Tag Archive for Silverado Canyon

Update: Orange County cyclist killed in solo Silverado Canyon fall last Saturday

More bad news from what’s turning out to be a very bad weekend for SoCal cyclists.

According to the Orange County Register, 47-year old Kurt Kirkey of Rancho Santa Margarita was killed in an apparent solo fall while riding in Silverado Canyon on Saturday. The crash occurred around 9 am at Silverado Canyon Road and Hazel Bell Drive; he died after being taken to Western Medical Center.

The paper reports he was wearing a helmet.

Unfortunately, any other details are hidden behind their draconian paywall.

However, a comment from dwrads on the SoCal Trail Riders website offers more information.

Very sad.. this happened within earshot of where I live. I was getting ready to head out for a ride when I heard sound of road bike tires coming down canyon followed by the horrible sound of an impact. I knew it was bad. I called 911 and the local volunteer fire guys were with him in a few minutes. The local fire station was only about 100 feet away. My wife held his hand briefly until the EMTs got there, it was not good.

Apparently the face plate on the stem broke causing the rider to lose control and exit the road in a really bad spot impacting a rock wall head first. Typical speeds for a road bike would be 30 mph, possible more along this part of the road. He was taken to the hospital by helicopter.

Condolences to his friends and family.

Under circumstances like that, it would be almost impossible to avoid a fall. And an impact at that speed would exceed the design standards for bike helmets by nearly 250%.

Then there was this from bkeach.

Kurt Kirkey was a good friend and co-worker of mine. A very inspiring individual and a talented rider on the road and mountain. His memory will always serve as motivation for me personally to be a better man. As a father, a friend, a worker, rider, outdoors-man and human. Through humility in all he did or said, he became a personal role model, and will continue to be. I am thankful for your friendship Kurt, I am really gonna miss you buddy. My deepest condolences to his family and children, and so many other loved ones.

This is the 46th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Orange County. That compares with 34 and five, respectively, this time last year.

Most of that increase is due to a dramatic jump in bike deaths in Los Angeles County.

My prayers and deepest sympathy for Kurt Kirkey and all his family and loved ones.

Thanks to Lois for the link to the STR site.

Update: More heartbreaking details from the kevinator on the SoCal Trail Riders website. 

I was the rider with Kurt that morning, and yes, the lower stem faceplate bolt head sheared off. We were a few feet apart coming through the right hand turn when I heard it snap behind me then watched him straight-line into the wall and ravine. I believe it was your wife I yelled at to call 911 as I turned my bike around, so thank you both for your quick reaction. All I could do was try and stabilize Kurt’s head and body until EMT’s arrived, which happened in about 8 minutes. CHP and OC Fire showed up a few minutes later, and to be clear, he was not airlifted (to my knowledge). Freak accident that took a friend, husband and father away in a fraction of a second. His good friend John’s wife dropped me off at home and they went straight to Western Med when he notified me a few hours later that Kurt had passed. I can only imagine the world of hurt they must be going through right now. If you know them, please reach out to support them. Thank you.

A memorial fund has been set up for Kirkey’s two children, aged 11 and 14.

This one seems to have hit a lot of people hard, both because so many people seemed to have known and loved him, and because it could have happened to any of us. 

Let this be a reminder to inspect your bike on a regular basis. 

It’s a good idea to give your frame, fork and wheels a good once over before every ride, especially if you ride full or partial carbon, which is prone to catastrophic failure when damaged. If something looks suspect, have it checked out by your local bike shop before you ride.

It’s also smart to take your bike in for a tune-up a couple times a year. Not just to keep it at peak performance levels, but to give a professional mechanic a chance to examine it for any problems. If you can’t afford it, ask your shop for a quick safety inspection. 

That’s not to say it would have prevented the tragedy that took Kirkey’s life. 

But it might help you avoid a similar problem in the future.

Thanks to vox pop for pointing out the updates on the STR forum. 

Update 2: According to a comment from Kirkley’s brother-in-law, a memorial service will be held at the Saddleback Church, 1 Saddleback Pkwy, Lake Forest, CA on Monday 7/15/13 in Tent 2.

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