Tag Archive for Mission Valley

Update: Bike rider killed in San Diego’s Mission Valley Thursday night; 12th cyclist killed in SD County this year

This is not the news any of us wanted tonight.

Multiple sources are reporting that a bicyclist was killed while riding in Mission Valley in San Diego around 8:31 pm Thursday.

According to the Union-Tribune, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding east on Friars Road near Rio Bonito Way when he crossed the road diagonally and was hit by a BMW traveling in the same direction.

He died before he could be taken to a hospital. The driver, who remained at the scene, suffered a minor injury in the collision.

A street view shows four lanes of traffic on what appears to be a high speed roadway, narrowing to three near the Rio Bonito Way exit. Meanwhile, a satellite view shows a curving road with an entry lane not far west of Rio Bonito.

There’s nothing on the opposite side of the roadway, which raises the question of why the victim would have been attempting to cross; a more likely explanation is that he may have been moving from the right parking lane into the through lane as the roadway narrowed.

It’s also possible that he may not have been able to see the car coming up behind him, as it could have been hidden by the bend in the road, especially if it was traveling at a high rate of speed. It also would have been out of view if it had entered Friars Road via the ramp at Qualcomm Way, so poor road design may have been a contributing factor.

This is the 71st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 12th in San Diego County; it’s also the seventh in the city of San Diego. That compares with nine in the county this time last year, and just one in the city.

Update: KUSA-TV reports that it’s unclear if the driver may have been under the influence. 

Update 2: Vision Zero San Diego forwards raw video footage from the scene, which shows a green bike lane that was not shown in the satellite view. It also shows extensive damage to both the car and the bike, suggesting the collision occurred at a high rate of speed.

There is a visible debris field in the right lane shortly after the onramp from Qualcomm Way merges into Friars Road; the victim and his bike came to rest shortly after the exit lane to Rio Bonito Way. 

Note: This video shows graphic damage from the collision, and may be difficult to watch. 

Update 3: Turns out out the real story is a lot different from what was originally reported.

According to a press release from the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office, the victim was a 65-year old Matthew Driggers, a homeless man who was walking his bike across the street when he was struck.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Matthew Driggers and his loved ones.

60-year old cyclist killed in San Diego; police and press fall over themselves to blame the victim

Excuse me if I’m a little livid.

But once again, a cyclist has been killed. And once again, the police — and the local press — have fallen all over themselves to blame the rider.

Let’s start with official version first.

Around 11:50 am Saturday, a pair of cyclists were riding in a designated bike lane on eastbound Friars Road in San Diego, near the off-ramp for the northbound I-15 freeway. The riders attempted to cross the off-ramp; one made it, one didn’t. The victim was described only as a 60-year old white male who lived with his wife in San Diego.

According to some reports, he was hit when he attempted to ride in front of a truck; according to other reports, he hit the side of the truck and fell beneath its wheels.

No, he didn’t.

There are very few cyclists anywhere who don’t have a healthy respect for — if not fear of — large trucks. The chance that anyone would actually ride into one is somewhere between slim and none.

Then there’s the comparative speeds. The rider would have likely been travelling at somewhere around 15 – 20 mph, possibly a little more or less, while the truck would have been exiting a major freeway at highway speeds.

So who exactly hit whom? Saying the bike hit the truck is kind of like saying you hit Mike Tyson’s fist with your face.

Meanwhile, according to the San Diego NBC station, a spokesman for the police suggested that the cyclist was clearly at fault.

“It appears at this time, that the bicyclist traveled in front of the truck violating his right-of-way and was struck by the commercial vehicle,” said San Diego Police Lt. Dan Christman.

Maybe it’s me. But one of us seems to misunderstand the most basic concepts of right-of-way law.

I was taught that merging traffic must yield to through traffic. Which means, unless the intersection was clearly marked to the contrary, the cyclists should have had the right-of-way, not the truck.

There is nothing in the law that says that the larger vehicle — or the faster vehicle — has the right-of-way.

Then, in an astounding demonstration of failing to understand the most basic traffic concepts, the officer points out that the bike lane the cyclists were riding in stops just before the off ramp, then begins again in the far right lane on the other side of the junction.

So what, exactly, were the cyclists supposed to do when the bike lane ended? Magically levitate to where it starts up again?

Or maybe they just weren’t supposed to be there in the first place?

As the satellite view clearly shows, cyclists using the bike lane have no choice but to ride across a busy, high-speed off ramp, hoping against hope that exiting drivers will yield to them.

Maybe the police should try riding across that off-ramp themselves.

So rather than the fault lying with the cyclists, it would appear to be a case of exceptionally poor road design, combined with the driver’s failure to yield to oncoming traffic — in this case, a bike. And an investigation by a police department that could use a little more training in the rights and responsibilities of cyclists.

I hope his family has a very good lawyer.

It looks like they’re going to need one.

Update: The victim has been identified as Marberry Ben Acree of San Diego; his brother-in-law writes to note the family is still in shock, as would be expected, while friends express their grief.

A couple of the news reports indicate that satellite photos show the bike lane runs along Friars Road as the off-ramp merges with the through lanes. I relied on Google’s satellite photos because I’m over 125 mile from the scene of the collision; there’s no excuse for any San Diego-based station relying on satellite photos instead of taking news van over there to look at the damn road themselves.

A man was killed; isn’t that worth a little actual reporting?


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