More bad news for Southern California cyclists.
A CHP transmission reports that yet another bike rider has died on our streets. According to the cryptic message, the coroner has been called to a solo bike wreck on Mulholland Highway at Stunt Road, just outside Stunt Ranch State Park and Red Rock Canyon Park above Malibu.
The first call came in at 9:33 this morning, with the coroner called just after 10 am. The transmission codes (1144, 1019 and 1039) indicate a probably fatality, with rescue personnel instructed to return to the station, followed by confirmation of the call to the coroner’s office.
The satellite image shows a three-way intersection with a stop on Stunt Road, and an uncontrolled intersection on Mulholland.
No other information is available at this time.
This marks the 39th cycling fatality in Southern California so far this year, and the 11th in Los Angeles County. This is also the ninth cyclist to die in a solo collision since the beginning of the year.
And it’s the 10th cycling death in just the last nine days, as the horrible, tragic string of recent cycling fatalities continues for yet another day.
My prayers and sympathy for the victim and all his or her family and loved ones.
Update: The L.A. Times reports that the victim, who has not yet been publicly identified, was a black male approximately 40 years old, who died at the scene. A comment to this story says he left behind a wife and children.
The Times puts the time of the collision at 9:20 am, while other sources put it just before 9 am. However, all reports agree that the rider somehow veered of the road and down a ravine.
As always, the question is why. He may have simply lost control or had a mechanical failure, or could have been forced off the road or over reacted to a passing car.
There’s no indication whether he was riding alone or with a group, or if there were any witnesses to the wreck.
Update 2: The L.A. Daily News has identified the rider as 42-year old Willis Veluz-Abraham of Winnetka. The paper also places the location of the collision as near Stunt Road and Mulholland; a comment places the location on the mid to upper section of Stunt.
Update 3: Starting to get a little more information. In a comment below, Justin Murray identifies the location as a curve near Mile Marker 3 on Stunt Road, and points the finger at newly installed rumble strips in the center of the roadway. If anyone has photos of the location or the rumble strips, please let me know.
While they may seem harmless to motorists, rumble strips can be exceptionally dangerous to cyclists. Someone taking a corner a little to hot could easily drift over the center line and lose control after hitting them. It’s especially dangerous if the strips were newly installed, as Murray suggests, as riders may not have known they were there if the strips had been installed since the last time they’d ridden that road, especially if there were no warning signs pointing to their installation.
Update 4: One of the saddest things about any tragedy like this, to me at least, is that most of us never get to know the person that was taken away from us. Not just the name, or barest details of his or, but who they really were.
That’s why I’m elevating a couple of the comments that came in this afternoon after Veluz-Abraham was identified as the victim. Maybe they’ll touch you as deeply as they did me — and remind us all just how much is lost when any one of us is taken away needlessly.
Willis was a co-worker and a friend of mine. Since the first time I met him, he was always friendly and he always had a smile on his face. His wife and him recently had their second child.I had a conversation with him a few days ago and he was mentioning how important it was for him to have quality time with his wife and children.
Willis was also very active in his Church. He was a graduate of UCLA and he was originally from Northern California. Willis love to eat and he enjoyed trying new foods. Willis and his wife enjoy salsa dancing.
Everyone at work is crashed that he died this way. I take some comfort that he died while doing something he loved to do and that he live his life to the fullest.
From Fellow Bruin:
I’ve known Willis since my college days. Such a bright light he is/ was to anyone who knew him. Such a shock and a terrible loss for our entire community. He and his wife just welcomed their 2nd son into the world in February. That’s the worst part– he’ll never remember just what a special dad he had. Willis was no dare-devil. I don’t know how this could happen- but ride carefully, folks!
Please, take that last part seriously. We may not know exactly how or why he died, but we do know how to avoid the next one.
Ride carefully, ride smart, ride defensively.
There are people who love you, and count on you to come home from your rides.