown Mountain Truck Trail.

There were no apparent signs of trauma, which suggests he may have died of natural causes, or perhaps succumbed to exposure from being lost on the mountainside overnight.

This is the 10th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Los Angeles County.

Update: The Pasadena Star News reports that, contrary to the earlier report, the victim did show trauma consistent with a fall. His body was discovered a short distance from his bike, which had been spotted by a hiker around 10 am about three miles up the trail. 

He had gone for a ride Friday morning; a search was initiated at 9 pm Friday when his cellphone was traced to an SUV parked at the trailhead.

Update 2: SFV Media identifies the victim as 49-year old Torrance resident Evan Bruce Sisson. The site reports he was discovered partway down a cliff, with his bike at the base.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Evan Bruce Sisson and his loved ones.

Update: Bicyclist killed Tuesday in Ojai Valley

This has got to stop.

For the fourth time in the last four days, bike rider has been killed in a SoCal collision, this time in Ventura County.

According to the Ventura County Star, a man was hit by a box truck while riding his bike in the Meiners Oaks area of the Ojai Valley just before 1:30 pm Tuesday, as the driver was leaving a private parking lot on East El Roblar Drive east of Felix Drive.

The victim was taken to the Ventura County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. His identification has been withheld pending notification of next of kin.

The driver remained at the scene.

There’s no word on where the victim was on the road or which direction he was riding, or which direction the driver was turning. A street view shows a two lane roadway with a parking lane on either side and a 25 mph speed limit, though that would not seem to be a factor in this case.

Anyone with information is urged to call 477-4100.

This is the ninth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Ventura County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 61-year old Ojai resident Christopher Angelos.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Christopher Angelos and his loved ones.

Update: Bicyclist killed in Santa Ana collision Monday evening

More bad news, as a bike rider was killed crossing a street in Santa Ana.

According to the Orange County Register, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was struck around 6:07 pm at the intersection of 17th and La Bonita Streets. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The New Santa Ana website reports he was north on La Bonita when he was hit by a pick-up; no word on which direction the truck was going.

The driver remained at the scene, and cited darkness as the reason he did not see the victim until it was too late. He was not suspected of being under the influence.

However, according to Google Maps, that address doesn’t exist, although it appears to be the intersection of La Bonita and Westminster Ave, which becomes 17th east of the Santa Ana River.

Assuming that is the correct location, a satellite view shows an uncontrolled six lane street on Westminster, with a 45 mph speed limit and the sort of wide lanes that too often encourage speeding. There is a stop sign on La Bonita at Westminster.

There’s no word on whether the victim had lights or reflectors on his bike. But there are street lights at the intersection, so the rider should have been visible if they were working. So the question becomes why the driver didn’t see the victim before it was too late.

Anyone with information is urged to call Investigator Bao of the Santa Ana Police Department at 714/245-8214.

This is the eight bicycling collision in Southern California already this year, and second in Orange County. It’s also the fifth in Santa Ana in just the last two years.

Update: The Register has identified the victim as 77-year old Huntington Beach resident Thuc Van Nguyen.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Thuc Van Nguyen and his loved ones.

Thanks to Ed Ryder for the heads-up.

Update: Riverside bike rider killed in Sunday collision

Sometimes the news reports are as infuriating as the news itself.

According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, a bike rider was struck and killed at the intersection of Meadowbrook Lane and Jurupa Avenue last night.

The police say the victim, who has been identified only as a man, was headed north on Meadowbrook when he “steered” into the intersection around 7:40 pm, and was struck by the eastbound pickup, whose driver was reportedly unable to stop in time.

The question is what does that mean? The implication is the victim was turning onto Jurupa; however, he also may have been attempting to cross and swerved to avoid the truck at the last minute.

The other question is why wasn’t the driver able to stop in time?

The police press release implies that the cyclist may have run the stop sign on Meadowbrook and ridden out into the path of the truck on the uncontrolled street, where the driver would have the right-of-way. However, that would depend on whether there were independent witnesses other than the driver who saw the victim ride out in front of the truck.

It’s also possible that he may have come to a stop, and simply misjudged the speed of the truck before riding onto the five lane, 45 mph street, or that the driver was speeding, giving the illusion that he had time to turn or cross the street. Or maybe the driver just wasn’t paying attention, and didn’t see the cyclist until it was too late.

Anyone with information is urged to call Traffic Detective Ken Madsen at 951/826-8723.

Hopefully their investigation will go a lot deeper than what’s contained in their press release.

This is the 7th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year,* and the first in Riverside County. It’s also the eight bicycling fatality in Riverside in just the last two years.

Update: Raw video from the scene shows the truck stopped in the center turn lane just beyond the intersection, with the bike stuck underneath, suggesting that the victim was crossing the street when he was struck. It also shows an open bottle of vodka standing upright next to his covered body, implying that he may have been drinking. But be forewarned, the video is very difficult to watch.

*I’ve added the death of a teenager who was killed while walking his bike on the train tracks near Oxnard.

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

Update: 44-year old bike rider killed in Spring Valley collision

Word is just coming in that a bike rider has died following a collision in the La Presa neighborhood of Spring Valley, east of San Diego.

Unfortunately, very few details are available at this time.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the victim suffered severe injuries when he was hit by a vehicle at the intersection of Jamacha Blvd and San Miguel Street at 6:07 pm today, and died after being taken to a trauma center.

No information is available on the identity of the victim, or how the collision occurred, though the paper notes the driver remained at the scene.

A satellite view shows a narrow, gutter zone bike lane in each direction on Jamacha, with San Miguel entering from a small hill, controlled by a stop sign. There appears to be a 45 mph speed limit on Jamacha.

This is the fifth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in San Diego county.

Update: The Union-Tribune has identified the victim as 44-year old Spring Valley resident Raymond Brown. 

The paper reports he was struck by a westbound SUV as the driver was approaching San Miguel Street; a CHP spokesperson said it was unclear which direction Brown was riding or who was at fault. 

However, there’s no word on exactly where the collision occurred; unless the driver was within 100 feet of the intersection, he should not have been driving in the bike lane — assuming that’s where the victim was riding. And even in that case, a cyclist in the bike lane would have the right-of-way.

The paper also notes that Brown was wearing a helmet, even though a collision at the speed posted for the roadway is unlikely to be survivable, with or without one.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Raymond Brown and his loved ones. 

Thanks to Richard Masoner for the heads-up.

Morning Links: An in-depth look at PCH bike wrecks, helmets make you blow up balloons, and they’re onto us

Let’s take a look at one of Southern California’s most popular riding routes.

And one of the most dangerous.

Ed Ryder* has taken a remarkable look at bicycling collisions on the coast highway, sifting through 12 years of SWITRS data complied by the CHP from 2004 through September, 2015. And by whatever name it’s known as it winds through San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles Counties, whether Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), Highway 1, Route 1, Coast Highway or Route 101.

Although you’d think someone, somewhere, would have the good sense to pick one name and stick with it.

As Ryder is quick to point out, local police agencies report injury collisions to SWITRS on a voluntary basis, which means it’s likely that some collisions don’t get reported, and therefore aren’t included in the database. In addition, data is still coming in from the years 2013-2015.

So all of these stats should be read as “at least;” actual figures may be higher. And the quality of information is only as good as what was included in their report.

Types of collisions involved in Ryder’s study include

  • bike vs. car
  • bike vs. bike
  • bike vs. pedestrian
  • bike vs. fixed/movable object
  • bike vs. animal

PCH-Chart-1

So let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

The most common type of wrecks were

  1. broadside collision, 34%
  2. undefined “other,” 23%
  3. sideswipe, 11%
  4. rear end, 9%
  5. striking an object, 8%,
  6. overturned, 6%
  7. collision with a pedestrian, 3%
  8. not stated, 3%
  9. head-on, 3%

The relatively low ranking of the last one may be due in part to the divided design of the highway in many places. And as he notes, when “other” and “not stated” reflect a combined 26% of the totals, it makes it hard to come up with solutions to prevent them.

PCH-Chart-4

Surprisingly, Malibu isn’t the most dangerous city for cyclists on the highway; even when combined with Los Angeles, they only rank second to Newport Beach, which is far and away the riskiest place to ride a bike on the coast highway. Only one city from San Diego County made the top ten.

  1. Newport Beach, 27%
  2. Long Beach, 16%
  3. Huntington Beach, 15%
  4. Los Angeles, 10%
  5. Malibu, 8%
  6. Encinitas, 7%
  7. Laguna Beach, 5%
  8. Oceanside, 5%
  9. Seal Beach, 4%
  10. Redondo Beach, 3%

PCH-Chart-3

Not surprising, however, is who or what is hitting people on bikes, or vice versa. The only surprise is that trucks rank so low on the list.

  1. Moving cars, 74.6%
  2. Solo crashes, 12%
  3. Other riders, 5.7%
  4. Parked vehicle, 3%
  5. Motorcycles, 1.8%
  6. Pedestrians, 1.8%
  7. Trucks, 0.8%

PCH-Chart-4

The good thing is it seems to be getting a little better out there.

PCH-Chart-5

As you would expect based on the earlier chart, Orange County leads the way in bike-involved collisions on the highway, followed closely by Los Angeles County.

PCH-chat-1a

Where fault was assigned, drivers got most of the blame in OC, and cyclists in LA, which could reflect the long-assumed windshield bias of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. San Diego County found more bike riders at fault, but blame was more evenly distributed than in the other two counties.

PCH-Chart-County

And with just a few exceptions, bicyclists were most likely to get the blame, regardless of the type of collision; only in the case of sideswipes were drivers most likely to be found at fault.

PCH-Chart-6

On the other hand, you’re more likely to be the victim of a hit-and-run in LA County.

PCH-Chart-Hit-And-Run

There’s a lot more information in the report — 30 pages worth, in fact. All of it fascinating.

And all of it should be required reading for city and county officials, and anyone else concerned with improving bike safety on one of Southern California’s most scenic and vital riding routes.

You can download the full report here.

*Ed Ryder describes himself as just another bike rider who would like to help make our transportation infrastructure safer for the variety of people who use it, by providing decision makers quality quantitative information with which informed decisions can be made.

Update: An earlier version of this piece mistakenly relied on a previous draft of Ryder’s report, that has been updated to reflect the latest draft.

………

A new study shows that if you wear a bike helmet, you’re more willing to over-inflate a balloon than if you wear a cycling cap. And somehow, extrapolates that to mean you’ll take more chances riding your bike, too.

Sure, let’s go with that.

………

They’re on to us, comrade.

A writer with a severe case of windshield perspective in convinced bicycle riding is just a series of microaggressions stemming from our hatred automobiles and fossil fuels, and designed to physically obstruct traffic.

Never mind that most cyclists drive cars, as well.

All because bike riders in Minneapolis have called for lowering the speed limit a whole 5 mph in order to improve safety for everyone, including those behind the wheel.

Maybe he’d feel better if he got out of his car a little more.

………

Local

A meeting will be held at 6 pm tonight at Venice High School to discuss LA’s Westside Mobility Plan. Show up to demand the bike lanes we were promised on Westwood Blvd, and other key routes in West LA.

LADOT Bike Blog offers a detour guide to get around the closures on the LA River bike path. If it looks complicated, don’t worry. It is.

The LACBC looks at how much bike and pedestrian funding is needed in a proposed transportation sales tax ballot measure, while Damien Newton talks with active transportation advocate Jessica Meaney about efforts to ensure the tax would be used to create stronger communities and address regional mobility needs.

West Hollywood moves forward with plans for putting bike lanes on Fairfax Ave between Fountain and Willoughby.

Better Bike reports the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills voted to make updating the city’s 1977 Bike Master Plan a priority for this year. The old plan, which was never implemented, called for routing bike riders through alleys in the downtown district.

Bike SGV is hosting a free two hour bike commuting and safety class this Saturday.

 

State

The Cal Health Report says, despite the Governor’s lofty rhetoric about climate change, his new budget focuses almost totally on cars and does virtually nothing to promote active transportation.

Family members remember Sidney Siemensma as someone who practically lived for bicycling, a day after his body was found on an Irvine bike path, the apparent victim of a homicide.

The madness continues in Coronado, where the city’s mayor refuses to do anything to improve safety on a dangerous street in apparent fear of self-multiplying traffic signals.

A Victorville bike shop lost nearly $13,000 of high-end bicycles in a burglary.

A judge rules 61 Santa Rosa homeowners have the right to ban bikes, but not pedestrians, from a pathway through their private development.

As expected, San Francisco’s mayor has vetoed the city’s proposed Idaho stop law; the SF Chronicle says it was the right move. Meanwhile, a state legislator tries to make running red lights more legal for motorists. Evidently, stop means stop only if you’re on a bike.

 

National

Bicycling says badass bike patches are back, and recommends five breeds of trail dogs for your next off-road excursion.

A new mountain bike advocacy group forms to fight for access to federal wilderness areas.

Good news from Colorado, as the USA Pro Challenge will go on as planned this year. Evidently, the Challenge refers to finding funding to support the popular, but money-losing race.

Boulder CO councilmembers demand more safety data before transportation officials install street treatments, only to remove them later.

Now that’s more like it. A bike shop in my hometown applies for a beer and wine license to serve suds to their customers.

People for Bikes says the Missouri proposal to require a 15-foot fluorescent flag on all bikes isn’t as funny as you think. I never thought it was funny, myself; idiotic, perhaps, but not funny.

A New York alternative transportation group says the city isn’t doing enough to stop traffic deaths, and at the current rate, won’t meet it’s Vision Zero goals until at least 2055.

A Baltimore letter writer says a recently painted bike lane won’t keep riders safe as long as it forces riders to switch lanes 15 times in 1.2 miles as it moves back and forth to accommodate parking.

 

International

Victoria BC merchants oppose bike lanes on a key street if it means the loss of parking spaces. Because as we all know, customers never, ever arrive on bicycles, and bike riders never spend money anywhere.

A Quebec coroner calls for side guards on trucks and more bike boxes, as well as making riders aware of the dangers of riding into a truck’s blind spot.

A writer for the Guardian wonders why Rapha is the brand so many riders love to hate. Meanwhile, another writer considers the propriety of wearing Lycra into the office following your commute.

Caught on video: Evidently running out of things to be offended by, the British press is shocked! shocked! when a bike courier goes on a profanity-laced tirade at the cab driver who ran over his bicycle — two months ago. As the owner of another currier service pointed out, while his reaction may have been over the top, the rider had a right to be upset since it could have been him under the van.

The former Governator plans to ride the streets of Edinburgh before attending a $2100 per plate black-tie dinner.

A tech website looks at Norway’s 450-foot long bike elevator.

 

Finally…

Your next bike shorts could tell you when you’re doing it wrong. You’re the reason they’re having trouble developing driverless cars.

And a Burbank burglary suspect kindly puts herself where bike thieves belong.

 

69-year old bike rider killed in Calexico; first bicycling fatality in Imperial County since 2012

Sadly, sparsely populated Imperial County’s three year record of no bicycling fatalities ended on Friday.

According to KXO radio, 69-year old Irineo Martinez Martinez was hit by a semi-truck as it was making a right turn while he was trying to cross the road at Cole and Rockwood in Calexico around 8:30 pm Friday.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. No other information is available.

A street view shows a major intersection with at least two lanes in every direction, along with multiple turn lanes; no word on which direction Martinez was traveling, or where the truck was turning.

This is the fourth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Imperial County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Irineo Martinez Martinez and all his family. 

Morning Links: Examining 2015 SoCal bicycling fatalities, and San Diego mountain bikes seized by Marines

Seventy-three.

That’s how many people lost their lives while riding a bicycle in Southern California last year.

While far too many, that is a significant improvement over the year before, when 86 riders were killed on SoCal streets, and in 2013, when 89 people died riding their bikes.

Of those,

  • 29 died in Los Angeles County, compared to 31 in 2014
  • 17 died in Orange County, compared to 20 in 2014
  • 12 died in San Diego County, compared to 9 in 2014
  • 10 died in Riverside County, compared to 13 in 2014
  • 3 died in San Bernardino County, compared to 11 in 2014
  • 2 died in Ventura County, compared to 2 in 2014
  • No one was killed either year in Imperial County

Meanwhile, 11 riders were killed in the City of Los Angeles in 2015, which is the same as in 2014.

Of the 52 Southern California cases where there was enough information to reasonably assign blame, it was evenly divided, with cyclists at fault in 26 of the fatalities, and drivers at fault in the other 26.

A few other key stats from last year,

  • 59 bike riders died in traffic collisions
  • 8 bike riders died in solo falls
  • 3 bike riders died in train collisions
  • 2 bike riders died of natural causes while riding

In addition,

  • 32 of the fatal bicycling collisions occurred at night
  • 23 occurred during the day
  • 7 occurred at dusk
  • 3 occurred at daybreak
  • 12 of the fatal bicycling collisions were hit-and-runs
  • 10 involved drug or alcohol use; in two of those cases, it was the cyclist who was under the influence
  • 2 involved drivers cited for distracted driving
  • No cyclists died as a result of dooring

And in the cases where it was indicated,

  • 16 of the victims weren’t wearing a helmet
  • 9 of the victims were wearing a helmet

It should be noted that these stats are complied primarily through published reports, as well as other confirmed sources. It is likely that one or more fatalities may not have been reported, and therefore, not included in these totals. Not all amounts will add up to total since some factors, such as the time of the incident, are not always reported.

………

Seriously, you don’t mess with the Marines.

Roughly 45 San Diego-area mountain bikers learned that the hard way over the weekend when they were stopped by armed Marines, ticketed and had their bikes confiscated for trespassing on military property.

The riders had evidently strayed onto the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, formerly home to the famed Top Gun school before the base was transferred from the Navy to the Marine Corp.

According to a thread on the mtbr forum, riders had received plenty of warnings that the trails were closed to the public, since they were close to areas where live fire drills are conducted. However, many riders complained that they were poorly marked, if at all, even though the Marines indicated notices had been posted on all trails and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association has been warning about the closure for months.

The riders were escorted off the base, and forced to walk back to their cars or have someone pick them up. They can reclaim their bikes once the citations have been adjudicated and any fines paid.

………

Local

The Times reviews a sandwich shop just off the LA River bike path in Frogtown, where the dishes are named after public radio hosts.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson issues his recommendations for the governing body for SoCal bike racing.

 

State

A new parking structure in Old Towne Orange will include a bike plaza with bike racks and lockers.

Sad news from Oxnard, where a teenager was killed while walking his bike along a train track.

 

National

Bicycling talks with five cyclists — or maybe six, they can’t seem to decide — about how it feels to get hit by a car, and how it changed the way they ride.

If riding your bike isn’t environmentally-friendly enough, Grist talks eco-friendly bike lube.

Gear Junkie is the latest to discover the all-black company of bike-riding Buffalo Soldiers of the 1890s. Though someone should tell them quite a few non-elite cyclists ride more than 1,900 miles.

Oregon district attorneys want to make it a felony to hit a bicyclist with a car, presumably intentionally.

Boulder CO, a platinum level bike friendly community, is removing a pair of protected bike lanes, in part because of complaints from cyclists.

An Iowa paper looks at how Minneapolis became a bicycling mecca and asks why not us?

Eight years after a legally blind Columbia MO Army vet took up bicycling, he’s gained independence, improved his fitness and competed in his first triathlon.

Chicago tries, and fails, to have all the bike lanes in the city declared recreational zones to avoid liability for failing to maintain them. Under that standard, all the streets would be racetracks.

New York’s mayor agrees to reduce the number of horse drawn carriages in Central Park, while kicking out their pedicab competition. Thanks to Aurelio Jose Barrera for the heads-up.

North Carolina boy scouts offer advice for aspiring cross-county charity cyclists after raising $35,000 in memory of a schoolmate who died of cancer.

 

International

Rio, Brazil opens a beachfront bike path that the BBC calls one of the most beautiful in the world; the city plans to complete 450 kilometers of bikeways — roughly 280 miles — in advance of next year’s Olympics.

A pioneering new stem cell treatment is delivering “miraculous” results, enabling formerly wheelchair-bound patients to walk again; a former triathlete is even able to ride his bike.

Heartbreaking story of a young Toronto cyclist taking a tour through the Deep South looking for the roots of American music. And the half-assed investigation into his death that exonerated a truck driver who claimed he had committed suicide by riding head-first into the truck, while witnesses and evidence indicated the driver actually ran him down from behind.

A British website looks at suits specially made for bicycle commuting.

Denmark will install bike boxes at busy intersections to prevent right turn collisions.

An entrepreneurial Egyptian couple build their own bike-borne sweet potato street food cart for the equivalent of just $255.

The beat goes on, as a South African mountain biker is the latest cyclist busted for doping.

The woman riding through the Southern Hemisphere to collect 1001 stories about climate change pauses to catch her breath in New Zealand.

 

Finally…

It’s one thing to give 110% effort; it’s another to get overwhelming support for bicycling when a whopping 156% of local residents respond. Do you really need a new law to clarify that bike riders have the right-of-way when they have the right of way?

And what good is a cycling superhighway if a driver is going to tailgate you on it?

 

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