Tag Archive for Santa Maria

Morning Links: Charges filed in death of randonnuer Matthew O’Neill; pro cyclist honored for abandoning race

Turns out a powerful family isn’t enough to prevent a killer driver from facing charges after all.

According to the Santa Barbara Independent, the 16-year old son of former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado, who has not been publicly named because he’s a juvenile, will face charges in the death of popular randonnuer Matthew O’Neill.

He’s being charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, as well as non-compliance with driving terms and restrictions for driving without a licensed driver over 25 in the vehicle, and driving a commercial vehicle without a license.

However, since he’s being charged as a juvenile, he can only be held until he’s 28, no matter what his sentence may be. Assuming he’s convicted, of course.

O’Neill was reportedly lit up like a Christmas tree and well positioned in the lane when he was hit by Maldonado’s truck and/or the horse trailer it was pulling.

A local TV station reports O’Neill was only 10 months from earning a second PhD in Disabilities and Risk Management when he was killed.



UnitedHealthcare pro rider Lucas Euser will be honored by the US Olympic Committee for abandoning the US pro road championship to care for fellow racer Taylor Phinney after he was seriously injured in a fall.

Euser and Phinney were leading the race at the time, and he could have possibly gone on to win if he had continued.

Now that’s class.





A WeHo website asks what is it about stop signs West Hollywood drivers don’t understand; actually, make just about anywhere in Southern California, where stop is merely a suggestion.

A San Pedro letter writer says she’s never seen a bicyclist on the new bike lanes in the area; maybe she should look a little harder.

A 47-year old Torrance cyclist is in critical condition after she’s hit by a left-turning car on Crenshaw Blvd.



San Diego’s BikeSD pushes an LA-style cyclist anti-harassment ordinance for our neighbor to the south.

The Desert Sun calls for greater protection for cyclists, including more bike paths and physical barriers separating riders from motor vehicles.

Santa Barbara cyclists get a new bike corral.

Redwood City police are looking for a suspect who punched a man to steal his bike.



The Bike League presents their latest list of bike friendly businesses, including several in California (pdf); the Santa Monica Bike Center is the only local Platinum recipient.

Bicycling suggests 16 great rides to see fall foliage — including near-treeless Las Vegas. And the magazine reviews bike cams starting at $230.

Buffered bike lanes may come back to Boise just months after they were unceremoniously ripped out.

A Wyoming writer says cyclists have to brave ignorance and impatience. And too often have to stop and change their shorts after an encounter with a driver.

A Michigan driver who killed a cyclist over the summer was killed in a hit-and-run while walking on Wednesday; police aren’t ruling out retribution for the earlier death.

Update: I originally included a story about a bike collision in New York; however, as Bran Nilsen pointed out in a comment, on closer reading, it was about a motorcycle collision. While those are no less tragic than bicycle collisions, that’s not what this site is about, so I have removed the link.



A new study says poor infrastructure and speeding traffic are the biggest reasons transportation cyclists break the rules. And in other news, ice is cold.

A German man is banned from Yellowstone for crashing a drone into a lake while filming a charity bike ride.

CNN says Taiwan’s Giant Bicycles makes the world’s most aero bikes by baking them like bread.



Business Insider offers 15 rules for riding a bike in New York; the first one is bring deodorant. And the Boston Globe says there’s nothing new about the conflict over our roads; riders have been fighting for space since the 1880s.

Don’t forget yesterday’s very late morning links in case you missed them. And come back later for news about our new sponsor, Saturday’s Huntington Park Gran Prix.


Morning Links: Details come out in death of randonneur Matthew O’Neill; new Chinese bike doesn’t need you

Finally, more details on the death of SoCal randonneur Matthew O’Neill outside of Santa Maria earlier this month.

According to the Santa Barbara Independent, O’Neill was riding far to the right on a straight, if narrow, stretch of roadway and was “lit up like a Christmas tree” when he was hit by a truck driven by the unnamed 16-year old son of former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado.

A spokesman for the CHP says the investigation will take some time, and that all factors — including speed and distracted driving — are being considered. However, they do not believe drugs or alcohol use played a role.

There’s also some question whether the boy was legally allowed to drive the truck and horse trailer, as California law prohibits drivers under 18 from operating a vehicle with a passenger under the age of 20 unless accompanied by an adult over 25 years old. The only passenger in the truck was his 18-year old brother; he was also a passenger when his mother was involved in another fatal collision on the same stretch of roadway two years earlier.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like an inexperienced driver attempted to squeeze past the victim’s recumbent bike without changing lanes, and sideswiped him with the truck or trailer.

Whether that’s enough for the CHP to recommend charges against a member of a politically powerful family remains to be seen.


Good read from Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman on how bikes can help reclaim public space for marginalized communities.

There is no earthly reason that men of color should feel that the act of walking or riding a bicycle down the street is akin to extending an embossed invitation to police to stop, question, and frisk them, hand them bogus tickets (for not having bike lights in the day time, for example), or worse.

Amen, sister.


Matthew Gomez writes to report the city of Arcadia just installed new bike lanes on 1st between Colorado and St. Joseph. It’s only three blocks, but it’s a start.



LA cyclist Zachary Rynew looks at the anatomy of a bike wreck, which, like most, clearly didn’t need to happen; he reports the injured riders still aren’t back on their bikes.

A occasionally bike riding columnist for the Pasadena Star-News just doesn’t get the animosity some drivers and San Marino residents have for cyclists.

KCET looks at plans for an Emerald Necklace greenbelt around LA County.



Despite increasing ridership rates, bike versus pedestrian injuries have declined in New York and California.

More than 1,000 riders of every description — including the city’s bike riding mayor — turn out to ride in support of San Diego cyclist Juan Carlos Vinolo, paralyzed by an alleged drunken wrong way driver on Fiesta Island last week.

San Diego’s Bike the Bay rolls this weekend, giving cyclists a once-a-year opportunity to ride the iconic Coronado Bay Bridge.

Our neighbor to the south unveils a website for San Diego’s new Bicycle Advisory Committee.

San Bernardino authorities are looking for a hit-and-run driver who fled on foot after striking another car, then spinning into a cyclist, leaving the critically injured rider in a medically induced coma.

Not surprisingly, San Jose merchants object to the removal of parking spaces in order to install bike lanes. Just like virtually every other merchants in virtually every other city — even though it’s been repeatedly shown bike lanes are good for business.



Lance still believes he won seven Tours de France; then again, he was there.

Six things to like about Seattle’s new two-way separated bike lanes.

Marijuana-related traffic fatalities are up 100% in pot-friendly Colorado.

Somehow, a South Dakota driver didn’t break any laws in killing a bike rider — despite being cited for failure to use due caution and failure to yield. But other than that…

A new, narrow bike lane may have contributed to a fatal New Hampshire dooring.

New York won’t consider bike lanes or other infrastructure on Park Avenue, despite the recent deaths of three bicyclists.

Caught on video: New York police search for a hit-and-run driver who made a U-turn to intentionally run over a pedestrian.



Chilean students design a bike that doesn’t need a lock. Because it is one.

If legendary rock drummer Ginger Baker hadn’t been hit by a car while riding his bike when he was 16, he might have become a professional cyclist, instead; he credits long-distance riding with the stamina needed to play the drums.

Despite calling for them now, London cyclists fought separated bike lanes 80 years ago.

In yet another anti-bike terrorist attack, a young British girl is nearly decapitated when someone strings a bike brake cable across a popular pathway.

If cyclists are breaking the law, there’s a problem with the street.

Caught on video: A Dublin tour guide is a Facebook hero after tackling a bike thief.

French pro Thomas Voeckler suffers his fourth broken collarbone in a collision with a car.

The author of an anti-bike Aussie Facebook page now calls for détente between cyclists and motorists.



There’s got to be a story here, as a Burlingame cyclist gets into an argument with a man whose dog peed on his bike helmet; hopefully, he wasn’t wearing it at the time.

And forget driverless cars; a Chinese firm is developing an autonomous, self-riding bike. But then, what would be the point?


Morning Links: Popular LA cyclist seriously injured, update on the San Diego crash that injured 8 riders

Lots of news today, so grab some coffee, limber up your clicking finger and settle in for a good read.


Popular LA cyclist Jo Celso is hospitalized in San Diego after suffering serious injuries while riding at the San Diego Velodrome Tuesday night. Donations to defray medical expenses can be made through PayPal.


The driver in the San Diego crash that sent eight cyclists to the hospital was allegedly under the influence of alcohol and drugs, possibly including meth; she has a history of petty crime dating back to 2006.

One of the victims reportedly couldn’t feel his legs following the crash, while the Times says one of the injured — most likely the same rider — suffered a major vertebral fracture; sounds like prayers or good wishes are in order.

And BikeSD calls for charges against the driver.


A Santa Maria TV station confirms the rumors that the passenger in the truck that killed Chula Vista randonneur Matthew O’Neill was the 18-year old son of former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado. Nicolas Maldonado was also a passenger in another fatal collision involving his mother two years ago.

According to the same rumors, the 16-year old driver who killed O’Neill is also a member of the Maldonado family.

Meanwhile, Stacy Kline offers a moving remembrance of her friend and riding companion.


More on our fellow cyclist Robin Williams, his big heart and his love of bikes.

First up, noted bike rider Conan O’Brien relates how Williams tried to cheer him up following O’Brien’s dismissal from the Tonight Show by giving him an outrageously silly bicycle.

Then there’s the story told by Bay Area comic Johnny Steele, who said Williams bought him a custom-made bike and became his regular riding partner after Steele told him he didn’t ride because he couldn’t afford it. And all because Williams liked his joke about 65-year old men on $6,500 bicycles.

Meanwhile, a bike shop owning friend of the comedian says Williams told him cycling saved his life after kicking cocaine.

And the Wall Street Journal relates how he once met famed Italian bike builder Dario Pegoretti, and how Williams said he loved riding because it’s a close as you can get to flying.

I think we can all relate to that one. I’ve said the same thing myself more than once.



The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is hosting a fundraising Firefly Ball the day before Halloween, honoring Andy Leeka of Good Samaritan Hospital, Long Beach’s Suja Lowenthal, and legendary BAC founder and bike advocate Alex Baum; tickets start at $250.

Meanwhile, the LACBC is holding a workshop on fundraising for bicycle advocates next Thursday.

Attend a live recording of the Bike Talk podcast at the Levi’s pop-up store this Friday with hosts Nick Richert, Melissa Balmer and Maria Sipin.

The Daily News takes a look at LADOT’s new Bicycle Friendly Business program.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers advice for walking or biking back to school.



California lists 147 projects that could get funding under the state’s new Active Transportation Program, including several in Southern California.

Calbike offers their monthly update.

New bike lanes are approved near Corona del Mar High School.

A 23-year old Big Bear rider competes in his first year as a professional cyclist.



Even the feds want you to take a bike tour.

Once again, a foreign tourist riding across the US is killed by a drunk driver, this time an Australian woman who was killed in Indiana just 500 miles from her destination.

Caught on video: Angry motorists confront a Vermont cyclist, saying they should have run him over. And to make matters worse, it was the rider got ticketed — for riding in the traffic lane.

Once again, the NYPD cracks down on the victims of traffic violence, rather than the cause.



Toronto cyclists win a fight for protected bike lanes.

London cop hops on a stolen bike to chase down a wanted bike thief.

Poetic justice, as a drunken Brit bike thief breaks his ankle when the bike he’s trying to make off with falls on him.



Kids, don’t do this at home. A Kansas driver pulls into a parking lot to confront a bike rider, who promptly pulls out a gun and shoots him in the face; the rider was taken into custody nearby.


Bike rider killed in Vista train collision; popular randonneur killed Saturday in Santa Maria

Sometimes, all it takes is a single tragic error in judgement.

That was the case last night, as a bike rider lost his life apparently trying to beat a train in North San Diego County.

According to multiple sources, a 48-year old man, who has not been publicly identified, was hit by a Sprinter light-rail train in an unincorporated area of Vista. The collision occurred at a railroad crossing at the intersection of Woodland Drive and South Santa Fe Avenue at 8:07 pm Monday.

According to witnesses, the warning gates had been down for more than 40 seconds, with the lights and bells activated, when the victim rode around the gates and onto the track. He was struck by oncoming the train, which had been sounding its horn as it approached the intersection.

The victim was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No explanation was given for why he attempted to cross the tracks despite multiple visual and audible warnings.

He was the third person killed by a train in the county in the last five days.

This is the 58th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in San Diego County. He is also the third bike rider to be killed by a train in the seven-county SoCal region since the first of the year.

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

Thanks to Rick Risemberg for the heads-up. 


I don’t normally report on bicycling fatalities that occur outside the SoCal region.

However, I’ve gotten multiple reports of a cyclist killed on Foxen Canyon Road in the Santa Maria area over the weekend.

According to the Santa Maria Times, the victim was a 33-year old Chula Vista resident, who was hit by a 16-year old driver in a truck pulling a horse trailer.

Now word is coming in that victim was Matthew O’Neil, a popular randonneur well known in SoCal riding circles. I’m told that a group of riders participating in the ultra-distance event came upon the scene shortly after the collision, and recognized the victim by his unique Bacchetta recumbent bike.

Meanwhile, rumors are swirling that the driver is the son of a woman involved in another fatal wreck on the same road in 2012.

Hopefully, we’ll have more information later.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Matthew O’Neil and all his family and friends. 

Thanks to Mike T for the link


Updated: Five SoCal cyclists dead in last 5 days; 6th fatality uncomfirmed

It is a sad irony that the same week local cyclists celebrate L.A.’s groundbreaking cyclist anti-harassment ordinance, we’re forced to confront one of the bloodiest weeks in recent memory.

Just this week, bike riders have been killed in Downtown Los Angeles and Big Bear; in addition, a Simi Valley man has been killed while riding in Hawaii, and a Long Beach man died of injuries he received in a collision on July 6th.

That’s in addition to news that a 17-year old cyclist shot and killed on over the weekend while riding his bike.

Five deaths in the last five days, spanning the spectrum of potential hazards facing riders.


Let’s start with the collision that killed a 63-year old man in Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday evening.

While it was widely reported that this death may have been collateral damage resulting from a road rage incident between two drivers, multiple sources at City Hall have told me that the police are no longer investigating this as a confrontation between the motorists.

According to these sources, the collision occurred as a result of the drivers competing for lane space on the street, resulting in the driver of the Avalanche swinging to the right of the roadway where the victim, who has not yet been publicly identified, was riding.

As a result, the driver who had been taken into custody has been released.

This does not mean that no charges will be filed in the death, though; the investigation is still continuing.

Flying Pigeon offers a photo of the ghost bike that will be installed for the victim, if it hasn’t been already.


Twenty-three-year old Christopher Sop of Big Bear Lake was killed in an apparent solo riding accident on Mill Creek Road, approximately one mile south of Tulip Lane in the unincorporated part of Big Bear.

According to the Rim of the World News, the Big Bear Sheriff’s Department responded to a report of a man down at 6:17 pm on Monday. Officers concluded that Sop had been travelling north on Mill Creek when he lost control of his bike and struck a rock; he was pronounced death at the scene, with time of the accident estimated at around 3:40 pm.


A 67-year old Long Beach man has died of injuries he received when a truck driver allegedly ran a red light on July 6th in the Bixby Knolls area.

According to the Long Beach Press Telegram, Louis Gabor was riding his bike east on Bixby Road when he was struck by a Chevrolet S-10 pickup while crossing Cherry Avenue at around 11 am. After nearly two weeks in critical condition, he died of his injuries on Tuesday.

The driver, who has not been publicly identified, faces possible a possible charge of vehicular manslaughter once the investigation is concluded.


Maui Now reports that 24-year old Anthony Hernandez of Simi Valley was killed while riding in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii on Thursday, July 16th.

Kona police found Hernandez laying next to his bike after responding to a report of a crash at 1:18 am. He reportedly lost control of his bike and fell, hitting his head on the pavement and suffering critical face and head injuries; he died of his injuries on Sunday the 17th.

The website reports that he wasn’t wearing a helmet; in this case, that information is actually worth mentioning, since this is exactly the sort of slow-speed impact helmets are designed to protect against. It also suggests that police are investigating the possible “influence of intoxicants” in the crash.

However, as in the case of Christopher Sop in Big Bear — and any case in which a rider is found unconscious or dead on the side of the road — the question is why he lost control of his bike.

It’s entirely possible that it was the result of carelessness or intoxication on the part of the rider. But it’s also possible that it could be due to road conditions, or being brushed, buzzed or harassed by a passing vehicle. With no physical evidence, it’s very easy to blame the victim for something that may or may not have been his fault.


Finally, the 17-year old cyclist killed in a shooting in Montecito Heights on Saturday evening has been identified as Jesus Lopez of Los Angeles. The Press-Enterprise reports that no arrests have been made; anyone with information is asked to call Detectives J. Rios or Cary Ricard at (323) 342-8959. During non-business hours or weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.


These deaths — excluding that of Anthony Hernandez in Hawaii — raise the total of confirmed bicycling fatalities throughout Southern California this year to 47; 5 by gunshots and 42 in solo accidents or collisions with trains or motor vehicles; 20 of those deaths have occurred in L.A. County.

My sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims.


Update: I had originally included a sixth fatality in this article; as noted on Tuesday, I had received an anonymous tip about a cycling fatality in Santa Maria; when I did a Google search for confirmation last night, I found an article from the Santa Maria Times that seemed to line up with the information I had, including the location.

However, I missed the date on the story. Even though I was searching for stories that had appeared online in just that last 24 hours, what I found was a story about a collision that occurred last November, as David Huntsman was kind enough to point out. As a result, I have removed references to the Santa Maria fatality while I wait for confirmation.

My apologies for the confusion.

Update: I’ve received confirmation that report of the Santa Maria collision was in error, and that no fatality occurred. And yes, that is very good news. 

Possible cycling fatality in Santa Maria, pedestrian killed in unreported Westside hit-and-run

I’ve received an unconfirmed report of a cycling fatality in Santa Maria on Monday. According to an anonymous source, a 73-year old man was struck and killed at the intersection of Betteravia and Sinton Roads just after noon; rescue personnel were unable to resuscitate him and he was declared dead at the scene.

More details as they become available.

Update: Fortunately, this one turned out to be a false alarm; the report was based on an undated internet story referring to a collision that occurred last year.


Streetsblog reports on a fatal hit-and-run that never made the news, on the same night an allegedly drunk/distracted driver plowed into a group of cyclists in Culver City.

The collision took the life of a pedestrian crossing Venice Blvd at Motor, just 1.25 miles from the other incident, in the early morning hours of Thursday, June 16th. The victim was walking with the light when a dark colored Volkswagen Jetta ran the red light, then sped off to leave him dying in the street.

Anyone with information is asked to call call the West L.A. Traffic Division Officer O. Osbourne at 213-473-0234.  If you’re calling after-hours or on the weekend, please call 1-877-LAPD-24-7.


Danae Marie Miller is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on September 22nd in Newport Beach on a single count of felony vehicular manslaughter in the February death of triathlete Amine Britel. She reportedly was texting and had a BAC of .10 at the time of the collision, and had 16 prior tickets for moving infractions.


As racing resumes after yesterday’s rest day, Thor Hushovd wins stage 16 of the Tour de France; defending champ Alberto Contador must have resumed eating Spanish beef as he gains precious seconds on the leaders.

Evidently, I’m not the only one who thinks this year’s tour is anything but boring. Dave Moulton says keep an eye on Samuel Sanchez. A lasting, if somewhat gruesome, image to show how tough Tour riders really are. Current TdF leader Thomas Voeckler says he has no chance of winning.

Meanwhile, Lance goes to court to demand an investigation into apparent grand jury leaks, saying the Justice Department is trying to destroy his legacy in the court of public opinion. And Alexander Vinokourov closes out his dope-marred career; sometimes I wonder if the cyclists banned for doping are just the ones who got caught, though others might disagree.


Streetsblog’s Damien Newton bookends Carmageddon with a preview on Fox 11, as well as offering a wrap-up with his usual insight; he says there are just too many freeways. Riding to Carmegeddon Ground Zero. GOOD wants you to imagine L.A. without cars; isn’t that what Carmageddon was all about? Police save the 405 from the indignity of being ridden by 200 or so cyclists. Local officials hope the positive Carmegeddon experience will encourage Angelenos to drive less; I give it maybe two weeks tops.

A mathematical follow-up to the great Bike vs. Jet race. Yes Magazine looks at the cyclists who beat an airplane, while Time Magazine evidently misses the part about Gary Kavanagh finishing 2nd on Metro.


The Sacramento Bee offers a semi-tongue-in-cheek list of 11 things thing the pros do that you shouldn’t when you ride your bike.

I realize they’re trying to be funny while making a point. But personally, I’m getting pretty fed up with all the attacks on cyclists who wear Lycra bike clothes; anyone who thinks riders wear spandex to fit in or be fashionable doesn’t have a clue what road riding is all about.

Experienced riders know that road biking shorts and jerseys are designed to provide for maximum comfort and performance over long distances at relatively high speeds by wicking away moisture and preventing chafing while minimizing drag caused by loose, flapping attire.

But nobody says it’s mandatory. Street clothes are perfectly fine if that’s what you want to wear, especially when riding shorter distances or at slower speeds.

So if you don’t like Lycra, don’t wear it.

And anyone who thinks shaved legs are about “primping” has never tried to field dress a gashed calf 40 miles from home.


Bikes Belong gives a grant to the LACBC to study the economic impact of a road diet on York Blvd; the results could provide much needed support for bike projects across the country. The Westside Cities Council of Governments meets at the VA on Thursday; coordination of bike planning and potential funding sources is on the agenda. New Miracle Mile bike racks prove popular. Surf, skate and bike at the Architecture and Design Museum. A discussion of bike share in Santa Monica. Cycletracks are coming to Temple City. Sometimes it only takes a new grate to help make a street a little safer. A Whittier veteran rubs elbows with royalty to promote the Ride Against Homelessness Bike Ride.

Your next Felt could be a little more affordable. Three Newport Beach teenagers are arrested as bike thefts spike. No charges yet in a Ventura hit-and-run. The correct answer to “where to ride your bike” isn’t “somewhere else.” Another Californian has been busted for Biking Under the Influence after colliding with a car. A mountain biker dies after losing control on a Lake Tahoe trail.

Road ID offers a great series on the rules of the road, including videos with bike lawyer Bob Mionske. A new bike can help leave even the worst disappointments behind. Lovely Bicycle defines what bicycle safety means to her. Elly Blue looks shows how disability doesn’t mean a lack of ability when it comes to riding a bike. A look at the Bike Lady of St. Ignatius MT; thanks to new Montanan and former Angeleno Dancer al a Mode for the heads-up. Springfield Cyclist wins not one, but two bikes. A Chicago man complains about the way ghost bikes look over time. It takes a genuine jerk to door a 6-year old and say “I hope you learned your lesson, young man.” A Princeton fusion researcher is killed on the final day of a 500-mile charity ride. NYDOT turns a safe and pleasant commute into a potentially deadly ride. No bike share station on DC’s National Mall.

A new London gym offers indoor bike parking and bike repairs. A British teenager rides on water to raise money for charity; thanks to Rex Reese for the link. Now that’s what I call cycle chic. An English cyclist riding across Africa has all his gear stolen, except for his bike and passport. A fascinating, if lengthy, look at the Rwandan Cycling Team from the New Yorker.

Finally, a Boston cyclist says yes, we are trying to take over the streets.

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