Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Update: Man dies in solo sidewalk crash on Foothill Blvd in Tujunga

Sad news from Tujunga.

And for a change, there wasn’t a driver involved.

According to a press release from the LAPD, a man was killed while riding along westbound Foothill Blvd east of Commerce Ave in Tujunga at 10:50 Thursday morning.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly named, was riding downhill on the sidewalk when he collided a sign and a tree.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, and identified only as white man in his 30s.

This is at least the 21st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; it’s also the fifth in the City of Los Angeles.

And it’s another reminder that riding on the sidewalk is more dangerous than it seems.

Update: There will be a ghost bike placed for the victim this Sunday at 7:30 pm.

Update 2: Family members have identified the victim as Steve Jensen.

I’m told Jensen was actually riding downhill in the street, and swerved to avoid a car stopped in the lane. He crashed into a sign for a smog test center that was in the street illegally, and hit a tree on the sidewalk. 

The badly dented sign is still there, visible inside the fence for the smog test center. 

The question is whether they’ve learned anything, or if the sign will go back out in the street in the morning. 

Update 3: Apparently bad bike infrastructure played a significant roll in this crash, as well. LA’s typical disappearing bike lane design at intersections may have helped cost Jensen his life, forcing him into the traffic lane after gaining speed on his descent. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Steve Jensen and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Zachary Rynew for the heads-up. 

 

Bike rider killed in Jurupa Valley; no details available

Yet another bike rider has been killed in Jurupa Valley.

And as usual, there’s virtually no information available.

According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, someone died while riding a bicycle on the 8800 block of Limonite Ave around 11:07 Saturday night.

There’s no word on whether the victim was a man or a woman, whether the death was the result of a crash, or whether there was anyone else involved.

Hopefully we’ll get more information soon.

This is at least the 20th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth that I’m aware of in Riverside County.

It’s also at least the fifth bike rider to be killed in Jurupa Valley since the city of just 100,000 people was incorporated in 2011.

Hopefully city leaders will care enough to determine the cause and do something about it.

Update: According to a report on KNBC-4, which hasn’t been posted online yet, the victim was a man who was killed in a hit-and-run.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 30-year old Rigoberto Guzman.

He was struck by a vehicle driven by 26-year old Andrew Scott Walters at the intersection of Van Buren Blvd and Limonite Ave around 11 pm Saturday. The force of the impact threw him to the far side of the road, where he died within a few minutes after impact.

Walters was arrested at his home after fleeing the scene, and booked on suspicion of hit-and-run resulting in death; he was released on $75,000 bond.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Rigoberto Guzman and his loved ones.

Update: Bike rider killed in Sun Valley hit-and-run Thursday night

Once again, a man has lost life, simply for riding a bicycle.

And once again, a coward has fled the scene instead of stopping to take responsibility, this time in Sun Valley.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the victim was struck by the driver of a red Dodge sedan while riding his bike at 8558 North San Fernando Road in Sun Valley around 8:35 pm Thursday.

The driver kept going without slowing down. Witnesses attempted to follow, but were unable to catch him or capture his license plate.

No word on how or why the hit-and-run crash occurred.

A street view shows a narrow two lane street squeezed between railroad tracks and an industrial district.

Anyone with information on the hit-and-run is urged to call the LAPD at 877/527-3247. And as always, there is a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver in any fatal hit-and-run crash.

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

Update: The LAPD is now saying the victim was a pedestrian who was walking across the street outside of a crosswalk. Still no ID on the victim, and no explanation for why witnesses said he was riding a bicycle. 

Update 2: Family members have identified the victim as Samuel Hernandez; sadly, he won’t be there to witness his daughter’s graduation from Cal State Northridge next month.

They also clarified that he was walking his bike across the street when he was killed. 

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

 

Samuel Hernandez’ daughter at the ghost bike installation with Zachary Rynew; top photo: people attending ghost bike installation with finished ghost bike

Morning Links: Heartbreaking story of justice at last for Woon, $1000 bike theft reward, and war on bikes goes on

Call it today’s must read.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman writes movingly about the needless death of Frederick “Woon” Frazier in South LA last year.

And the justice that may finally be in the offing, with charges finally pending against the young woman who ran him down while speeding in the parking lane, and left him to die in the street.

As well as the heartbreaking effect the loss of her only son — and the father of her newly born grandson — has had on his mother.

“Look what you did. Look what you created!” he repeated, still marveling over how strong he had become. “I love you, Momma – you know you my queen.”

“I love you, too, son,” she said.

“I’m about to go out here, I’m bout to ride my bike. I’m bout to have me a good day,” he said, smiling. “I feel good today, Momma. Man, I’m free…”

Five minutes later, he was dead.

Seriously, if you can get through this story without tears in your eyes — or anger over a city where people on bicycles are nothing more than car fodder — you’re a stronger person than I am.

And don’t get me started about the heartlessness it takes to leave another human being bleeding in the street.

Or the snail’s pace of justice that takes a full year to file charges after the driver confessed.

I’ve been a fan of Sulaiman’s writing for years, ever since I briefly worked with her as a guest editor for Streetsblog.

But this may just be the best work she’s ever done.

A fundraiser and memorial ride will be held for Frederick “Woon” Frazier next Sunday. And a crowdfunding page for his son is still open, having raised just over $1,000 of the $10,000 goal.

………

There’s now a $1,000 reward for the thief who rode off with a $5,000 road bike from a Costa Mesa bike shop.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. And on.

A Toronto man faces a charge of attempted murder for whacking a 40-year old bike rider with a golf club, knocking him off his bicycle; the victim was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

………

Local

Nineteen-year old Lenrey Briones was accused of being the bike-riding South LA Slasher who permanently disfigured seven people in a series of random knife attacks; he’s charged with seven counts of aggravated mayhem, two counts of attempted aggravated mayhem and one count of attempted second-degree robbery.

This is who we share the roads with. You know you’re drunk when you back through a Culver City intersection, hit a parked car, then pass out while you’re being frisked. Thanks to Ted Faber for the heads-up.

State

Officials in Carlsbad says bad behavior by scofflaw mountain bikers is destroying the city’s nature preserve. Seriously, always ride with respect for the environment. And stick to the damn trails.

A San Diego man will receive a whopping $20 million settlement for a solo bike crash that left him confined to a wheelchair after riding into an open construction trench in the Sorrento Valley; the city is on the hook for $1.5 million of that. Although something tells me he’d give back every penny just to be able to walk and ride a bike again.

A BMX rider from San Diego ran off to join the circus. And came back this week as one of five BMX riders performing with Volta by Cirque du Soleil.

Apple Valley police are looking for a bike-riding burglar who broke into a coffee shop early Saturday; he should be recognizable by a “distinct” mustache and mismatched wheels on his bike.

Sounds about right. Concord conducted its own traffic safety crackdown on Saturday, ticketing 33 drivers, 27 pedestrians — and just two bicyclists.

CBS looks back at a 20-year old 60 Minutes story about a Citrus Heights man who got 35 to life for stealing a bicycle under the state’s three strikes law; he finally got out after 19 years.

National

Now that’s more like it. A Flagstaff AZ city intern is mapping every sign, trashcan, bench, bollard and fence on the city’s 54-mile trail system to upload it to the city’s digital mapping system. It would be nice if Los Angeles did something similar so they had some idea what the hell is going on with our trail and bikeway system. And notice I didn’t use the work “network,” because it ain’t even close to being one.

A nonprofit bike advocacy group in my bike-friendly hometown is looking for a new executive director.

Arkansas is three months away from being just the second state to implement the full Idaho Stop Law. California could have been, but opposition from truckers, AAA and the CHP killed it every time it’s been introduced in the legislature.

Wisconsin’s new Democratic governor wants to restore the ability of state and local governments to use eminent domain to build bike and pedestrian paths.

Don’t mess with mom. A Georgia man is behind bars after an angry mother tracked down her son’s stolen bicycle online, and identified it for police.

She gets it. The mayor of New Orleans introduces a bike safety initiative by reminding residents that we are all traffic. And the tips for motorists are on target — especially reminders that harassing bike riders is illegal, and to expect to see bicyclists in the traffic lanes.

Speaking of the Big Easy, an op-ed by an urban planner says the city’s rules and roadways are stacked against bicyclists and pedestrians.

International

Even Havana, Cuba has a new public-private bikeshare system, and bike lanes to support it.

A former Canadian cop saved a life on a busy Hawaiian road when he stopped in the middle of a descent to shepherd a rare triceratops-like chameleon to safety; the lizard clearly took a liking to him, following his bike across the roadway, then climbing up on his seat to say hi.

British police arrested an 18-year old serial bike thief after five weeks on the run; he was convicted in absentia on five counts each of stealing and damaging bicycles

An English father wants to know why his son is still behind bars, 12 years after he was convicted of stealing a bicycle when he was 17.

An Irish writer describes what he calls the six kinds of bike riders you’ll meet in Dublin, saying they’re all crazy. Or as he puts it, “Cycling in Dublin always felt like the behavior of post-Catholic masochists to me, stubborn fools at war with reality.” Meanwhile, the Irish Times says at least ten percent of the city’s transportation budget should be devoted to bicycling.

Obeying the law on your bike could get you a cash prize in Dubai.

A 65-year old Pakistani blacksmith is turning heads with his homemade double-decker tall bike. Just more evidence that we have more in common with people from other cultures than we might realize.

Yes, we have to avoid angry drivers, but at least we don’t have to dodge ‘roos.

He gets it, too. The mayor of the ancient Nepalese city of Patan wants to rectify past errors and revitalize the city through a new emphasis on bicycling, saying he wants to correct the “fundamentally flawed perception that new and wide roads are a solution.”

Competitive Cycling

Twenty-five-year old Italian pro Alberto Bettiol scored his first career victory with a surprise eleven-mile solo breakaway in the grueling Tour of Flanders.

The women’s triathlon team from my hometown university swept the podium at this year’s Collegiate Club National Championships.

UCI declares a turf war, ordering cyclists not to participate in an e-mountain bike race sanctioned by a motorcycling group.

Finally…

Pizza delivery rider by day, crime fighter by night. If you’re going to review a kid’s bike, might as well let a kid do it.

And before you jump out to attack a bicyclist, remember to put your car in park.

Man killed riding bike in Rancho Mirage collision; second fatal Coachella Valley bicycle crash in two weeks

Maybe it’s time to ask what the hell is going on in the Coachella Valley.

Because for the second time in less than two weeks, a Coachella Valley bike rider has been killed in a collision, this time in Rancho Mirage.

According to the Desert Sun, the victim was riding east across busy Bob Hope Drive in the crosswalk on Casino, in front of the Agua Caliente Casino, round 1:30 pm Friday when he was struck by the driver of a car headed north on Bob Hope.

The man, identified only as an elderly man or senior citizen, died after being taken to a local hospital.

There’s no word on who had the green light, or why the driver apparently didn’t notice an older man on a bicycle in the crosswalk directly in front of him.

The driver stayed at the scene and cooperated with police, and did not appear to be under the influence.

This comes less than two weeks after a Canadian man was fatally injured in a collision just eleven miles away in Indian Wells — at least the fourth bike rider killed in the Coachella Valley in the last year, according to the Desert Sun.

Which would make this man the fifth bicyclist to die in the valley, where surface streets are too often designed like freeways, encouraging drivers to exceed the already too high speed limits.

And what little bicycling infrastructure there is does far too little to keep riders safe.

Anyone with any information is urged to call the Riverside County Sheriff’s department at 760/836-1600.

This is at least the 18th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third I’m aware of in Riverside County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 77-year old Palm Springs resident Jack Peterson.

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

Eleven-year old boy dies after falling off his bicycle; second Fontana child killed in three weeks

Just heartbreaking.

For the second time in just three weeks, a Fontana boy has died after falling off his bike.

And this time, no cars or drivers were involved.

According to a news release from the Fontana Police Department, a group of boys were riding their bike together at an apartment complex on the 9200 block of Citrus Ave around 3 pm Sunday.

An 11-year old boy somehow touched wheels with the eight-year old riding ahead of him, and fell off his bike after crashing into his handlebars.

His mother tried to drive him to the emergency room, but stopped to call for help along the way. Paramedics arrived to provide care and take the boy the rest of the way to a Fontana hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No ID has been been provided for the victim.

Police note that neither child was wearing a helmet, despite California law requiring a bike helmet for any child under 18. However, they added that it did not appear to be a factor in this crash, suggesting that he did not die from a head injury.

This is at least the 17th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth I’m aware of in San Bernardino County.

He’s also the second child to die in Fontana after falling off his bike in the last three weeks; a 13-year old boy was killed after allegedly falling in front of an oncoming car last month.

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

Thanks to John Damman for the heads-up.

Man killed riding bike in early morning Huntington Beach hit-and-run; driver possibly under the influence

Yet another life has been needlessly taken by a cowardly driver who didn’t bother to slow down, let alone stop as required by law.

According to multiple sources, the unidentified victim was riding in a crosswalk on Beach Blvd at Adams Ave in Huntington Beach at around 2:10 am when the driver of a BMW blew through a red light and slammed into him.

The victim, described only as a man in his 30s or 40s, died shortly afterwards.

The driver apparently crashed into a tree about a half-mile away in Huntington Beach, and fled the scene on foot. He was taken into custody about a mile from that crash scene, based on information police found in the car, and booked on suspicion of vehicular homicide.

Police are investigating whether he was drunk or stoned at the time of the crash, which seems highly likely.

Video from the scene shows a mangled cruiser bike with plastic baskets front and rear, and a large amount of debris strewn in the street, suggesting the victim may have been homeless or collecting recyclables.

However, that is just speculation at this point.

Anyone with information is urged to call Huntington Beach Police Accident Investigator B. Atkins at 714/536-5666, or Investigator A. Turner at 714/536-5670.

This is at least the 16th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third I’m aware of in Orange County; two of those three deaths have been hit-and-runs.

Update: The victim has been identified by his mother as 33-year old Ray MacDonald, who lived in the Huntington Beach area for the past three years; he was killed the day after his birthday.

He leaves behind a daughter, and a loving family and friends.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ray MacDonald and all his loved ones.


Canadian man dies days after rear-ending minivan in Indian Wells bike crash

Sometimes these things just don’t make any sense.

Earlier this week, we mentioned that a bike rider was in critical condition after apparently rear-ending a stopped minivan in Indian Wells.

Unfortunately, I’ve just received word that he didn’t make it.

According to News Channel 3, the victim was riding west on Highway 111 near Province Way in Indian Wells when he somehow rear-ended a stopped minivan around 10:52 Monday morning.

An email from the Desert Bicycle Club identifies the victim as 68-year old Paul Jackson, a part-time resident from Calgary, Canada.

He’s described as a very experienced cyclist, which makes this tragedy that much harder to understand.

It’s possible that the minivan was parked and Jackson didn’t see it for some reason. Or it’s equally possible that the driver may have come to a sudden stop after cutting him off, or he could have somehow been forced into the rear of the van.

Or any number of possible explanations.

Unfortunately, we may never know unless a witness other than the driver comes forward.

A street view shows a separated lane on HIghway 111, but it appears to be a curbside parking lane, rather than a bike lane.

Anyone with information is urged to call Officer Conoway of the Indian Wells Police Department Traffic Team at 760/836-1600.

This is at least the 15th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second I’m aware of in Riverside County; in fact, it’s the second in the county in just the past week.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Paul Jackson and all his family and loved ones.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

Update: Riverside road cyclist left dying in the street by hit-and-run driver

Yet another Southern California bike rider has been killed by a cowardly hit-and-run driver.

According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Riverside police found the 53-year old victim lying in the westbound bike lane on Victoria Avenue, just west of Myers Street, around 7:45 Saturday morning, after receiving a report of a bicyclist down.

He was transported to a local hospital, where he died.

Police initially thought the man, who has not been publicly identified, had fallen off his bicycle. However, hospital officials reported his injuries were consistent with being hit by a motor vehicle.

Unfortunately, no witnesses have come forward, so there is no description of the suspect or the vehicle used in the crime.

Video from the scene shows a black road bike and silver helmet lying on the side of the road.

Screen grab from KTLA report

No other information is available at this time.

Regardless of how the crash may have happened, there is simply no excuse, ever, for leaving a crash victim bleeding in the street. The driver should face a murder charge for making a conscious decision to let the victim die, rather than calling for help and providing assistance as the law requires.

We’ll never know if he might have survived if he’d gotten help right away.

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Zach Fishell at 951-826-8723, or email zfishell@riversideca.gov.

Let’s hope they find the coward responsible for this crash. And that prosecutors treat this needless death with the seriousness it demands.

This is at least the 14th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first I’m aware of in Riverside County.

Update: The Press-Enterprise has identified the victim as 52-year old Riverside resident Brian Sabel.

Despite wearing a helmet, he died of a head injury at Riverside Community Hospital roughly 45 minutes after he was found in the roadway.

No word on how long he had been lying there before help arrived.

This would appear to be his Strava profile.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Brian Sabel and his loved ones.

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

Man riding bicycle killed after allegedly riding in front of driver in Oxnard crash

Once again, a bike rider is dead after somehow magically appearing in front of a driver.

According to the Ventura County Star, the victim was struck by an 18-year old driver on Saviers Road near Iris Street in Oxnard around 8:10 pm Thursday, although a local TV station places the time of the crash shortly after 10 pm.

The driver was headed south on Saviers when he said the victim, identified only as a man in his mid-20s, “suddenly appeared in front of (his) vehicle.”

The bike rider was taken to Ventura County Medical Center, where he died.

The driver, who hasn’t been publicly identified, stayed at the scene, telling police he was unable to avoid the man’s bicycle.

There’s no explanation given for why the driver wasn’t able to see the victim or his bike.

However, in any case like this, where there doesn’t appear to be any surviving witnesses other than the driver, it’s important to remember that we’re only getting one side of the story.

It’s entirely possible that the victim somehow rode out in front of the driver’s car. But it’s also possible that he may have been riding safely in the bike lane on southbound Saviers, and the driver just didn’t see him.

Because no one, ever, comes out of nowhere.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Senior Officer Paul Knapp of the Oxnard Police Department at 805/385-7750 or email paul.knapp@oxnardpd.org.

This is at least the 13th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first I’m aware of in Ventura County.

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

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