Tag Archive for Simi Valley

69-year old man riding bike killed in Simi Valley right hook crash; 32nd SoCal bicycling death already this year

There just doesn’t seem to be any end to the carnage on Southern California streets this year.

Ventura radio station KTVA is reporting a man riding a bicycle was killed in a Simi Valley collision Wednesday afternoon.

According to Ventura County Star, 69-year old Simi Valley resident Stephen Wright was riding his “10-speed style” road bike north on Sycamore Drive, south of Los Angeles Ave, when he was right hooked by the driver of commercial flatbed truck around 12:15 pm.

He died at the scene.

The driver stopped following the crash and cooperated with investigators. Police don’t suspect he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

There’s a painted bike lane on northbound Sycamore, but nothing to protect riders from vehicles turning onto Los Angeles, or into the parking lots below it.

A police commander notes Wright was wearing a helmet, which clearly didn’t do any good in this case. Nor would it be likely to in a collision like that.

Anyone with information is urged to call Simi Valley Traffic Officer Bryan Sarfaty at 805/583-6189 or email bsarfaty@simivalley.org.

This is at least the 32nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second that I’m aware of in Ventura County.

That puts us on a pace for nearly 100 bicycling deaths this year — almost twice the average from just a few years ago.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Stephen Wright and all his loved ones. 

71-year old man killed riding bicycle in Simi Valley collision, 4th SoCal bike death this week

This isn’t the news any of us wanted for Christmas.

The Ventura County Star is reporting that a 71-year old man was killed riding his bike in Simi Valley Friday night.

According to the paper, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding on Royal Ave west of First Street when he was struck by the driver of an SUV around 7:10 pm.

He died at the scene.

There’s no word on how the crash occurred, or any factors that may had led to it.

While the driver wasn’t suspected of being under the influence, the paper bizarrely questions whether the victim was sober, without giving any reason to suspect he might not have been.

A preliminary investigation determined the driver of the SUV was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol but it was unclear if the bicyclist was sober.

This is the worst kind of victim blaming.

If this implication came from the police, the paper should make that clear, and explain why they suspect he might not have been sober.

If not, they should be ashamed of themselves.

Anyone with information is urged to call Simi Valley police accident investigators Laura Austin at 805/583-6183 or Cody Dee at 805/583-6224.

This is at least the 66th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth that I’m aware of in Ventura County.

He was also the fourth SoCal bicyclist killed since Tuesday.

Santa Clarita mountain biker dies on Simi Valley trail Saturday morning

Cars and drivers aren’t the only dangers we face.

Sometimes it’s your own body that lets you down.

That’s what happened yesterday morning on trail above Simi Valley, where a man apparently died of natural causes while riding with a group of friends.

According to the Ventura County Star, the victim was riding on the Undertow Trail, which they describe as a popular mountain bike trail south of Hummingbird Ranch outside Simi Valley, when he began to feel ill around 10:40 am.

His riding companions told him to turn back, and called 911.

The Ventura County Fire Department and a county helicopter crew responded; sadly, the 52-year old Santa Clarita resident died before rescue personnel could arrive.

This is at least the 30th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second that I’m aware of in Ventura County.

It’s also a reminder to see your doctor on a regular basis — especially if you’re having unexplained chest pains or difficulty breathing, no matter how fit you may feel.

It may not have made a difference in this case.

But it might in yours.

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

Update: 12-year old bike rider killed by semi-truck in Simi Valley

Heartbreaking news, as word is just coming in that a young bicyclist was killed in a collision with a semi-truck in Simi Valley tonight.

According to the Ventura County Star, a 12-year old boy was struck by a Fresh and Easy delivery truck while riding his bike around 7:30 pm Saturday at the intersection of Tapo Street and Alamo Street.

The paper says the truck was turning onto Alamo from southbound Tapo when it struck the boy, who has not been publicly identified; a report from KTLA-5 suggests the truck was actually leaving a nearby parking lot when the collision occurred.

No word which direction the truck was turning or how the collision occurred; a satellite view shows bike lanes in three of the four directions leading to and from the intersection, but not in front of the Fresh and Easy store.

As if the death isn’t tragic enough, the victim was riding with an eight-year old friend who may have witnessed the wreck.

Simi Valley police are investigating the collision, and the driver is reportedly cooperating.

This is the 28th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Ventura County; that equals the total for Ventura County for all of last year.

My prayers for the victim and his family. 

Update: By now, it’s clear from some of the comments below that the victim’s family has been notified of the death, but the victim still has not been publicly identified. If anyone would like to share the name of the victim so he can be remembered with the respect he deserves, or has any more information on how this collision occurred, please let me know. You can add a comment here, or find my email address on the About page.


Update 2: The Simi Valley Acorn has identified the victim as Jacob Sellers of Simi Valley, and added some details that clarify the situation, at least in part. 

According to the paper, the victim’s mother, Brenda Sellers, was told that Jacob was crushed under the back wheels of the truck, which dragged his bike some distance down the road. The driver was apparently unaware of the collision; a motorcycle rider had to chase him down and tell him he’d hit someone. 

A comment left here by a woman who identifies herself as Brenda Sellers says he was riding on the sidewalk and was riding too fast to avoid the truck.

And yes, minors are allowed to ride on any sidewalk in Simi Valley.

According to Sellers, her son did everything right.

“The bike he was on had brakes, he knew how to use his brakes. . . . So it breaks my heart that there are people mad because they think he was in the street riding his bike or he was assuming that he had the right of way, because that’s not Jacob, that’s not how he was,” she said.

“He was wearing his helmet. . . . He was doing everything he was supposed to be.”

She may be right.

Based on the description, it would appear that the truck driver may have failed to notice Jacob riding on the sidewalk, and pulled forward across the bike rider’s path as it turned right — a danger most bike riders would recognize, and one that few 12-year olds would have the skills to avoid.

Jacob Sellers was on this way home for dinner, riding his new bike, when he was killed just a week after his 12th birthday.

A fund has been established in Jacob’s memory; as of Friday night, it had raised over $15,000, surpassing the initial goal $10,000.

Thanks to Henry Fung for the Acorn link.

Counter-protest angry motorists in San Pedro, ride in Simi Valley to fight homelessness

A couple quick time-sensitive items to wrap up a far too busy first full day back online.

And hey, thanks to the Santa Monica Police Department for cracking down on sidewalk cyclists on Bike to Work Day. That will certainly encourage more people to take up bike commuting.

Not to mention this was the first time I’ve visited a B2W Day pit stop that was delayed by a gun threat.


First up is the all-too-typical furor over road diets and bike lanes, this time in L.A.’s long suffering and usually forgotten port city of San Pedro.

A pair of underused streets — Westmont and Capitol Drives — recently underwent reductions to calm high-speed traffic, dropping one lane in each direction and installing the typical door zone bike lanes.

And needless to say, motorists are up in arms, even though the streets are almost always empty. And even though it should be bike riders complaining about the lack of buffers between them and flinging car doors.

In fact, I’m told Westmont, which is causing most of the anger, only backs up twice a day, when parents drop off and pick up their children at the local school. And then for only 20 minutes at a time.

Which means the roads are clear for 23 hours and 20 minutes every weekday — which, by my admittedly math-challenged calculations, that would appear to be most of the day. And which would suggest that it doesn’t back up at all on weekends.

God forbid that parents would address that minimal level of congestion by allowing their children to use those bike lanes to ride to school — let alone walk — and avoid the whole barely there mess to begin with.

After all, this is a community where the local high school students are forbidden from riding to school because the campus doesn’t even have or want bike parking.

And as we all know, the convenience of drivers is far more important than the lives and safety of cyclists. Even school aged ones.

I’m told the villagers are planning to shake their pitchforks angry motorists are planning to take to the streets in protest on Monday at 4 pm. Just coincidentally in time for the evening news.

Meanwhile, bike riders are encouraged to counter protest, not by confronting the insistently motoring public’s complaints, but simply by riding the bike lanes when the cameras are present.

The message will be clear, as the cameras will show angry drivers protesting over streets devoid of traffic backups, while bike riders calmly make use of the lanes studies show will reduce collisions and serious injuries for all road users.

Even for drivers who insist road capacity should be maintained for 40 minutes of peak traffic, at the expense of all other users at any other time.

If you ride in the San Pedro area — or can make it down to a part of the city most Angelenos have never seen and many don’t even know exists — you’re strongly encouraged to meet at the Albertson’s parking lot at Westmont Drive and S. Western Ave at 3:45 pm Monday.

Short notice, I know.

But it’s a good cause. And all you have to do is keep calm and ride your bike.

Thanks to Allyson Vought for the tip.


Some people complain about the many homeless people in Southern California.  Most simply ignore them.

A few — far too few — actually care enough to do something about it.

If you fit in that category, you’ll want to head up to Simi Valley on Saturday for the first ever — not the oxymoronic first annual, thank you — Ride for the Homeless. Rides range from two to 10 miles for a $20 registration fee and 25, 50 or 100 miles for just $40, followed by a barbeque and raffle.

It’s a great cause, and highly recommended.

Thanks to Patrick Pascal for the heads-up.


The LA Weekly abandons its sometimes irrational anti-bike attitude — okay, the anti-bike attitude is always irrational; they just don’t always express it — to profile one of my favorite people, LACBC Executive Director Jen Klausner.


Oh, please.

In an absurd take on the current state of bicycling that ignores trends over the past several years and assumes that the highly diverse bicycling community is just one big monoculture, the Wall Street Journal concludes there is a trend towards casual wear when riding.

And points the finger at a backlash against Lance Armstrong.

Never mind that the more casual, non-spandex bikewear has been growing in popularity for several years, dating back to when only the French and Greg LeMond accused Lance of doping.

Accurately, as it turns out.

Or that bike riders ride in different ways and for different purposes. And what works for a half-century ride up the coast isn’t what you’d want to wear for a bike date or a quick ride to the corner market.

I can also assure the WSJ that the reason no American municipality ranks among the world’s top 20 bike-friendly cities has a lot more to do with a lack of decent infrastructure and governmental support — not to mention San Pedro-style anti-bike lane NIMBYism — than a little spandex.


Finally, I hope to see you next Wednesday, when the LACBC presents five perspectives on California’s rules of the road for cyclists. One of which will be mine.

Perspective, that is, not rules. Although I have a few of those, too.

It takes place on the first floor of LACBC’s headquarters, 634 South Spring Street, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm; free for LACBC members and just $10 for non-members.


I’ll be guest editing LA Streetsblog on Friday, as Damien Newton takes some well-deserved time off. So be sure to stop by and see if I can make a muck of their well-oiled transportation news and advocacy machine.

Salmon cyclist killed in early morning Simi Valley collision; possible Riverside bike rider fatally shot

Just when it looked like we might make it through a single week without another cyclist getting killed — which would have made it the first fatality-free week in the last 11 — comes word that two riders have died in the last two days.

One by truck. One by gun.


A 62-year old Simi Valley man died in a Thousand Oaks hospital less than an hour after he was hit by a semi-truck while riding the wrong way on a darkened street.

According to the Ventura County Star, Trinidad Nava was riding south in the north-bound side of First Street at Easy Street in Simi Valley around 4:35 am Friday, when a big rig truck made a right turn out of a driveway and hit Nava head-on; KTVA radio says the truck was leaving a car dealership.

The paper reports he was riding without lights despite the early hour; Nava was declared dead of blunt force trauma at 5:30 am.

The driver, who has not been publicly identified, stayed at the scene and tried to help him.

The Star notes that the crash occurred just blocks from where the Simi Valley City Council recently rejected proposed bike lanes on Los Angeles Avenue at the urging of local business owners; however, even if they had been approved, they would not have made a difference in this case.

What might have helped is better education and outreach.

Many cyclists who learned to ride in Central American countries were taught to ride facing traffic, rather than with traffic; some Americans were taught the same thing, especially those who started riding as children in the 50s and 60s. Yet riding against traffic greatly increases risk to riders by placing them where drivers aren’t looking for them, while reducing reaction times and increasing the force of impact.

At the same time, outreach programs, such as the LACBC’s former City of Lights program, have worked to provide lights to riders who may not understand the need for them or have the money to buy them. I don’t know if such a program exists in Ventura County.

Either way, it’s too late to help Navi.

This is the 45th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Ventura County, following the death of Guadalupe Cruz in Fillmore this June; Cruz was reportedly riding on the wrong side of the street, as well.

My sympathy and prayers for Navi and his loved ones. Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.


Riverside police report that a man has died after being found suffering from gunshot wounds on Wednesday; the Southwest Riverside News Network says that he was found next to a bicycle.

Thirty-seven-year old Riverside resident Rene Barrientos Corona was found at Arlington Avenue near Fairhaven Drive in the La Sierra Hills neighborhood when police responded to a report of a man down and bleeding in the street.

Police initially thought he had been hit by a car before medical personnel determined that he had been shot; Corona died at a local hospital the following night.

There’s no indication whether he was riding the bike or walking it at the time of the shooting; it’s possible that the bike wasn’t even his. However, the presence of the bike and the fact that police assumed he’d been hit by a car would suggest it was.

Witnesses said a dark, four-door vehicle with a spoiler on the back sped away from the area where Corona was found. Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Ron Sanfilippo at 951-353-7105 or Detective Rick Cobb at 951-353-7135.

Corona is the third bike rider to be killed by gunfire in Southern California this year, compared to nine last year.

My prayers for Corona and his family.

When cyclists get hurt, drivers demand we get licensed

Evidently, you need to be careful riding in Simi Valley these days.

Regular reader Todd M. forwarded me a link to this article in the Ventura County Star, about a woman who was hit by a minivan while riding on Los Angeles Ave in Simi Valley on Tuesday evening. According to a brief follow-up, 21-year old Michelle Bagsby was hospitalized in critical condition.

Looking for more information about the collision, I also stumbled across the story of a driver who lost control while texting on Wood Ranch Parkway, jumped the curb, veered across the roadway, rolled once after crossing the median and slid to a stop on the opposite side curb — narrowly missing a father and son who were riding their bikes on the sidewalk. The father suffered a minor leg injury from the debris, but thankfully, both escaped more serious injury.

Yet, as usually happens, instead of focusing on the tragic injuries suffered by a young woman or the barely averted tragedy caused by a texting driver just days earlier, the comments  illustrated just how little compassion some people have for their fellow human beings.

Cities need to ban bikes on streets. Bike riders are pansies and most of them ride like they’re drunk. They should learn traffic laws and stop riding on the wrong side and swerving in and out of traffic.

This, even though the story clearly indicated that the driver and cyclist were travelling in the same direction — and there was nothing in the article to indicate that Bagsby did anything wrong.

Or was a pansy, for that matter.

And it only took the second comment before someone raised the usual arguments about licensing riders and requiring insurance to ride on the road.

My wife was hit by a bicycle rider which caused over $2500.00 in damage to her car. Since Bicycle riders under the law have the same rights as car drivers on the road and we (the tax payers) are paying millions of dollars to install bicycle lanes and other amenities for bicycle riders I think it would be a great idea if bicycle riders were required to have a bicycle riders license and of course insurance to be riding on the roads.

Never mind that most cyclists already have exactly the same drivers licenses many — though unfortunately, not all — drivers have. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the LACBC showed that over 99% of the coalition’s members are licensed drivers. And the same auto insurance coverage cyclists carry for their cars covers them on their bikes, as well.

We’ll also ignore the fact that the writer was more concerned about the damage to his wife’s car than any injuries that might have been suffered by the cyclist — as well as anything his wife might have done that may have contributed to the collision in some way.

Or maybe she was just another innocent victim of those darn kamikaze cyclists, hell bent on death and destruction.

Not to mention the fact that bike riders pay taxes, too. And licensed or not, a far greater percentage of cyclists’ taxes pay for the asphalt drivers seem to take as their God-give right than the relative pennies drivers pay for biking infrastructure.

Then again, there’s no point in letting truth get in the way of a little irrational hatred.

Meanwhile, another reader, Brent B., wrote to ask if any jurisdiction has ever required licenses for cyclists. (He also has an interesting idea for separated bike lanes, which I hope to share with you soon.)

While many cities and/or states require licenses for bikes, I’m not aware of any that test and license the rider. And the limited amount of research I’ve been able to do on the subject hasn’t turned up anything.

But nothing I’ve seen comes close to matching the extreme proposal from a Toronto writer, which calls for biannual testing and a $200 fee.

That’s $200 just to ride a bike on the gold-plated streets of Toronto, even though bikes cause minimal impact — and biking facilities cost just a minute fraction of what it costs to build and maintain the infrastructure to keep cars moving.

And Ontario drivers only have to renew their licenses every five years, with no additional test required until the age of 80.

Evidently, Toronto cyclists must cause a lot more harm and kill a lot more people than their fellow road users in the multi-ton four-wheeled vehicles. Or maybe they just have a lot lower standards at the newspapers up there.

Which is kind of a scary thought in itself.

Fortunately, these sort of draconian, counter-productive proposals have yet to gain traction among the more rational segments of our society.

But take it as fair warning.

One of these days, your right to ride may not come without a fight.


Lots of bike-related activities over the next few weeks, so check back Friday night for more details. But in the meantime, make your plans for Sunday’s Brentwood Grand Prix; races start at 7 am, with categories for all ages and skill levels from kids and masters to Cat 1 racers.

And Friday is your last day to RSVP for the next Metro Bike Roundtable on Wednesday, August 11th.


L.A.’s Mayor demonstrates that hosting a summit is as easy as falling off a bike, as he invites every cyclist who doesn’t have to work on Monday mornings to a Bike Summit on the 16th. The question is, will he make a brief appearance and leave, or will he actually stick around and listen to us? Some think he’s already failed; personally, I hope he’s planning on more than just another PR event or he’s going to have a room full of very angry riders.


Save this one for future reference — LADOT Bike Blog offers Part 1 of a comprehensive look at where it is and isn’t legal to ride on the sidewalk in the L.A. area, with more to come; on the other hand, it’s usually not a good idea.


Good sponsors Moving Beyond Cars to celebrate L.A.’s alternative transportation on August 18th. Malibu adds another traffic cop, but evidently doesn’t target cyclists. Riding in Riverside correctly reminds us that bikes may be cool, but they’re just part of a balanced transportation system. According to a CHP Spokesman, when car-bike collisions occur, the fault usually lies with the cyclist; yeah, no hint of bias there.

Las Vegas cyclists hold a memorial for the cyclist killed by a suspected drunk driver Tuesday morning. Sampling a bespoke three-piece suit for spokes men, and accessories for their female compatriots. A Spokane area driver intentionally hits a cyclist who insulted his girlfriend. Lance Armstrong helps unveil Colorado’s Quiznos Pro Challenge bike race. Meanwhile, doping accusations hit Levi Leipheimer, and things are not looking good for Lance as other riders appear to support Landis’ charges; thanks to George Wolfburg for the heads-up. The New York Times checks in on Colorado’s conspiratorial candidate for the loony bin governor; a Colorado pedestrian asks if cyclists can just obey the rules. First the iPod, iPhone and iPad, now is Apple preparing to introduce the iBike? The dangers of pedaling under the influence. A letter to the driver who tried to kill a Pittsburgh cyclist. A cyclist takes bike-hating drivers to task and calls for a truce; it’s a long read, but worth it — or you can settle for the two paragraph excerpt. The Senate Banking Committee votes to support livable communities, apparently on party lines as usual.

The British Olympian who was critically injured near Winslow AZ is making a remarkable recovery. A British cyclist is struck and killed while competing in a time trial. A soldier survives the Taliban, only to lose his life trying to avoid a pothole. Even when Brits get off their bikes, the police want a word with them. Where are the helmets for London’s new rental bikes; then again, some wonder why does it matter? Speaking of her fellow riders, a cyclists says teach those idiots to obey the rules and stop at red lights. After spending six weeks in a coma following a collision with a bus, a 54-year old man sets off on a 1,000 mile ride. A teenager recklessly rides into a pedestrian after assaulting two other boys — while out on bail. The Department of DIY moves north, as unauthorized sharrows appear in Victoria, Canada, while a cyclist in nearby Vancouver says Critical Mass brats deserve to be spanked.

Finally, a Chicago rider takes the lane, only to be informed that he’s not a car, much to his surprise.

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