Tag Archive for bicycling fatality

Unidentified bike rider killed while crossing Terminal Island Freeway

Once again, a bike rider has died on a Southern California freeway.

According to the Long Beach Gazettes, the victim was illegally crossing the Terminal Island Freeway north of PCH in Long Beach around midnight last night when he was hit by a semi-truck at 11:56 pm.

Like most California freeways, bikes are banned from the highway, also known as the 103 Freeway.

The victim, who was not carrying identification, was in the left lane of the northbound side when he was stuck by the truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A street view shows a four lane highway with an unobstructed center divider, making it relatively easy to cross; the victim may not have expected to encounter traffic at that hour.

My News LA places the time of the initial call at 11:56 pm Sunday, while the Gazettes says the police were dispatched at 12:07 pm.

He is identified only as appearing to be in his 60s, while the coroner’s office attempts to determine his ID.

This is the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 20th in Los Angeles County.

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

 

Palmdale man killed in rear-end collision while riding to work early Wednesday morning

Bad news from North LA County, as a bike commuter lost his life in a collision earlier this week.

According to the Antelope Valley Times, 40-year old Palmdale resident Jeff Aubrey McGrath was riding south on Sierra Highway north of Pearblossom Highway around 4:40 am Wednesday when he was rear-ended by a car traveling in the same direction.

The paper reports the driver remained at the scene, and did not appear to be intoxicated.

A story in Thursday’s Antelope Valley Press, which is not available online, indicates McGrath was riding in the right lane on his way to work when he was hit, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

McGrath had worked as a farm handyman for over 15 years, and often came into work very early.

A street view shows a narrow shoulder, with the right lane merging into a single lane shortly above Pearblossom.

There’s no word on whether he was using lights or reflectors, nearly two hours before sunrise, or why the driver apparently didn’t see him.

This is the 44th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 19th in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jeff McGrath and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Michele Chavez for the heads-up.

Bike rider killed crossing PCH in Malibu; bicycling deaths down over 40% in LA County compared to 2014

The report of the possible death of a bike rider has finally been confirmed.

According to the Malibu Times, a 48-year old man was attempting to cross PCH on his bike at Busch Drive, near the entrance to Zuma Beach at 8:30 pm Sunday.

The victim, described only as a possible transient, was transported to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood. Despite suffering from what was initially described as non-life threatening injuries, he died four hours later.

A satellite view shows a left turn lane at the entrance to the beach just west of Busch Drive.

The paper reports both eastbound lanes were closed on PCH, along with one westbound lane, suggesting he was struck on the eastbound side. A spokesman for the sheriff’s department said he had crossed the highway when he was hit, which would mean he was riding towards the beach, rather than away.

No word on whether he was in the traffic lane or on the shoulder when he was hit, or who might have been at fault.

The Malibu times says this is the fifth bicycling fatality on the Malibu section of PCH this year.

The recently released PCH Safety Study calls for improvements in the area around the complicated intersection, including a new bridge connecting Westward Beach Road to PCH, to reduce conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

This is the 43rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 18th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the 9th death involving a bike rider in Malibu since 2011; surprisingly, only two of those have occurred on PCH.

That compares with 63 in SoCal this time last year, and 31 in the county, for a 42% decrease over last year in LA County, and 31% overall.

Update: Bike rider killed in El Cajon; second bicycling fatality in San Diego County this week

Word is just coming in from multiple sources that a bike rider was killed in El Cajon, northeast of San Diego.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was hit by a car at the intersection of Compton Street and Madison Ave around 4 pm today; the man died at the scene.

A street view shows what looks like a relatively quiet, residential intersection.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in San Diego County. It’s also the second fatality in the county in the last two days.

Update: According to San Diego’s Fox-5, the victim may have come off the sidewalk in front of a distracted driver, with one error compounded by another.  Given the limited information, there’s no way to know if the driver could have stopped in time if he or she had actually been paying attention to the road instead of a cell phone.

The story also stresses that the victim wasn’t wearing a helmet. However, there’s no indication that he suffered a head injury, or that the collision would have been survivable with one; a lot depends on the speed of the car at the time of the collision.

Update 2: The Union-Tribune confirms that the victim, a 50-year old man, had been riding on the sidewalk and swerved out into the street, where he was hit by the car. He suffered major head injuries, which could make the lack of a helmet relevant. However, the story makes no mention of texting or driving distracted.

Update 3: The victim has been identified as 53-year old Jack Vandereb; no city of residence was given.

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

Bicyclist killed riding on I-15 in North San Diego County hit-and-run; victim may have been struck multiple times

Sometimes, there’s just no obvious explanation.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports the CHP received a 911 call saying a bicyclist was riding on the northbound I-15 freeway south of West Bernardo Drive/Pomerado Road around 4:25 am.

Fourteen minutes later, they got another call, before officers could arrive, saying in effect there was no need to hurry.

The victim, who was not carrying identification, was hit by a vehicle while riding in the #2 lane. A satellite photo indicates that would seem to be the far right lane of the four-lane freeway, since the left two lanes appear to be Express Lanes.

That’s assuming he was past the northbound offramp; if it happened further south, it would place him in the fourth lane from the right out of five lanes.

San Diego 7 indicated the driver of a white pickup stopped at the side of the road for about 10 minutes before driving off. Police are looking for a white GMC pickup based on debris found at the scene.

The victim appears to have been struck by multiple vehicles following the initial impact; none of the other drivers seem to have stopped, either. A CHP spokesperson said they don’t know how many times he might have been hit or run over.

Under those circumstances, the victim may be very difficult to identify, for obvious reasons.

There was no word on whether he was using lights at the early morning hour. And no apparent explanation for why he was riding in a traffic lane on a high-speed freeway, rather than on the shoulder.

Bikes are allowed on the shoulder of the 15 freeway a little further north, according to the U-T. But never in the traffic lane.

This is the 41st bicycling fatality in Southern California and the eighth in San Diego County; that compares with 61 in SoCal and six in the county this time last year.

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

 

Update: 36 year old bike rider killed in Newport Coast

Sadly, another bike rider has died days after she was injured, in a case that hasn’t made the news.

According to the Orange County Coroner’s office, 36-year old Monterey Park resident Yeny Vergara was injured when she came off her bike around midnight last Wednesday, at 35 Crystal Cove in Newport Coast.

Vergara OC Coroner

She died just after noon on Saturday; no cause of death is given.

A satellite view of the location shows a narrow roadway turning to a dirt road as it leads to the beach. However, it’s possible that she was riding on PCH or bike path next to it, and the coroner simply gave the closest street address.

Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time.

The age and city of residence match a 36-year old master’s racer who has competed in several Southern California races this year. However, that is unconfirmed at this time, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

This is the 39th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Orange County.

Update: A response from the Newport Beach Police Department indicates her fall occurred on state property on the trails deep within the Crystal Cove State Park near the 73 Freeway. The NB Fire Department responded to the call as the closest agency; police never responded since it was reported as strictly a medical call. 

No word on whether she fell, had a medical issue, or collided with another rider, although the latter would seem unlikely if her injury occurred at the late night hour indicated by the coroner. 

Update 2: The Orange County Register reports that Vergara was apparently injured in a fall while riding on the Elevator Trail around 3:45 pm on the 22nd, rather than midnight as the coroner’s report listed. 

She was found lying unconscious on the trail, suffering from an obvious head wound despite wearing a helmet.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Yeny Vergara and all her family.

Thanks to Bill Sellin and Lois for the heads-up.

 

Anaheim Hills bike rider died from solo fall last year; his family makes moving video calling for helmet use

Too often, when a bike rider is seriously injured, it never makes the news. Especially if there’s not a car involved.

Even if it does, there’s seldom any word on what happens after that; no one other than family and friends usually know if the victim bounces back or suffers permanent injuries, or worse.

That’s what happened last year in Anaheim Hills, when bike rider died a month after he was injured in a solo fall.

According to the Orange County Register, 25-year old Gary Lofgren died in an Orange County hospital last October after falling while riding to a park to play football with friends.

A heartbreaking Facebook page created by his sister adds more information.

Lofgren was just two blocks from his home when he fell while riding downhill on September 20th. A neighbor heard him crash as he fell into some trash cans, and ran out to see him try to stand before collapsing hard onto the street.

That was 19 years to the day after his father died.

He was hospitalized with multiple brain bleeds as well as a fracture. And died exactly one month later, apparently without regaining consciousness, a few days after he was taken off life support.

And no, he was not wearing a helmet.

With the help of two friends, his family made a very moving video showing just how much they have lost. And calling for cyclists to wear helmets to keep others from suffering the same fate.

If you’ve been reading this site for awhile, you may know that I never ride without a helmet. But I am also aware of their limitations.

Bike helmets aren’t designed to protect against high speed collisions, where the force of impact can exceed their design capacity. They aren’t a substitute for riding safely, and should be seen as the last line of defense when all else fails.

But relatively slow speed falls like this are exactly what they are designed for.

A bike helmet is a cheap form of insurance against traumatic brain injury, as I know all too well. In 30 plus years of riding, I have only needed my helmet once; in that case, it probably saved my life.

Whether or not to wear one is your choice, as it should be. But like losing weight or giving up smoking, it’s something you do as much for those you’d leave behind, as much as you do for your own benefit.

As this video drives home quietly, and powerfully.

This raises the number of bicycling fatalities in Southern California last year to 86, with 20 in Orange County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Gary Lofgren and all his loved ones.

San Diego-area bike rider killed when minivan driver drifts into bike lane

Bad news from San Diego’s North County, as a 46-year old man was killed while riding in Carlsbad Wednesday evening.

According to the San Diego County Coroner’s office, Eric Steven Glasnapp was riding in a marked bike lane on College Blvd roughly one mile north of Palomar Airport Road at 6:32 pm when a minivan drifted into the lane and hit him from behind.

Despite the efforts of paramedics, he was pronounced dead at the scene just nine minutes later.

No drug or alcohol use was suspected.

And yes, Glasnapp was wearing a helmet; it clearly wasn’t enough to make a difference. A street view shows a virtual freeway with a 50 mph speed limit; a collision at that speed is not likely to be survivable, with or without a helmet.

Sadly, he leaves a wife behind.

This is the 38th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh in San Diego County; it’s also at least the fourth cycling death in Carlsbad since 2010. That compares to 56 in SoCal this time last year, and four in the county.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Eric Steven Glasnapp and all his loved ones.

Breaking News: 58-year old bike rider killed in Garden Grove, reportedly ran red light

News is just coming in that a bike rider was killed in Garden Grove this morning.

The Orange County Register reports the 58-year old Victorville resident was riding west on Century Blvd at Euclid Street when he reportedly went through a red light and was struck by a 22-year old woman driving south on Century.

He died after being transported to UCI Medical Center.

The driver remained at the scene; police appear to hold her blameless in the collision.

As always, who was really at fault depends on whether there were any independent witnesses, which the story does not mention.

This is the 38th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Orange County. It’s also the second in OC in just the last two days.

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

 

Update: 13-year old bike rider killed in Santa Ana crosswalk

Every traffic death is tragic, but some hit a little harder than others.

Especially when it involves a child riding her bike.

According to multiple sources, a 13-year old girl was killed in a collision with a truck belonging to the Santa Ana Unified School District this morning.

The collision occurred between 7:45 and 7:50 am at the intersection of West Edinger Avenue and South Center Street in Santa Ana, as the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding her bike in the crosswalk.

She suffered major head and chest injuries, and died at the scene, despite the efforts of emergency personnel. The driver was reportedly extremely distraught and remained at the scene to cooperate with investigators.

A report from KTLA-5 says the victim was an eighth grader at Spurgeon Intermediate School, despite the presence of two other schools at that corner. No word on whether she may have been attending summer classes or participating in some other activity at either school.

The station also reports that the truck was making right turn from Center Street onto Edinger when he hit the girl on her bike.

Judging by photos from the scene, as well as a satellite view, it appears the truck was headed south on Center, attempting to turn west onto Edinger. Most likely, the driver was looking left towards oncoming traffic and did not see the girl ride off the sidewalk to his right and into the crosswalk; however there could be other possibilities, as well.

Her bike was still lodged under the truck after the driver stopped some distance from the intersection. Up to 100 people were gathered at the intersection following the crash, according to the Orange County Register, many crying as they sat on the curbs.

This is the 37th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th in Orange County; that compares with 11 in the county this time last year. It’s also the 2nd bicycling death in Santa Ana in the last two months; the other victim was also killed while riding in a crosswalk.

Update: KNBC-4 has identified the victim as Priscilla Vallejo. According to the station, she was not on her way to summer school, and would have entered 8th grade in the fall.

Friends described her as a jokester who was fun to be around. 

Sadly, her mother arrived just after she was pronounced dead. No parent should ever have to see their child like that.

Update 2: The Orange County Register has corrected Vallejo’s age as 13, not 14, as originally reported; she would have turned 14 this Friday.

Update 3: Not surprisingly, the driver won’t be cited or charged in this collision; Santa Ana police say it’s just a tragedy. After all, no driver could be expected to actually look where he’s going before turning right, right?

My deepest prayers and sympathy for Priscilla Vallejo and all her loved ones.

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