Tag Archive for solo bike collision

Update: 8th Southern California cyclist killed in last 8 days, as Chula Vista cyclist dies in solo fall

I don’t even know what to say any more.

In the single worst period in memory for Southern California cyclists, eight riders have now died since Friday of last week, as a Chula Vista cyclist succumbed to injuries suffered yesterday in a solo fall.

According to a release from the Chula Vista police, a 39-year old bike rider, who has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, was riding northbound on Broadway near C Street around 2:50 pm. A witness saw him lose control going downhill and tumble on the roadway, suffering a serious head injury.

He died shortly after being transported to the UC San Diego Medical Center.

The report notes that the victim was not wearing a helmet; for once, that actually might matter, since this would seem to be exactly the sort of collision bike helmets are designed to protect against.

Eight deaths.

A rate of one a day, distributed throughout the seven county SoCal region — although, as you’ll see below, San Diego County has suffered far more than their share, accounting for well over half of the cycling deaths in the last week.

And from a wide spectrum of causes, from solo falls to late night hit and runs, and cyclists of seemingly every possible description.

If there’s a common element, I can’t find it. And I have no idea how to stop this outrageous streak of roadway carnage.

All I know is this can’t go on.

It just can’t.

At the end of May, we were on a pace for just 48 bicycling deaths this year; as of today, that’s risen to 68.

This is the 37th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in San Diego County — the same rate as Los Angeles County, but with less than one-third the population. He was also the fifth cyclist to die in San Diego County in just the last eight days.

And he was the eighth cyclist to die in a solo riding incident since the first of the year.

My prayers and condolences to the victim and his loved ones. And my prayers for everyone who rides today; may you all return home safely.

Thanks to Sam at Bike SD for the heads-up.

Update: The San Diego Union-Tribune identifies the victim as 39-year old George Sandoval of Chula Vista. According to the paper, Sandoval was riding on the sidewalk when he began of steer his bike into the street; his front wheel somehow detached and his fork dug into the road, throwing his over his handlebars and onto the street. He was pronounced dead a little more than an hour later.

Let this be a reminder to have your bike checked out by a qualified mechanic on a regular basis to avoid mechanical failures like this.

Make that 7 deaths in just the last week, as Temecula cyclist killed in solo riding wreck

The number of Southern California cyclists killed in the last week has now reached seven.

The horrifying bloodbath that began with the hit-and-run death of Angel Bojorquez in Rancho Sante Fe — or maybe the death of San Diego bike rider Theodore Jones, who succumbed on Saturday to injuries he suffered July 3rd — claimed yet another victim when a Temucula teacher was killed in a solo riding collision.

According to Temecula Patch, 41-year old Temecula resident Randy Pruett was riding with a regular weekly group ride sponsored by Jax Bicycle Center in Murrieta last Saturday. As he descended on Rice Canyon Road near Rainbow County Road east of Fallbrook, he blew a tire, sending off the road and colliding hard with a tree.

Pruett suffered severe internal abdominal injuries, resulting in massive blood loss; he died on Monday at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido.

A memorial service is planned for next Monday at Sunridge Community Church, and Jax is sponsoring a memorial ride and blood drive on the 28th; details available on the Patch story.

Patch also reports that a memorial fund has been set up for his wife and daughter. Checks or cash can be brought or mailed to Jax at 26612 Margarita Rd., Murrieta, CA 92562.

I wish there was some common thread running through these seven deaths in this past week, by far the worst period for Southern California cyclists in my memory. Something we could point at as the problem, and do something about to halt this tragic carnage and prevent future deaths.

But if there is, I can’t find it.

Three of the cyclists were killed in hit-and-runs, one was hit by a speeding motorcyclist — though police seem poised to blame the victim. One rider apparently hit a car, while another was hit by one.

And one, Pruett, died in a solo collision, apparently the result of equipment failure.

All I know is that one death is too many; seven in seven days is a heartbreaking, infuriating obscenity.

This is the 36th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 9th in San Diego County. It’s also the seventh solo riding death since the first of the year.

My deepest condolences and prayers for Pruett and his family and friends.

Rancho Cucamonga cyclist dies after being found injured on bike trail

Monday was not a good day for badly injured cyclists.

Just hours after Lihsiang Chang passed away in La Jolla on Monday, 51-year old Robert Snedacker of Rancho Cucamonga lost his life after being found laying next to his bike on a noted biking and hiking trail.

A passerby dialed 911 at 8:19 pm last Wednesday after finding Snedecker lying on the Pacific Crest Bike Trail with a head injury; he was pronounced dead just after 10 pm on Monday. No information is available on what caused his injury, and no word on where he was found on the trail or if he was wearing a helmet.

While it seems obvious that he fell while riding, it’s also possible that he could have hit his head on a low branch or other object while riding or suffered a medical condition that caused him to fall, or less likely, that he could have been the victim of violence.

This is the 25th cycling fatality in Southern California this year and the third in San Bernardino County, as well as the sixth solo cycling death since the first of the year. That compares with seven solo bike fatalities in all of 2011.

My prayers for Robert Snedacker and all his family and loved ones.

Update: Baldwin Park cyclist killed in apparent solo fall

According to reports from the CHP, a cyclist has died in Baldwin Park after an apparent solo fall.

Reading between the lines in the rather cryptic dispatch feed, a 45 to 50-year old Hispanic man fell and hit his head on sidewalk at 14049 Don Julian Road, apparently suffering a fatal head injury.

Why he fell off his bike is unknown.

While the dispatch feed suggests he may have hit the curb, it simply mean that he landed on the sidewalk. It’s entirely possible that he fell on his own, or was forced into the curb by a passing car; there’s simply not enough information to make an informed guess.

It also doesn’t say whether he was wearing a helmet. However, a relatively slow speed fall like this appears to have been exactly the sort of impact bike helmets were design to protect against.

This is the 19th cyclist killed in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Los Angeles County; this is also the third fatality this year resulting from an apparent solo fall.

My prayers to the victim and his loved ones.

Update: The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that the victim has been identified as 47-year old Louis H. Esparza of La Puente, and identifies the location as unincorporated Bassett in L.A. County. According to the paper, he was riding east on the sidewalk when he somehow hit a raised metal mailbox and fell into the street, sliding forward and striking his head on the curb.

And no, he wasn’t wearing a helmet. In this case, it may have cost Esparza his life. 

Update: Cyclist killed on Los Flores Canyon during Rapha Gentlemen’s Ride

More bad news.

Earlier today, I received word that a cyclist had been seriously injured during the Rapha Gentlemen’s Ride in celebration of Bike Effect‘s 1st anniversary, and had been airlifted out.

Unfortunately, when I returned home later today, I found word waiting from several sources that the rider did not survive his injuries.

According to an email on the Velo Club La Grange user the group, the rider — who I won’t name at this time, in case the next of kin haven’t been notified — was descending Los Flores Canyon Road near Hume Road above Malibu around 11:45 am when he lost control, and struck a wire guard barrier intended to keep cars from sliding off the road.

The writer says eye witnesses described it as a catastrophic accident, and notes that there was a doctor on hand; however, the cyclist did not regain consciousness before EMTs arrived.

So far, the only news reports misidentify the victim as a motorcyclist, based on a false report initial report from the CHP (see below).

This is the 60th traffic-related cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 20th in Los Angeles County; this is also the 7th fatal solo collision since the first of the year.

Thanks to Chris K, Mark Elliot, Stanley E. Goldich and Todd Munson for information on the collision; my prayers for the victim, his family and loved ones.

Update: The L.A. Times says the victim, who has still not been publicly identified, was a 51-year old man from Laguna Beach, who was riding with his brother at the time. He was declared dead at UCLA Medical Center about an hour after he fell. However, the Times gets the time of the incident wrong, which occurred at 11:45 am, not just before midnight as they report.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as Robert Hyndman; read a moving letter from his brother in to comments below, or on my follow-up. There will also be a memorial ride for Hyndman sponsored by Bike Effects on the 13th.

Screen grab courtesy of Mark Elliot

Update — 28-year old Costa Mesa cyclist dies in solo Laguna Beach collision

Very few details are available yet.

However, the Orange County Register reports that 28-year old Mark Leones of Costa Mesa apparently lost control on a steep downhill and crashed in a solo bicycle collision.

The wreck occurred on Park Avenue in Laguna Beach shortly after 11 am; Leones reportedly died on route to the hospital. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the collision.

Leones is the 59th cyclist confirmed to have died as a result of a bicycling collision in Southern California this year, compared to 55 in each of the last two years on record. He is also the eighth fatality in Orange County since the first of the year, and the 6th to die in a solo collision throughout SoCal this year.

My deepest sympathy to his family and loved ones.

More information when it becomes available.

Update: Still very little information on this wreck. Laguna Beach Patch reports that Leones fell on the 1900 block of Park Avenue. Commenters on Slowtwitch.com described the location as a steep downhill with a nearly 20% grade where riders can easily reach very high speeds; combined with the sweeping curves in that section of roadway, that can present a very dangerous combination that demands a high level of skill from a rider. 

If anyone has more information, please let me know.

Update: The Orange County Register offers a nice profile of Leones, explaining who he was, as well as how he died.

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