Orange County, we have a problem.
Just five months into the year, the county has already seen seven people killed riding their bikes.
The latest came this morning, when a 70-year old woman lost her life at the hands of motorist, who was barely mentioned in news reports.
According to the Orange County Register, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was struck somewhere near the near the intersection of Portola Parkway and the 261 toll road around 9:59 am.
She was pronounced dead on at the scene.
There’s no word on how the crash occurred, or whether it happened on Portola or the 261.
The driver remained at the scene; police don’t suspect he or she was under the influence.
Victor Bale forwards word that the intersection is near the entrance to the Peters Canyon Trail.
According to Bale,
It’s a pleasant and popular trail in Orange County that can be used to head to Laguna Beach and Dana Point or further south to San Clemente or Oceanside. It also is used to lead to trails that go to Newport Beach’s back bay.
I’ve been at that intersection probably hundreds of times, typically riding on Portola over the 261 to reach the trail on the other side.
Unfortunately the story doesn’t tell us if she was exiting the trail onto Portola (can be sketchy and you need to be very careful) or if she was trying to reach the trail via Portola as I usually do.
Hopefully we’ll learn more after the holiday.
Anyone with information is urged to call Motor Officer Mike Bergstrom at 949/724-7212, ext. 2046.
This is at least the 21st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh that I’m aware of in Orange County.
Update: The victim has been identified as 70-year old Irvine resident Linda Smythe.
Still no word on how the crash occurred; however, Orange County bike advocate Bill Sellin reports she was thrown 105 feet by the force of the impact, which suggests she was struck at a high rate of speed.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Linda Smythe and her loved ones.
Thanks to Victor Bale and Bill Sellin for the information.