Tag Archive for bicycling fatality

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.

60-year old man killed riding bike in early morning West Adams crash; driver booked on DUI

Once again, someone got behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

And once again, an innocent person paid the price.

According to KCBS-2/KCAL-9, the victim was riding his bike west on West Adams Blvd near South Redondo Blvd in LA’s West Adams neighborhood around 3 am this morning when he was run down from behind.

KTLA-5 places the location of the crash one block west on West Adams near South Cloverdale Ave.

After hitting him, the 20-something driver continued on to smash into a parked car.

The victim, described only as a 60-year old man, died at the scene. Police note that he was not homeless, despite the early morning hour.

They also say the area is well-lighted and not considered dangerous for people on bicycles, and that the victim had lights on his bike; video from the scene clearly shows front and rear blinking lights.

Which means there was no excuse for taking the life of an innocent human being.

As if there ever is.

This is at least the 67th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 30th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; half of those deaths have occurred in the City of Los Angeles.

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

Thanks to John Damman for the heads-up.

Man killed riding bike on Manchester Blvd in Inglewood in possible right hook crash

For the third time in less than two years, someone on a bike has been killed on deadly Manchester Blvd.

This time in Inglewood.

According to KFI Radio, the victim was somehow struck by the driver of a stakebed truck turning right onto eastbound Manchester Blvd from northbound Hindry Ave near LAX around 7:30 yesterday morning.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

It’s unclear which street the victim, described only as a Hispanic male, was riding on.

Based on the limited description, this could have been a right hook collision if the victim was riding on Hindry, or he may have been hit as he was riding in front of the truck on Manchester or just after the driver’s turn.

It’s also possible the driver ignored the No Right On Red sign on Hindry.

The driver remained at the scene. Police have not yet determined if he or she was under the influence.

Anyone with information is urged to call Inglewood Traffic Investigator Ryan Green at 310/412-5134.

This is at least the 66th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 29th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

His death follows the deaths of an unidentified man on Manchester at South Gramercy Place in February, and Frederick “Woon” Frazier at Manchester and Normandie in April of last year.

Which suggests a serious problem on the entire corridor, whether in Inglewood or Los Angeles, where Manchester is on the city’s High Injury Network.

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

 

Hit-and-run victim Virgilio Lemus Garcia died last month, 3 days after Santa Ana crash; 22nd fatal SoCal bike hit-and-run

Unfortunately, the press seldom follows up once the ambulance doors close. And it may take weeks before we find out what happened afterwards.

If ever.

That’s what happened with 60-year old Santa Ana resident Virgilio Lemus Garcia, after he was left lying in the street by a hit-and-run driver early in the morning on Sunday, October 13th.

According to KNBC-4, Santa Ana police responded to reports of a man with a bicycle lying in the street at 5:20 am, at the intersection of Main Street and Warner Avenue in Santa Ana.

According to a witness, Garcia was riding his bike on Warner Ave when he was run down by the driver of a blue Honda, who only stopped briefly before hitting the gas.

Other reports indicate Garcia was headed north on Main when he was struck by a driver going west on Warner.

He was hospitalized in grave condition with severe bleeding his brain and throughout his body.

Sadly, Garcia’s niece reported on Facebook the following Wednesday that he had passed away, and was buried last week.

Video from the scene shows his mangled mountain bike near the curb, and the same black cowboy hat he wore in photos lying in the street.

Police are looking for a mid-1990s dark blue Honda Civic sedan with likely front-end damage, including broken head lights and a possible shattered windshield.

They say alcohol may have played a role in the crash, but didn’t explain how.

Garcia death came a little more than two weeks before last week’s fatal Santa Ana hit-and-run, and roughly five and a half miles away.

Anyone with information is urged to call Santa Ana Police at 714/245-8208 or 714/245-8700.

This is at least the 65th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the tenth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

Twenty-two of those deaths have been the result of hit-and-runs, including ten of the 21 bike riders killed since September 3rd.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Virgilio Lemus Garcia and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Bill Sellin for the heads-up, and his help in tracking down this story.

Santa Ana man killed by hit-and-run driver — ninth fatal SoCal bike hit-and-run in past two months

Enough!

Southern California bike riders are being left to die in the streets by heartless, murderous drivers at an ever increasing rate.

Nearly half of the twenty people who’ve died riding bicycles in the past two months have been killed by cowardly hit-and-run drivers, who refused to stop and render aid as required by law.

Or had the basic human decency to call for help, rather than leave another person suffering alone in the last moments of their life.

The latest hit-and-run victim lost his life early this morning in Santa Ana.

According to multiple sources, a man was found lying in the street next to a heavily damaged bicycle on the 300 block of Newhope Street near the Iglesia De La Comunidad chapel around three this morning.

KTLA-5 reports the victim, identified only as a 52-year old man, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The street has buffered bike lanes in both directions, though it’s not clear if the victim was riding in them. Police say alcohol played a factor, suggesting they believe he victim was under the influence, since the driver remains unknown.

There’s no description of the suspect vehicle, except that should have front-end damage.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Santa Ana Police Department at 714/245-8208 or 714/245-8200.

This is at least the 64 bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

Twenty-one of those deaths have been the result of hit-and-runs, including nine of the 20 bike riders killed since September 3rd.

Update: The Orange County Coroner has identified the victim as 52-year old Santa Ana resident Daniel Martinez. 

Thanks to Bill Sellin for the heads-up.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Daniel Martinez and his loved ones.

 

75-year old Oxnard man dies a week after crash with pickup driver; fifth Oxnard bicycling death this year

Yet another bike rider has died in Oxnard, in what has turned out to be a very bad year for the town of just 210,000.

According to the Ventura County Star, 75-year old Oxnard resident George Dominguez died Thursday afternoon, six days after he a struck by a driver while riding his bike.

Oxnard police investigators say Dominguez was turning left off northbound C Street into an alley near Roderick Avenue around 1 pm Friday, October 25th, when he was struck by the driver of a pickup headed south on C.

He was reportedly coherent and alert despite a visible head injury.

It’s not clear why Dominguez apparently rode in front of the truck, or who had the right of way.

The driver stayed at the scene, and wasn’t suspected of being under the influence. Police also say speed does appear to have been a factor.

Of course, speed is always a factor, even if driver was traveling at or under the 30 mph speed limit; slower speeds are less likely to result in a fatality in the event of a collision, and makes it easier to avoid.

This is at least the 63rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth that I’m aware of in Ventura County; all but one of those have been in Oxnard.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for George Dominguez and his family.

 

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