This is why parking should never be allowed in bike lanes.
A San Diego man is dead, apparently because the driver of a city utility truck blocked a bike lane on a steep descent.
According to San Diego’s FOX 5, the victim was riding west on the 14500 block of Carmel Valley Road east of Black Mountain Road in Black Mountain Ranch just before 10 am today, when he crashed into the rear of a city storm water truck parked in the bike lane along the north curb.
An email from the San Diego Council of Bicycle Clubs reports the victim was riding ahead of a companion when he crashed into the truck, which did not have any warning cones or flashers on.
The other rider attempted to perform CPR; however, the victim, publicly identified only as a 42-year old man, was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering severe head trauma.
A photo from the scene shows his mangled bike on the other side of the sidewalk next to the parked truck. There’s no word on whether the truck was occupied, or if there was a reason why it was parked just below a no parking sign.
Unfortunately, California law allows parking in bike lanes except where specifically prohibited by local ordinances. While the street is posted no parking, the signs appear to be spaced too far apart, and it is likely there is an exception for utility workers in the performance of their duties.
Whether that was the case here, or the driver just pulled over for some reason is still unclear.
A street view shows a long, sweeping descent that could have allowed the victim to gain significant speed — although likely not the 45 to 50 mph police originally reported, which exceeds the Strava KOM for that segment.
It seems likely that the victim was descending at speed, not expecting anything blocking the bike lane, and was unable to stop once the truck came into view around a sweeping curve.
It’s also worth noting that, while there is no word on whether the victim was wearing a helmet, bike helmets aren’t designed to protect against hard impacts at relatively fast speeds. Especially one resulting from a near instantaneous stop.
It’s also worth noting that the police found the victim’s cell phone on the side of the road, and were examining it to see if he was using it at the time of the crash.
Which is a pretty good indication that the investigators have never ridden a bike downhill, let alone at high speed.
This is at least the 41st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth that I’m aware of in San Diego County.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.
Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.