Tag Archive for bicycling fatality

58-year old Joshua Tree cyclist killed in high speed rear-end collision

Memorial Day weekend is historically one of the most dangerous periods for bike riders.

Sadly, that proved true for a 58-year old man from Joshua Tree on Sunday.

According to the Hi-Desert Star, the victim, whose name has been withheld, was riding a mountain bike north on Sunburst Ave, south of Jericho Way, when he was struck by a car around 8:15 pm; he died at the scene.

The Joshua tree resident was riding without lights in the gathering darkness, half an hour after sunset, when he was hit from behind by a driver traveling around 50 mph. However, he should have still been visible in the driver’s headlights on the straight and unobstructed roadway.

A street view shows a two-lane road with a dirt shoulder, and no visible speed limit sign.

The paper also notes that the victim was not wearing a helmet, although a collision at that speed was unlikely to be survivable, with or without one.

The driver, a 26-year old man from Yucca Valley, stayed at the scene and was guided in performing CPR by emergency dispatchers after calling 911. He was taken into custody on outstanding warrants while the investigation continues.

This is the 21st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in San Bernardino County. That compares with 41 in SoCal and four in the county this time last year.

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

Update: 31-year old bike rider killed by train in Riverside

Always wait for the barriers to lift at a railroad crossing.

A Riverside bike rider didn’t, and sadly, paid the price.

According to the Press-Enterprise, the woman was riding her bike east on Mission Inn Ave in downtown Riverside when she stopped to wait for a southbound train around 11:10 this morning.

As soon as the train passed, she continued across the tracks while the crossing arms were reportedly still down and the warning lights flashing. She was then hit and killed by a train traveling north on the tracks, whose approach would have been hidden from sight by the other train.

The victim is identified only as an apparent transient in her 30s.

This is the 20th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Riverside County. That compares to 41 in SoCal this time last year, and six in the county.

She is also the first bike rider to be killed in a collision with a train anywhere in Southern California since August of last year.

Update: The Press-Enterprise has identified the victim as 31-year old Virginia Gadberry of Riverside.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Virginia Gadberry and her loved ones.

Bike rider killed in Hollywood collision

This is not the news anyone wants for Bike Week.

Or any other time for that matter.

Reports started coming in yesterday evening that a bike rider had been killed at the intersection of Hollywood Blvd and Hobart Blvd in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, it took until this afternoon to get official confirmation.

According to the police report, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding north in the west crosswalk on Hobart at approximately 3:07 pm Wednesday when he was struck by a car headed west on Hollywood.

The impact apparently knocked him into a parked car on the north curb, before falling back into the street. He died at the scene.

LAist reports that the crosswalk has a blinking yellow light to warn drivers that someone is crossing. However, it’s unclear if it was working at the time, or if the rider had activated it.

They also quote a comment from a Reddit thread indicating that the driver was taking an 84-year old grandmother to the hospital; however, while there are several hospitals nearby, they are all in the opposite direction from which the car was headed.

It’s unclear from the description who might have been at fault.

It’s legal to ride on the sidewalk in Los Angeles, which means it is also legal to ride in the crosswalk.

However, the LAPD interprets the law as requiring cyclists to ride in the direction of traffic when they enter a crosswalk. In this case, that would have required the victim to cross on the east side of Hobart, but the only crosswalk is on the west side.

On the other hand, unless the victim was traveling at a high rate of speed, the driver should have had time to see him and react before he reached the opposite side of the road.

If there’s a lesson to learn from this, it’s that you should never count on drivers seeing you and stopping in time, in a crosswalk or anywhere else; always wait until they actually stop before trying to cross in front of them.

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

That compares with 41 in the seven county SoCal region this time last year, and 17 in the county. However, it’s one more than in the City of LA on this date in 2014.

Update: The victim’s granddaughter has identified him as Thomas Galvan Munoz, a resident of the area for 30 years who rode his bike through the streets of LA every day. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Thomas Galvan Munoz and his loved ones.

Thanks to Michael MacDonald for the heads-up.

23-year old bike rider killed last week in Granada Hills truck collision

Today is turning into a very sad day.

Last Thursday, I received a secondhand report that a bicyclist had been killed in Granada Hills earlier in the week. Since then, I’ve been working with Asher M to confirm the report, without success

Sadly, that came today, when the LAPD’s bike liaison for the Valley Traffic Division confirmed that that a rider was killed last week.

According to his email, the victim was crossing Nordhoff Street while riding north on Petit Ave when multiple witnesses report he went through the red light while riding against traffic, and was struck by a vehicle.

No time was given for the collision.

Asher was able to track down Facebook and Instagram pages identifying the victim as 23-year old Andrew Fang. A memorial post indicates he was on his way home from school when he was hit by a truck, and died in the hospital the following day.

A fund has been established to help his family cover the unexpected costs relating to his death. As of today, it has raised a little over $3,800 of the $10,000 goal.

This is the 18th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Los Angeles County; it’s also the third in the City of Los Angeles. That compares with 16 in the county and four in the city this time last year.

Update: The wreck occurred at 7:50 pm, so visibility may have been an issue, as well.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Andrew Fang and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Asher M, whose assistance was invaluable.

62-year old crosswalk rider killed in Santa Ana left cross collision

Bad news from Santa Ana.

I learned late last night from a source in Orange County that a bike rider was killed in a left cross while riding in a crosswalk Monday evening.

The victim, identified by the Orange County Coroner as 62-year old Robert Horton, was riding in a crosswalk along 17th Street when he hit by a car turning left onto the northbound I-5 Freeway onramp around 5:20 pm.

He was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he was pronounced dead at 6:06 pm.

Presumably, Horton was riding on the sidewalk when he rode into the crosswalk; no word on which side of the street he was on or which direction he was riding.

Riding on the sidewalk is banned in the downtown area in Santa Ana; whether that would apply along the freeway is unclear. Depending on how the local police apply the confusing laws on riding in a crosswalk, he could be blamed for the collision if he was riding against traffic.

However, looking at Google Earth, it’s unclear how the driver could have made a legal left turn onto either onramp, since they appear to be designed for right turns only, with left turns blocked by the median.

And while the Orange County Register identifies the make and model of the car, there’s no word on the driver. Or even if the car had one.

This is the 17th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Orange County. That compares with 38 and eight, respectively, this time last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Robert Horton and his family. 

Thanks to James Johnson of Johnson Attorneys Group for the heads-up.

Unidentified bike rider killed in Bloomington collision

Bad news from San Bernardino County.

According to the county coroners office, a bike rider was killed when he rode out into the path of a car in Bloomington yesterday evening.

The collision occurred about 6:48 pm near 11100 Cedar Ave when the rider reportedly darted out of a driveway into the path of an oncoming car. No word on why he exited the drive or didn’t appear to see the car coming.

The San Bernardino Sun reports the victim, identified only as a 34-year old Hispanic man, was transported to Kaiser Permanente in Fontana with severe injuries to his head and torso. He died at 7:26 pm, about 45 minutes after the collision.

According to the Sun, the victim was not carrying ID, and would have to be identified by the coroner.

Let this be a reminder to always carry some form of identification whenever you ride. Your loved ones deserve to know if anything happens, and your survival could depend on emergency care providers learning who you are and what medical conditions you may have.

I now ride with a Road ID that lists emergency contact numbers, as well as information about my diabetes. Just in case.

This is the 15th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Bernardino County. That compares with 34 in SoCal and three in the county this time last year.

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

Thanks to James Johnson of Johnson Attorneys Group for the heads-up.

 

Update: Guilty plea in case of fallen OC cyclist Joseph Robinson

A source calling from the courthouse in Orange County has just reported that the driver who killed 21-year old Jax Bicycle Center employee Joseph Robinson has pleaded guilty to hit-and-run and drug charges, and will face significant jail time.

Sommer Niclole Gonzales, just 18 at the time of the collision, was sentenced to spend the next 11 years of her life behind bars after she admitted responsibility and waived her right to appeal.

Robinson was taking the long way to work on a sunny February morning last year when he was run down from behind while riding in the bike lane on Santiago Canyon Road.

He was hit with enough force to knock him and his bike completely off the roadway; his body was only discovered because an off-duty fire captain spotted a car with a shattered windshield speeding in the opposite direction, then saw a single shoe lying on the side of the roadway.

Gonzales was arrested in a parking lot a short time later as a friend helped her transfer her belongings into another car, in an apparent attempt to cover up her responsibility for the crime. She was found in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia at the time of her arrest.

No word on why her friend wasn’t charged for assisting in the attempted coverup.

The victim’s family was reportedly in tears following the sentencing.

According to the source, the judge’s final words to her were “What a tragedy. Just because you wanted to do meth.”

Update: I corrected the above quote from the judge, which was off slightly due to a bad phone connection.

Gonzales will get credit for 888 days served, reducing her sentence by nearly two-and-a-half years; she’ll also serve three years parole upon her release.

Update 2: According to a press release from the Orange County DA’s office, Gonzales was found guilty of:

  • Felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated
  • Felony hit and run with death
  • Misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance
  • Misdemeanor use and under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance paraphernalia
  • Along with a sentencing enhancement allegation for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter

Robinson’s family offered emotional impact statements, including this video from his mother showing him riding in happier days.

Then there’s this moving quote from his sister.

“My heart literally hurts when I think about my brother, I can’t think about him without crying. My drive to work takes me right past the accident site where his ghost bike is still hanging. Every morning and night as I pass that spot, I tell Joey aloud that I love him and cry.”

If you’ve ever wondered what harm driving under the influence can cause, that pretty much sums it up.

Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling for the press release.

Update 3: My News LA adds more details, including quotes from Robinson’s family members and his girlfriend. 

The story also quotes Gonzales’ attorney explaining that she had first tried marijuana at age 12, and quickly moved on to meth, which she had been her drug of choice ever since.

According to the attorney, she knew she had hit something, and stopped to see what it was, but continued on when she didn’t see Robinson or his bike. 

Update: Lakewood bike rider killed in early morning collision with suspected drunk driver

Sad news today, as a woman lost her life in an early morning collision.

According to the Press-Telegram, a woman was hit by a car while riding her bike on the 11700 block of Del Amo Blvd in Lakewood around 2 am Sunday morning.

The driver went on to hit a telephone pole, and was later arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

No word on the identity of the victim or how the collision occurred, though a satellite view shows a bike lane on the street.

This is the 14th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Los Angeles County. That compares to 33 in SoCal this time last year and 14 in LA County.

Update: KNBC-4 reports the victim was trying to cross Del Amo at Pioneer Blvd, rather than riding on Del Amo. That intersection is controlled by a four-way traffic signal, which suggest that someone most likely ran the red light.

She died at the scene. The driver was also injured, and taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Update 2: The suspect has been identified by KABC-7 as 24-year old Emmanuel Camacho. The station reports that he hit a telephone pole two blocks away from the collision that killed the bike rider, yet for some reason, sheriff’s deputies were not calling it a hit-and-run.

Update 3: The Press-Telegram has identified the victim as 33-year old Lakewood resident Crista Contreras; her Facebook page has turned into an online memorial. 

The paper also reports Camacho has been released on $100,000 bond, and is due in court on Tuesday, April 21st.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Crista Contreras and her loved ones.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link to her Facebook page. 

44-year old bike rider killed near LAX

Bad news LA’s Westchester neighborhood.

Westside Today reports that a bike rider was struck and killed in the area Thursday night, though few details are available.

Forty-four year old cyclist Brian Tomazic was hit by a vehicle around 10:55 pm near the intersection of Airport Boulevard and West 83rd Street.

Tomazic was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver remained at the scene and did not appear to be at fault, according to a sergeant with the LAPD.

No word on how the collision occurred or why police appeared to blame the victim. Or at least, someone or something other than the driver.

This is the 13th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Los Angeles County. And it’s the second in the city of LA this year.

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

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.  

Correction: San Diego cyclist dies in solo fall after suffering medical problem; bicycling deaths down over 60% from last year

Sad news from San Diego, as a bike rider has died in a solo fall.

According to the Union-Tribune, the 59-year old cyclist crashed his bike in the Lake Murray area after apparently suffering some sort of unidentified medical issue.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was riding on Kiowa Drive near Lake Murray Blvd when he fell around 7:30 pm Thursday. He died after being taken to a local hospital.

No other information is available at this time.

Remarkably, this is just the 12th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, compared with 31 in the seven-county SoCal region this time last year — a drop of nearly 61%.

However, it’s the fourth bicycling death in San Diego County, compared to two last year at this time.

Update: San Diego’s Fox 5 places the scene of the incident as on a bike trail near the baseball fields.

Correction: The original version of this story mistakenly said this was the eighth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year; it was actually the 12th. The story has been amended to reflect the accurate total. My apologies for the error.

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

%d bloggers like this: