Archive for Bicycle Safety

Mountain biker dies of apparent medical emergency on Newbury Park trail

Cars and their drivers aren’t the only dangers bicyclists face.

Sometimes, our own bodies attack us.

That appears to be what happened in Ventura County Sunday morning, where a man died after suffering an apparent medical emergency while mountain biking in Newbury Park.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department responded to a report of a mountain biker crashing on a trail near the 101 Freeway Scales and the park area by Hill Canyon.

The victim, identified only as a man in his 50s, was pronounced at the scene.

Investigators initially suspected he died as a result of a mountain biking crash, but later concluded his death was caused by some sort of undisclosed medical problem.

This is at least the 52nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh that I’m aware of in Ventura County.

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

Update: 16-year old Port Hueneme boy killed riding bike in Oxnard hit-and-run, 39-year old Oxnard man arrested

Yet another Southern California bike rider has lost his life to a heartless coward in a car.

Except this time, the victim was just a 16-year old boy.

According to the Ventura County Star, he was riding his bike on Hemlock Street in Oxnard, east of N Street, near the boundary with Port Hueneme around 8:35 Wednesday night, when he was apparently run down from behind by a hit-and-run driver.

The victim, identified only as a Port Hueneme resident, was rushed to Ventura County Medical Center, where he died.

Police investigators concluded that he was riding west on Hemlock, and had the right-of-way when he was struck.

The driver’s car was found abandoned less that a mile away near Hemlock and Patterson Road. The 39-year old owner was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.

According to an Oxnard police spokesperson, the victim had a headlight and reflectors on his bike, although it was so badly mangled as a result of the crash that police couldn’t tell if he had a taillight.

However, he was not wearing a helmet, as required for anyone under 18 under California law. Although whether that matters would depend on whether he suffered a head injury, and whether his injuries might have been survivable with one.

And that could depend on how fast the driver was going, on a street where residents have long complained about speeding drivers, and have repeatedly requested speed bumps, with no response from Oxnard city officials.

This is at least the 51st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth that I’m aware of in Ventura County.

At least 18 of those deaths have involved hit-and-run drivers.

Update: The victim has been identified as 16-year old Andres Hernandez, who died of blunt force head trauma.

So his lack of a helmet may be relevant, depending on the speed of the impact. 

His alleged killer, 39-year old Julio Sanchez, was being held on $500,000 bail after pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter with prior DUI convictions, leaving the scene of an accident, and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Andres Hernandez and all his family and loved ones. 

Update: Mother killed, two young children injured in solo ebike crash on San Juan Creek Trail in San Juan Capistrano

Sad news from San Juan Capistrano, where a woman in her 30s was killed when she crashed her ebike Saturday night.

Her two young children, who were also on her bike, were seriously injured.

The woman was riding with her husband on the San Juan Creek Trail north of Creekside Park around 8:30 pm, when she somehow lost control of her bike, and tumbled onto the rocks.

Her children, who had been riding in front and rear bike seats, were also thrown onto the rocks. However, they are expected to fully recover.

An Orange County Sheriff’s sergeant indicated that, unlike her children, Macy was not wearing a helmet, though there’s no indication at this time that she suffered a head injury.

Tragically, Macy’s husband was riding behind on his own ebike, and reportedly watched the crash that took his wife’s life, and nearly his entire family.

This is at least the 50th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 6th that I’m aware of in Orange County.

Update: Bike guide writer Richard Fox has this to add about the crash.

The news likes to blame e-bikes for everything, but in this case it’s not wearing a helmet that probably killed the woman, while helmets saved her two kids. They were returning from the Ohana Music Festival (Pearl Jam, Beck, etc) at the beach, and it was dark. San Juan Creek Trail there is wide and flat but is bounded by boulders lining the channelized creek below, and it seems she fell over and hit her head on them.  Ironically they had passed the most dangerous part of the path, where it dips steeply under Stonehill Dr and speeds accelerate down the hill.  I am a frequent user of that important trail, it’s a bicycle highway to Doheny State Beach for thousands of Orange County residents.  I agree there is a problem with speeding e-bikers on this trail, especially kids on their Class III speeders, but there’s also plenty of non e-bikers in their kits racing through there. There are a few posted 10 mph signs that no one pays attention to. It seems too slow for a trail like this, 15 mph would be more reasonable, including where the woman fell over.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jennifer Lee Macy and all her family and loved ones. 

Thanks to William Sellin for the heads-up.

 

71-year old man killed riding bicycle in Ladera Heights; driver arrested for DUI, yet CHP blames the victim

Anyone riding a bicycle in their 70s should be applauded.

Not killed.

Yet that’s what happened in unincorporated Ladera Heights in Los Angeles County early Saturday morning, when a 71-year old man was run down by an alleged DUI driver.

So naturally, police blamed the victim.

According to a pair of nearly identical reports, the bike-riding man, who has not been publicly identified, was riding south on Alvern Street around 4:40 am when he allegedly turned right onto Centinela Ave directly in front of an oncoming driver in the right westbound lane.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Then again, on a street with a 45 mph speed limit — and a driver likely to be going faster at that hour — he had little chance of surviving the impact.

CHP investigators arrested 27-year old Culver City resident Michael Tesfai for driving under the influence.

The question is whether there were any independent witnesses who saw the crash at that hour, or whether investigators are relying on the word of the driver, who has an inherent interest in seeing his actions in the best light. And may not be the most reliable witness given Tesfai’s allegedly intoxicated state.

This is at least the 49th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 14th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

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

Man riding road bike killed by wrong way driver in San Diego; 14th bicycling death in San Diego County this year

Let’s see someone blame the victim this time.

It was just over a week ago that an Ocean Beach writer penned a truly awful piece blaming the victims of this year’s 13 bicycling fatalities in San Diego County for contributing, if not causing, their own deaths.

Make that 14 now.

But this time, the victim appears to be as blameless as humanly possible.

According to multiple, nearly identical stories, a man was riding his bicycle in the westbound bike lane on Camino Del Rio South in East Mission Valley Tuesday night, when he was hit head-on by a wrong way driver traveling east in the westbound lane.

Authorities place the crash west of Texas street, around 8:50 pm Tuesday.

The victim, publicly identified only as a 42-year old man, died at the scene.

Raw video from the crash site shows a crumpled red road bike in the tall weeds on the shoulder of the roadway, next to debris from the driver’s car, separated by a chainlink fence from the busy 8 Freeway.

The rear flasher on his bike continued to strobe on the broken bicycle, long after the crash.

The 25-year old driver’s car was stopped nearby, the windshield shattered over the steering wheel. Which means she had to see him in the bike lane directly in front of her if she was paying any attention to the road in front of her.

Police do not suspect intoxication; however, there’s no mention of whether she may have been distracted. Remarkably, though, she doesn’t seem to have been arrested, or even ticketed, at the scene.

Given that she was on the wrong side of the roadway, and somehow unaware of a grown man on a bicycle right in front of her car, it’s hard to imagine that she wouldn’t be criminally liable.

If nothing else, the presence of the bike lane to her left should have been a clue that there might be someone on a bicycle there, let alone that she was driving the wrong way.

Although these days, I suppose we should give her credit just for sticking around.

But the simple fact is the man on the bike was exactly where he was supposed to be, doing exactly what he was supposed to do, and lost his life to the plague of traffic violence — and an apparently negligent, if not distracted, driver — anyway.

This is at least the 48th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 14th that I’m aware of in San Diego County, which is suffering through an exceptionally bloody year.

Update: The victim has been identified as 42-year old San Diego resident Matthew Peter Keenan. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Matthew Peter Keenan and all his loved ones.

………

Due to the time spent researching and writing this piece, and the late hour, there will be no Morning Links today. We’ll be back as usual on Friday to catch up on what we missed. 

Former Corona Del Mar baseball coach John Emme died Monday, 10 days after suffering critical injuries riding bike

A popular Orange County coach has died, more than a week after he was critically injured while riding his bike.

Unfortunately, we know almost nothing about what happened.

According to the OC Sports Zone, longtime Corona del Mar baseball coach John Emme suffered life-threatening injuries on Saturday, September 4th, in what was described only as a “bike accident.”

He died on Monday, after ten days in intensive care.

Richard Dunn added a little more information on Twitter, revealing that Emme had succumbed to a head injury.

However, there’s no word on how he was injured or where, whether Emme was struck by a driver, suffered a solo crash, or was injured some other way.

As the news spread, John Emme was fondly remembered for his 21-year tenure as coach of the baseball team at Corona Del Mar High School, leading his team to two CIF state championships.

And more importantly, as a friend to his former players, competitors and fellow coaches.

He continued to teach psychology, sociology and credit recovery at the school after he retired as a coach in 2018.

Hopefully, we’ll get more information soon.

This is at least the 47th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for John Emme and all his family and loved ones. 

Apple Valley bike rider killed in collision with van driver Tuesday afternoon; victim ID’d as 36-year old Apple Valley man

Another person has lost their life riding a bicycle in Southern California.

According to the Victor Valley News Group, the victim was riding his bike east on Pine Ridge Ave at Jicarilla Road when he was struck by a van driver around 12:32 Tuesday afternoon.

He was identified as 36-year old Apple Valley resident Dontril Biggs.

The driver had reportedly stopped at the stop sign, then continued forward to strike Biggs, who should have had clear right-of-way on the uncontrolled street.

He was transported to St. Mary Medical Center with major injuries, where he was pronounced dead 45 minutes after the crash.

The uninsured driver remained at the scene, but was apparently not ticketed or detained while the investigation continued.

Anyone with information is urged to contact San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy R. Grissom or J. Malocco at 760/240-7400, or call Sheriff’s Dispatch at 760/956-5001.

This is at least the 46th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth that I’m aware of in San Bernardino County.

Man riding bicycle killed in collision on Escondido freeway; 13th San Diego County bike death this year

Once again, someone has been killed riding a bicycle on a Southern California freeway.

And once again, with no explanation for why he was there.

According to multiple sources, a man was apparently attempting to cross eastbound State Route 78 near Centre City Parkway in Escondido when he was struck by a driver Saturday night.

Authorities place the time of the crash just after 9 pm.

A witness reports the victim was riding from the center divider to the right shoulder when he was hit. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

He has not been publicly identified yet. However, a crowdfunding page identifies him as Escondido resident Jerry Torres.

His brother-in-law describes Torres this way —

Jerry was a good man, he and Sue had started a new life together, he had his struggles but was working on overcoming them – he had a good heart, and was a friend to all who met him, he had a great smile that warmed a room.

So far, it’s raised just $100 of the $5,000 goal for funeral expenses.

This is at least the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th that I’m aware of in San Diego County, which is already two to three times a normal year.

It’s also the third SoCal bike death that’s become public in the last three days.

Update: The San Diego Union-Tribune confirms the identity of the victim as 53-year old Escondido resident Jerry Torres.

The driver was reportedly doing 55 mph at the time of the collision.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jerry Torres and all his loved ones.

Bike-riding Riverside man killed in July hit-and-run road rage attack, driver arrested for murder

Once again, a driver has used his vehicle as a weapon.

And once again, someone on a bicycle paid the price.

This time, it’s murder.

Multiple sources are reporting that 46-year old Benedicto Solanga was riding his bike on on Market Street near the 60 Freeway around 12:40 pm on July 29, when he had a “brief interaction” with a driver later identified as 31-year old Sergio Reynaldo Gutierrez of Riverside.

Which sound like a bad euphemism for a road rage dispute.

Gutierrez drove off, then made a sudden U-turn and allegedly aimed his massive pickup at Solanga’s bicycle before slamming into him.

Solanga was rushed to the hospital in grave condition, where he died a few days later.

Police found Gutierrez’s Ford F-250 later that night on the 3200 block of Iowa Ave in Riverside, leading to his arrest on Tuesday, nearly three weeks after the crash. He remains jailed on $1 million bail.

Let’s hope he gets used to it.

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

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Benedicto Solanga and all his loved ones.

Update: Woman riding bicycle killed Friday in early morning Venice hit-and-run

Yet another person riding a bicycle has been murdered by a heartless coward in a motor vehicle.

This time in Venice early Friday morning.

Multiple source are reporting that a woman, who has not been publicly identified, was riding circles around the intersection of Pacific and Rose Avenues when she was run down by a driver around 3:05 am.

The driver fled north on Pacific. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead, despite the efforts of paramedics.

Police are looking for a large black SUV, possibly a Chevrolet Suburban; there’s no description of the driver.

According to the LAPD, it’s not known if drugs or alcohol may have been involved. Which goes without saying since they don’t even know who did it.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD at 213/473-0236 or 213/473-0234, or toll-free at 877-LAPD-247.

As always, there is a standing $50,000 reward for any fatal hit-and-run in the City of Los Angeles.

This is at least the 43rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; it’s also at least the sixth bike death in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year.

At last count, 16 of those people were killed by hit-and-run drivers.

Update: The victim has been identified by family members as 22-year old Prynsess Di’Amond Brazzle, who followed her faith by coming to Los Angeles to feed the hungry, only to have her life taken by a heartless hit-and-run coward.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Prynsess Di’Amond Brazzle and all her family and loved ones.

%d bloggers like this: