Tag Archive for Coachella

Bike rider killed in Coachella collision; third SoCal bicycling death in two days

Yet another person has been killed riding a bicycle in Southern California.

According to KSEQ-3, a bike rider was struck by a driver on Tyler Street near Avenue 54 in Coachella around 9:18 pm yesterday, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police report the driver stopped, and cooperated with investigators.

Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time, including the identity — or even the sex — of the victim.

But that’s more information than the Desert Sun reported, which apparently thought the crash involved a zombie car, since they didn’t even mention the driver.

A street view shows a dusty desert intersection, with a pair of two lane roads controlled by a four way stop.

This is how Victor Bale describes it.

This is an area I also ride often. It’s mostly an agricultural area with many date trees. There are no bike lanes, but with a low level of traffic, it’s relatively safe as drivers usually just move over into the oncoming traffic lanes. I must mention that there are no street lights in that entire area and at night it’s not a place to ride. My guess is this person was perhaps homeless or poor, and a bike was the only form of transportation available to him or her.

This is at least the 23rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second that I’m aware of in Riverside County.

It’s also the third person killed riding a bike in Southern California in the past two days, following deaths in Irvine and San Diego on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

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

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

Coachella bike rider killed in drunken early morning collision

It’s been a bad few weeks for Southern California bike riders.

And it doesn’t show any sign of ending anytime soon.

The latest proof comes from Coachella, where man on a bike was killed in a drunken hit-and-run early Sunday morning.

Or to put it another way, just after the bars closed Saturday night.

According to the Desert Sun, 34-year old Coachella resident Raul Gulliver was riding his bike north on Grapefruit Boulevard near Mitchell Drive around 2:15 this morning when he was hit head-on by a pickup driven by 32-year old Hector Polanco, also of Coachella.

Gulliver died at the scene.

A street view shows Grapefruit is a four lane divided roadway, which means either he was riding salmon, or Polanco was driving on the wrong side of the center divider.

Polanco was arrested on suspicion of DUI, and being held on $50,000 bond.

Anyone with any information is urged to call the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department at 760/863-8990.

This is at least the 23rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth I’m aware of in Riverside County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Raul Gulliver and his loved ones.

Update — Bike rider killed in Coachella collision

On a day when LA bike riders safely celebrated one of the city’s most iconic streets, the news from further east was much more troubling.

According to the Desert Sun, an unidentified bike rider was killed in a collision with a pickup at 6:30 Sunday evening at the intersection of Vista del Norte and Dillon Road. The paper reports the victim died at the scene, and that drug or alcohol use did not play a role in the collision.

Unfortunately, no other details are available at this time.

This is the 28th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Riverside County already this year, compared to just two in the county this time last year.

And it’s a reminder that too many of our streets remain dangerous for those who choose to travel unprotected by a few tons of glass and steel.

Update: The Desert Sun has identified the victim as 48-year old Atwater resident Larry Dale Taylor. According to the Riverside County coroner, he was wearing a helmet, which may or may not be relevant depending on the victim’s injuries and how the collision occurred.

 Thanks to attorney James Johnson for the heads-up.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Larry Taylor and his loved ones.

Update 2: KESQ.com report that Taylor was riding east on the shoulder of Vista Del Norte just west of Dillon Road when he inexplicably turned left directly in front of the pickup in what sounds like a classic SWSS.*

Reports like that should always be taken with a grain of salt, unless there are independent witnesses other than the driver, which is not clear in this case. Often when the victim is unable to give his side of the story, police are forced to rely on statements from the driver, who has an inherent interest in seeing his or her actions in the best possible light.

It’s always possible that instead of the victim turning in front of the vehicle, the driver may have drifted to the right or not seen the cyclist riding in front of him.

*Single Witness Suicide Swerve

Update: Bike rider killed in Coachella; few details available

Once again, a bike rider is dead in Riverside County. And once again, we have almost no information about what happened.

According to The Desert Sun, the victim was involved in a collision with a car at 5:11 pm, at the intersection of Van Buren Avenue and Avenue 48 in Coachella. He was pronounced dead at the scene; no word on how or why the collision occurred.

The paper identifies the victim only as an older man, while KESQ-TV says he was described as a man in his 50s, wearing dark clothing. The family in the car that hit him is reportedly cooperating with the investigation.

No other information is available at this time.

Hopefully that will change. Because whoever the victim turns out to be, he was someone’s father, son, brother or friend. And he deserves to be remembered for the person he was, instead of a nameless victim.

This is the 79th cycling fatality in the seven-county Southern California area this year, compared to 74 for all of last year, and the 11th in Riverside County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 70-year old Ruben de la Cruz Miramontes, a citizen of Mexico. According to the LA Times, Miramontes was hit while riding in the southbound lane of Van Buren, between Avenues 48 and 49. He was pronounced dead at 5:14 pm. 

Anyone with information is urged to call the Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept at 760/863-8990.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ruben de la Cruz Miramontes and his loved ones.

Two more bike deaths add to a bloody spring

Just two days after writing about the unacceptably high rate of cycling deaths on SoCal streets, we have two more to add to the list.

One was killed in an apparent solo collision Friday night; the other succumbed earlier this month to injuries suffered last November.

In the most recent case, a man was found lying dead on top of his bike on the side of the road in Coachella, at the intersection of Avenue 50 and Peter Rabbit Lane. Despite initial reports of a hit-and-run, police investigators concluded that the rider, who has not been publicly identified, was the victim of a solo collision.

According to KPSP-2, the victim was riding on the sidewalk at a high rate of speed about 8:03 pm Friday when he collided with a traffic light pole. Police investigators suggest he lost control of his bike after gaining speed on the downhill side of a railroad track overpass.

A police spokesperson indicates that the victim’s bike did not have an “operable brake system” or front headlight; that probably means he was riding a fixie, in which the fixed gearing itself can be used to stop the bike.

In the other case, 22-year old cyclist Marco Acuapan died on April 8th, over 4 months after he was injured in a Tustin hit-and-run.

Acuapan was riding west in a marked bike lane on Walnut Avenue near Browning Avenue about 7:30 pm on Wednesday, November 17th when he was rear-ended by red 2010 Mustang, which fled the scene. He suffered severe head injuries and taken to a hospital in critical condition, remaining in a coma until his death this month.

Witnesses provided police with a description and the license number of the car, which police later found abandoned in nearby cul-de-sac; Renato Demartino was arrested at his home on suspicion of felony hit-and-run.

Demartino is currently released on bond on charges of felony hit-and-run with permanent and serious injury, unsafe turn or lane change, and not using headlights after dark. No word yet on when charges will be upgraded to reflect the victim’s death.

That makes 26 cycling deaths in Southern California this year; 23 resulting from collisions after the first of the year, and 2 from shootings while riding.

Thanks to Rick Risemberg for the tip on the Coachella collision, and an anonymous tipster for the information about Acuapan’s death and charges against Demartino.

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