Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Bike rider killed on Whittier Blvd in unincorporated LA County; second Whittier Blvd bicycling death in one week

Nothing like marking the holidays with yet another fatal hit-and-run.

Even if officials are unlikely to call it that.

According to the Whittier Daily News, 64-year old Whittier resident Alfred Tiscareno Jr. was riding west on Whittier Blvd when he was struck by a driver near the onramp to the 605 Freeway in unincorporated LA County near Whittier, around 6:50 Monday evening.

He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died.

There’s no explanation for how the crash occurred; hopefully, more details will be available after the holiday.

The driver, identified as 69-year old Rameshbhai L. Bhakta of Montebello, fled scene, but later called CHP investigators to report his involvement. He was reportedly cooperating with authorities, and has not been arrested.

And even though he he failed to stop and render aid, as required by law — or presumably, even call 911 to report the crash — he probably never will be.

Especially since Bhakta is not believed to have been under the influence, which too often seems to be the only thing that matters.

The crash is still under investigation; anyone with information is urged to call CHP Officer G. De Luna at 562/868-0503.

Tiscareno’s death comes just one week after Whittier’s beloved “Tricycle Man” Danny Martin was killed, also on Whittier Blvd, less than seven miles away. Over 250 bike riders turned out to honor him on Sunday.

Now the Whittier bike community has one more victim to remember. And one family’s Christmas season will never be the same.

This is at least the 76th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 34th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Tiscareno is also the eighth SoCal bike rider to be killed this month, in what is turning out to be a very bloody December.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Alfred Tiscareno Jr. and all his loved ones. 

Thanks to John Lloyd for the heads-up. 

Update: Bicyclist killed in Hesperia crash Tuesday evening; 8th SoCal bike death in ten days

Then there were eight.

Eight people killed riding their bicycles in Southern California in just ten days.

Eight families who won’t have a happy holiday, now and most likely for years to come.

According to the Victorville Daily News, the latest came in Hesperia Tuesday evening.

A man was riding his bike at Seventh Avenue and Cactus Street when he was struck by a driver around 6:28 pm, and pronounced dead at the scene.

Unfortunately, that’s all we know at this time. There’s no information yet about the victim, or how the crash might have occurred.

A street view shows a wide open two lane road with sand-covered shoulders on Seventh, intersected by a narrow paved street to the west and a dirt road to the right.

No speed limit sign as visible, but multiple signs call on drivers to give bicyclists a three-foot passing distance.

This is at least the 75th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh that I’m aware of in San Bernardino County.

Update: The Victor Valley News has identified the victim as 50-year old Hesperia resident Armando Salinas. 

The paper reports he was killed in a hit-and-run by the driver of a pickup traveling south on Seventh. Paramedics found his body lying in the southbound lane just below Cactus Street. 

Anyone with information is urged to call Deputy D. Whitson or Deputy D. Caudle at the Hesperia Sheriff’s station at 760/947-1500.

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

And let’s all pray this tragic streak stops now. 

Coroner confirms death of a homeless man struck by driver in West LA last week; Craig Feldman was 68

Sadly, we now have confirmation of the bicycling fatality in West LA last week.

As we reported last week, Howard Valai forwarded Nextdoor post reporting that a bicyclist was hit by a driver on Barrington Ave somewhere between Olympic and Pico Boulevards around 10 pm on Monday, December 9th.

He also found a report on the Citizen app showed police investigating a fatal collision at Barrington and Exposition around the same time.

Various reports suggested the victim may have been homeless, but there was no official confirmation of the death or any description of a possible victim.

However, another post by the woman who first reported the crash post again to say she’d spoken with residents of a nearby homeless camp, who confirmed that a homeless man named Craig was killed in the collision.

That provided Valai with enough information to check the county medical examiner’s website, where he found the following record.

Separately none of these were enough to confirm the death. But together, they confirm that a 68-year old homeless man named Craig Feldman died when he was struck by a driver’s vehicle that Monday night.

What’s missing is any word on how the crash occurred, or why. Or whether any action was taken against the driver.

Sadly, there was no mention of this crash in the local media.

Then again, the death of a homeless person seldom makes the news. Yet no life should be less important than any other; no death shouldn’t matter.

Hopefully we can find out more soon.

And hopefully, Craig Feldman will be remembered as more than just a name on the medical examiner’s website.

This is at least the 74th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 33rd that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; Feldman’s death is also the 17th in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year.

And the seventh SoCal bike death in less than ten days.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Craig Feldman and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Howard Valai for his help in tracking down the information for this post.

 

Beloved “Tricycle Man” Danny Martin killed in Whittier collision Monday morning

What happens when you kill a beloved community icon with your car?

Probably nothing.

The Whittier Daily News reports that 61-year old Whittier resident Danny Martin, well known for waving at strangers from the seat of his three-wheeled bike, was killed in a collision early Monday morning.

According to the paper, Martin was riding to a Bible study class when he was struck by a driver while crossing the 16500 block of Whittier Boulevard.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said he was not at an intersection or in a crosswalk when he was struck. The driver stayed at the scene, and authorities said that speed was not a factor.

Although Martin’s mangled bike would seem to belie that. It’s hard to imagine how that kind of damage could occur without excessive speed.

He also left his usual bike helmet at home, wearing a Christmas hat in its place.

A former motocross racer, Danny Martin was severely injured testing a new motorbike at Dumont Dunes in the Mojave Desert in 1981, spending a full year in a coma. When he finally awoke, he was paralyzed and told he would never walk again.

Yet after a year of physical therapy, he regained the ability to get around on his own, and learned how to ride an adult tricycle.

He never quit, spending the better part of the past four decades riding around Whittier with an American Flag flying high above his trike, and signs praising God attached to it after becoming deeply religious during his recovery.

Martin became a local icon beloved throughout the city, often by people whose only contact with him was a friendly wave as they passed by in their cars.

That love was shown by the Whittier community in 2016, when he was struck by a driver who destroyed Martin’s bike and briefly put him in the hospital.

A crowdfunding campaign to replace his bike trike raised over 14 times the original $1,000 goal; the Daily News reports the extra money paid Martin’s rent for a full year.

And it was shown again last night, when hundreds of people turned out for a candlelight vigil to remember him.

Now another crowdfunding campaign has raised over $7,000 in just the first eight hours to help pay his funeral expenses.

A ride will be held in his honor this Sunday. Let’s hope it gets a big turnout, with lots of flags flying high over the bikes, and friendly waves for everyone around.

Because Whittier is going to be a much poorer place going forward.

https://twitter.com/1Cycle20/status/1206755205762600960

This is at least the 73rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 32nd that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

It’s also the sixth SoCal bike death in less than ten days.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Danny Martin and all his family and friends. 

Thanks to Sgt. Helper, Lois R, Eric Griswold and John Damman for the heads-up.

Man killed riding bike in Buena Park Monday night; 5th SoCal bike fatality in five days

This hasn’t been a joyful holiday season on the streets of Southern California this year.

And it got even worse on Thursday, when the Orange County Coroner revealed a man was killed riding his bike in Buena Park on Monday.

Unfortunately, that’s virtually all we know about the crash that took his life.

The coroner identifies the victim as 45-year old La Mirada resident Carlos Bravo, who was injured in a collision at 10:21 pm, at an undisclosed location in Buena Park.

He died at UC Irvine Medical Center less than an hour later.

There’s no word on how the crash occurred or who was responsible, or if the driver was cited or detained.

This is at least the 72nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 12th that I’m aware of in Orange County.

It’s also the fifth SoCal bike death in as many days.

Note: I mistakenly wrote yesterday that the death of Mario Gomez in Huntington Beach was the 12th OC bicycling death this year, but that appears to have been just the 11th. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Carlos Bravo and all his loved ones. 

 

 

Update: 63-year old Colorado road cyclist killed in Bonsall collision near Camp Pendleton in North San Diego County

Drivers are expected to see what’s in the road directly in front of them.

Except too often, they don’t.

That was the case in tiny Bonsall yesterday, just west of Camp Pendleton, where a man from Colorado was killed when he was rear-ended by a 19-year old motorist.

The victim, publicly identified only as a 63-year old man, was riding westbound on State Route 76 near Thoroughbred Lane when the driver slammed into him from behind around 9:50 am Wednesday.

He was thrown from his bike, and died at the scene before paramedics could arrive.

The San Diego Union Tribune describes him as riding a Cannondale road bike, “in full biking gear and wearing a helmet.” Which clearly wasn’t much benefit in the crash, with a likely impact speed at or above the posted 55 mph speed limit.

The driver continued a short distance to a nearby strip mall, where he pulled over to call 911 and wait for the CHP to arrive, telling them he never saw the man he killed until after the impact.

A CHP spokesperson says he was not under the influence.

No mention is made of whether he was driving distracted, however, or if there was some other reason why he couldn’t see a grown man on a bicycle right in front of his car.

Investigators are unsure where the victim was riding prior to the crash, although it’s likely he was riding in the painted bike lane on the right shoulder. Which raises the question of whether he left the lane for some reason, or if the driver somehow drifted into it.

No word on whether the victim was visiting from Colorado, or living in the area.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the CHP’s Vista office at 760/643-3400.

This is at least the 71st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, but just the fourth that I’m aware of in San Diego County.

Update: The victim’s hometown newspaper has identified him as 63-year old William Tyson, an experienced bike rider who lived part-time in the San Diego area. 

According to the paper, police suspect Tyson swerved into the traffic lane in order to make a left turn at the upcoming intersection, and that the driver was unlikely to be charged as a result. 

However, that doesn’t explain why an experienced bicyclist would swerve into the traffic lane without apparently looking on a highway with a 55 mph speed limit. Or why the driver failed to see him until the moment of impact, when he should have at least been aware of someone riding in the bike lane in front of him. 

There are still far too many questions out there to accept such a simplistic answer. Especially coming from the CHP.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for William Tyson and his loved ones. 

 

Man on bike killed when he’s run down by driver on Calexico highway; police blame victim for riding legally

Never put it past the police to blame a victim for riding legally in the traffic lane.

That appears to be the case in Calexico, where an unidentified man was killed while riding his bike on a local highway just before sunrise Tuesday.

According to KYMA-TV, the victim, who appeared to be in his early 30s, was riding his bike somewhere on Highway 111 when he was struck by a southbound van driver.

A spokesman for the Calexico Police Department stressed that the victim was wearing dark clothing, and “was not riding off to the shoulder, as bicyclists should be riding.”

Except there is no requirement under California law that says how someone on a bicycle has to be dressed. And absolutely nothing requiring bicyclists to ride on the shoulder, which is not legally considered part of the roadway.

It’s true that people on bicycles are required to ride as far to the right as practicable. But as far as the law is concerned, that requirement ends at the white line.

It may be wiser to ride on the shoulder, in some cases, but many people prefer the traffic lanes to the broken glass and rocks that collect on unswept shoulders.

Even the DMV says that bicyclists may ride in the center of any substandard lane for increased visibility; drivers are expected to not only see them, but move to the other lane to go around them.

Dark clothing or not.

And substandard is defined as any lane too narrow for someone on a bicycle to safely share with another vehicle, while leaving a minimum three-foot passing distance.

Frankly, there is something terribly wrong when the people who are charged with enforcing the law appear to be so ignorant of it.

And don’t get me started on the local TV station insisting on showing the victim’s blood running off the highway.

This is at least the 70th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second that I’m aware of in sparsely populated Imperial County.

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

Wrong way bike rider dies after declaration of brain death, following Friday Huntington Beach crash

Nothing says the holidays in Southern California like another ghost bike.

That’s what we’ll need, once again, after a man was disconnected from life support on Sunday, following the Friday morning Huntington Beach collision.

According to multiple sources, the victim was struck by the driver of an SUV at Gothard Street and Heil Ave in Huntington Beach around 6:30 am Friday.

He was taken UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he was pronounced dead around 1:30 yesterday afternoon.

The Daily Pilot reports the 57-year old man, identified by the Orange County coroner as Anaheim resident Mario Gomez, was riding his bike against traffic when he was struck.

No word on which street he was riding on, or what direction he or the driver were traveling; both streets have unprotected bike lanes.

And yes, the driver remained at the scene, as legally required.

Huntington Beach police note that Gomez wasn’t wearing a helmet, which is valid for a change, since he died of head trauma. Although they don’t say how fast the driver was going, or if the crash would have been survivable with or without one.

Nor do they note whether he was originally from this country. Many Central American immigrants are taught to ride facing traffic, and bring that habit with them — too often with results that are all too predictable in Southern California traffic.

None of which absolves the driver of responsibility to pay attention to the road ahead of him, and note any conflicting traffic, regardless of which direction it’s coming from.

Any anyone with information is urged to call Huntington Beach Police Investigator Adam Turner, 714/536-5670 or Investigator Daniel Kim 714/536-5666.

And let’s give a special shoutout to The Orange County Tribune, which somehow labelled the violent crash that took the life of another human being a mere “mishap.”

This is at least the 69th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th that I’m aware of in Orange County.

It’s also the second bicycling death in Huntington Beach this year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mario Gomez and all his loved ones. 

Thanks to a pair of anonymous sources for the heads-up.

 

Man killed riding bike on Van Nuys High Injury Street, one day before West Valley CicLAvia

Just hours before Los Angeles gathered to celebrate what our streets could be, we received another tragic reminder of what they still are today.

The Los Angeles Daily News reports that a man was killed in Van Nuys Saturday evening, one night before Sunday’s CicLAvia a few short miles away.

The victim, identified only as a man in his 40s, was riding his bike east on Victory Blvd around 6 pm Saturday, when he reportedly ran the red light at Kester Ave just as a driver was entering the intersection on Kester.

He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

However, the crash could not have happened the way the paper describes; according to the Daily News, the driver was headed west on Kester, which is a north-south street.

Most likely, the driver was traveling north or south on Kester, but could have been on Victory.

He or she stayed at the scene, and reportedly rendered assistance, as required by law.

As always, the question is whether there were any independent witnesses who saw the crash. Although at that hour, there should have been witnesses on such a busy street.

Click to enlarge

Victory is one of LA’s most dangerous streets; a one mile section just a short distance east of the crash scene is one of the city’s top Vision Zero High Priority corridors.

Yet like most streets on the list, little or nothing has been done to protect innocent lives.

This is at least the 68th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 31st that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

It’s also the 16th in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year.

Update: The victim has been identified as 44-year old Fabian Abarca of North Hills. Oddly, the reports continue to say the driver was headed west on Kester, which is impossible on a north-west street.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Fabian Abarca and his loved ones. 

 

Update: Mountain biker killed in Escondido hit-and-run; victim hit head-on during group ride

Yet another SoCal bike rider has lost his life to a hit-and-run driver.

According to multiple sources, the victim was struck by a driver at 11:52 Saturday morning on the 1600 block of La Honda Drive, just below the entrance to the Daley Ranch Recreation Area.

Reports indicated he was headed south on the narrow street with a group of other riders when he was hit head-on by the driver of a dark colored Toyota sedan, who continued without stopping.

The victim, identified only as a 36-year old Vista resident, died at the scene before rescuers could arrive.

Police later found the heavily damaged car abandoned half a mile away, on the 600 block of Aster Street.

They note the victim was wearing a helmet; clearly, it was not enough to save his life.

Meanwhile, the San Diego Union-Tribune absurdly reports that police don’t know if the driver was under the influence. Which is probably true, considering they don’t even know who was behind the wheel.

Anyone with information is urged to call Officer Adan Martinez of the Escondido Police Department at 760/839-4465.

This is at least the 68th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year; remarkably, it appears to be just the third in San Diego County.

It’s also the 23rd fatal hit-and-run I’m aware of involving a bike rider since the first of this year.

Update: The victim has been identified as 36-year old Vista resident Kevin Lentz; the former mountain bike racer leaves behind his wife and one-year old son.

The driver reportedly was traveling at a high rate of speed on the wrong side of the road, after rounding a blind curve.

A crowdfunding page has raised nearly $52,000 in just one day.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Kevin Lentz and his family and loved ones.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

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