It’s been a horrible few days for California cyclists.
In the latest bad news, a man was killed while walking a bicycle on the transition between the westbound Marina (90) Freeway and the northbound 405.
According to the Culver City Patch, police in Culver City began receiving reports of a man pushing a bike along the freeway sometime around 10 pm Saturday. CHP officers responded to news of the collision at 10:03; the rider, who has not yet been publicly identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The report does not say if the driver remained at the collision site.
Just to be clear, cyclists are not allowed on most freeways in Southern California, whether riding or walking their bikes. There would appear to be no legitimate reason why he should have been on the transition ramp.
This is the 29th cycling-related fatality in Southern California this year, and the 9th in Los Angeles County; it’s also the 9th fatality in the seven county SoCal region in the very bloody, tragic month of June.
Update: Patch reports that the victim has been identified as 51-year old Los Angeles resident Joe William McKinney.
According to the report, a 43-year old woman was driving at 25 mph in the #2 lane when McKinney stepped in front of her Volvo for unknown reasons — which would make her one of the few drivers who travel that transition at anything even closely resembling the speed limit.
She clearly stayed at the scene. And there’s no explanation as yet why McKinney was walking his bike onto the 405.
In more bad news, Hollywood Patch reports that a cyclist suffered severe head trauma in a Hollywood Hills hit-and-run late Friday afternoon.
The 55-year old cyclist, who has not been publicly identified, was riding south on the 2700 block of Outpost Drive, just south of Mulholland and a few blocks from Runyon Canyon Park, around 4 pm when he was hit by a vehicle described only as an orange Jeep Cherokee.
Police are looking for security camera footage that may have captured the collision. Other news stories say the rider remains in critical condition with major injuries.
Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD West Traffic Division at 213/473-0234 or 877/527-3247.
Nicola Grossi was riding a steep descent when he lost control of his bike rounding a curve, flew off an embankment and hit a tree roughly 10 feet off the road. Two passing cyclists performed CPR for about 20 minutes before paramedics arrived.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that he was a relatively recent convert to cycling, losing over 100 pounds in the last two years as he biked to work and took long highway rides.
Grossi leaves behind a wife, daughter and three step-children. San Diego’s KGTV-10 quotes his wife saying what could be said for almost an of us.
“Right now, all I can do is hold onto the fact that he died doing what he loves,” said Grossi’s wife, Jennifer Silverman-Grossi. “I mean, there is nothing in this world that he loved more than being on that bike.”
This is the second fatality in the ride’s 36-year history; a British rider was hit and killed by a pickup while riding on the wrong side of the same road in 2003.
Finally, a rising New Zealand professional cyclist received a rude welcome to American on Friday, when he was critically injured by a hit-and-run driver.
Pure Black Racing rider Michael Torckler was training by himself in California following Canada’s Tour de Beauce when the 26-year old rider was run down by a hit-and-run driver in the Alexander Valley near Santa Rosa.
Torckler was riding downhill at a high rate of speed when he was hit head-on by accused drunk driver Arthur Ben Yun of Rohnert Park.
Yun, who was turned in by a passenger in the allegedly stolen car he was driving, is charged with driving under the influence, hit-and-run, auto theft and driving on a suspended license. He reportedly has an extensive, but undisclosed, criminal history.
Despite suffering 20 facial bone fractures, Torckler has been upgraded to fair condition; his doctors say his face took the brunt of the impact, sparing his brain from damage. His family has flown in from New Zealand to be with him.
Thanks to the Trickster for the heads-up.
My prayers for Torckler, Grossi, and the unidentified riders.
And let’s be careful out there; the period around the 4th of July is usually one of the most dangerous times for bicyclists throughout Southern California.