Tag Archive for Ventura County

Update: 32-year old bike rider killed in collision with Amtrak Surfliner in Oxnard; 6th SoCal bicycling death in less than 2 weeks

Another day, another ghost bike.

But at least this time there wasn’t a motorist involved.

Ventura talk radio station KVTA reports a man was killed when he was run down from behind by an Amtrak train while riding on the tracks in Oxnard Tuesday morning.

The victim, publicly identified only as a 32-year old Oxnard man, was reportedly riding north on the railroad tracks roughly 100 yards from the Oxnard Transportation Center when he was struck by a northbound train just after 11 am.

The Ventura County Star places the collision at 11:09 am, on the tracks at Fourth and Meta streets.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to Oxnard Police Commander Luis McArthur, the engineer of Pacific Surfliner Train 763 sounded his horn several times and tried to stop, but couldn’t bring the train to a halt in time, despite witness statements that it was traveling at just 20-30 mph before the crash.

The victim made no effort to get out of the way as he rode with a hoody pulled over his head; however, there’s no evidence that he was wearing headphones or earbuds.

Which raises the question of why he wasn’t aware of the massive train bearing down on him. Let alone what he was doing on the tracks in the first place.

This is at least the 33rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth that I’m aware of in Ventura County, which exceeds the total for all of last year.

It’s also the sixth Southern California bike death that’s come to our attention in less than two weeks.

Update: The victim has been identified as 31-year old Oxnard resident Esau C. Castaneda.

Investigators have ruled out suicide as a cause of death, but still have no explanation why he didn’t hear the train approaching.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Esau C. Castaneda and his loved ones.

 

Teen boy killed, two others seriously injured when hit-and-run driver plows through Port Hueneme bike riders

Horrific news from Ventura County, where one teen bike rider was killed and two others “significantly” injured in a Port Hueneme hit-and-run.

According to the Ventura County Star, the northbound driver plowed through a group of seven young bike riders at north Ventura Road and east Pleasant Valley Road  at 9:28 pm Monday, leaving bikes and debris strewn across the seven lane intersection.

The massive crash occurred directly in front of the naval base.

One victim, described only as a teenage boy, died after being taken to a local hospital.

Another boy was hospitalized in critical condition with what was described only as major injuries, while a third suffered significant lower body injuries.

The other riders apparently escaped unharmed.

The driver abandoned his car five blocks away on the 500 block of East Clara Street after fleeing the scene.

Twenty-eight-year old Port Hueneme resident Samuel Rocha turned himself in to police sometime overnight. He was still being processed at 9:30 this morning.

KABC-7 reports Rocha has been booked on one count of homicide and two counts of attempted homicide, in a story that hasn’t been posted online yet.

Let’s hope they’re right, and authorities are taking this crime seriously for a change.

This is at least the 20th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth that I’m aware of in Ventura County.

That matches the county’s total for all of last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victims and all their loved ones.

 

Fugitive driver cops plea for 7 years in 2017 hit-and-run, and drugged driver busted in Moorpark hit-and-run

Seven years.

That’s the sentence Andrea Dorothy Chan got after finally pleading guilty to the 2017 hit-and-run death of Agustin Rodriguez as he rode his bike in Whittier.

Chan had to be extradited from Australia to face charges after originally fleeing to Hong Kong, and having her badly damaged car repaired and stored in Idaho in an attempted coverup.

Rodriguez died at the scene after he was dragged 600 feet — the length of two city blocks — underneath Chan’s car.

Seven years isn’t anywhere near enough for a cruel and heartless crime like that. Especially since she’ll likely do less than half of that before being released.

But it’s the max she could get under California’s weak hit-and-run laws.

So it will have to do.

………

A 38-year old Palm Springs man was busted for an allegedly drugged hit-and-run that left a Moorpark bike rider hospitalized with minor injuries.

Marco Martinez was being held in Ventura County jail on suspicion of felony hit and run, and DUI, as well as possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Although the unnamed victim may have been more seriously injured than the story suggests, since minor injuries would only merit a misdemeanor hit-and-run charge under California’s weak hit-and-run laws.

………

If you’ve never had the chance to meet, or at least listen to, CicLAvia’s Tafarai Bayne, you’re missing out on one of Southern California’s leading voices for bicycle and social equity.

So don’t miss this one.

………

A SoCal startup is promising a new 33 pound ped-assist ebike capable of doing 33 mph, with a 33-mile range. Although the price is a tad more than $33.

However, a bike that fast exceeds California standards, which max out at 28 mph for a ped-assist bike.

And even that requires a driver’s license, license plate and a motorcycle helmet, and can’t legally be ridden on bike paths or in bike lanes.

Meanwhile, ebike prices are going up as manufacturers are being squeezed by higher costs.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

A pair of Scottish bike riders were assaulted by three men for no apparent reason, when they stopped to fix one of their bikes on a footbridge; one of the men was injured badly enough to require medical treatment.

Sometimes it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

One of America’s most wanted men is one of us. US Marshals believe Lester Eubanks, aka Victor Young, may still be living in Los Angeles nearly 50 years after the convicted child killer escaped from an Ohio penitentiary; his ex-boss says he rode his bike to work every day when he worked at a Gardena waterbed factory.

………

Local

Pez Cycling News talks with LA’s Phil Gaimon, whose cycling career has flourished after he retired from the pro tour. Which is usually not the way it works.

 

State

Here’s your chance to run the California branch of the Sierra Club, as the not-always bike and urbanist-friendly organization looks for a new director.

Bakersfield is considering giving the green light to ebike riders on the city’s bike paths.

San Luis Obispo County unveils plans for an $18 million, 4.5-mile extension of the Bob Jones City-to-Sea Bike Trail.

A Palo Alto bike rider says yes, distracted drivers deserve to get tickets, like the one who ran him down by jumping on the green light before he could get across an intersection.

Nearly 50 Sonoma County residents are suing the SMART rail authority for allegedly building bike and walking trails through their properties without permission.

They get it. A new regional transportation plan for the Lake Tahoe area says the region can’t build its way out of mounting gridlock by building more roads, calling for improved public transportation and building more bike paths. Now they just need to find a spare $1 billion under the cushions.

 

National

Transportation advocates and organizations, including NACTO and the League of America of American Bicyclists, are calling for a rewrite of the auto-centric Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices; the head of the signals committee for the MUTCD’s parent organization bizarrely calls the campaign an example of “cancel culture.”

Heavy rates the 15 best balance bikes for the toddler in your life.

No bias here. If an Arizona bike rider can simply fall over and get run over by the rear wheels of a passing semi, the truck driver was too damn too close. Which is probably why the poor guy on the bike fell over in the first place.

Unbelievable. A Kansas woman with a long criminal record faces a murder charge for allegedly running down a man who was riding a bike across an intersection — then reportedly getting out of her van to shoot him while he lay in the road.

Sioux City, Iowa bike riders celebrate the city’s first bike lane, which opened just six months ago. Welcome to the 20th Century.

Life is really cheap in Milwaukee, where a killer driver walked with two years probation for taking the life of a man riding his bike — while driving with a suspended license, no less. What the hell is wrong with the judge and prosecutor when they can’t even manage a slap on the wrist for someone who wasn’t even supposed to be on the damn road in the first place?

More on the Montauk NY woman who faces up to 25 years behind bars after pleading guilty to running down a man riding his bike home from work, while she was drunk and speeding at nearly twice the legal limit, with coke in her system.

A Florida TV station showed an incredible lack of basic human decency by posting security cam video of a bike rider getting run over a driver, which left the victim severely injured. I’m only linking to this to condemn the station for showing the full video without editing or blurring out the crash. I can’t recommend watching the video because you can’t unsee it; I wish I hadn’t. And I can only imagine the pain it will cause friends and family members of the victim.

 

International

A new book from record-setting endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont promises to teach you how to ride further than your current limits, whether that means a half century or riding around the world.

The Men in Kilts are one, uh, two of us, as they bike the Scottish Highlands in their latest episode. No word on whether they had to use a penny to keep their skirts down

Life is cheap in the UK, where a killer driver walked without a single day behind bars for killing a 17-year old boy as he was riding his bike; the driver told police he hit a deer.

A 94-year old British man also walked without a day in jail for killing a bike rider, the only punishment was a four year driving ban, and having to retake the test to get his license back when he’s 98.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 100-year old English veteran of World War II has been raising funds for charity by riding his exercise bike 15 minutes every day. Even if he is doing his riding inside.

The capitol of India’s Jharkhand state is encouraging residents to go carfree every Saturday to reduce air pollution.

A new study shows a program in India’s Bengaluru state to give students new bicycles led to improvements in enrollment, retention of students and academic performance.

Cycling Weekly tells the tale of Josh Reid — son of British bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid — who picked up his new bike off the Chinese production line and rode it 9,300 miles home to the UK, relying on strangers along the way.

A rear-view camera captures an Aussie bicyclist getting rear-ended by a distracted driver; you can actually see the cell phone she’s holding.

 

Competitive Cycling

Next year’s Tour de France will kick off with two stages in Bilbao, Spain. Which is not the Spanish name for the main character in the Hobbit.

The entire board of cycling’s drug testing agency resigned en masse in anticipation of a transfer of responsibility to the independent International Testing Agency, which controls drug testing for over 40 other organizations worldwide.

Two-thirds of the Bora-Hansgrohe team was quarantined when British cyclist Matt Walls was diagnosed with Covid-19, meaning the team will miss out on both the Ghent-Wevelgem and Dwars door Vlaanderen one-day classics; needless to say, the team manager was not pleased.

Powerhouse British cycling team Ineos-Grenadiers swept the podium at the week-long Tour of Catalunya stage race, with Adam Yates finishing ahead of teammates Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas.

Cycling Tips remembers Belgian pro Antoine Demoitié five years after he was killed in a collision with a motorbike rider, just six months after he married a woman he’d known since they were both 14.

VeloNews talks with Belgian cycling legend Freddy Maertens, who they call the greatest classics rider who never won one of the Monuments.

A writer for Road.cc explains why he decided to pull out of Europe’s Transcontinental race. Although it sound like he’s still trying to convince himself.

Pugilistic French pro Nacer Bouhanni was DQ’d in Sunday’s one-day Cholet-Pays de la Loire classic after bodychecking another cyclist during the final sprint; Italian Elia Viviani won the race.

 

Finally…

This track cycling ebike prototype may be thrilling, but a commuter bike it ain’t.

And that feeling when you get knocked off your bike by a passing UFO.

Even if the bike in question was a motorbike.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

Update: 39-year old man killed riding bike in Oxnard collision; 3rd fatal Oxnard bike crash this year

Then there were three.

According to KEYT-TV, a 39-year old Oxnard man was killed when a van driver slammed into his bike early Thursday morning.

Which makes him the third bicyclist killed in the city already this year.

He was reportedly riding on Channel Islands Boulevard west of J Street when he was run down by a 51-year-old Oxnard man driving west on Channel Islands at 4:25 am.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, died at the scene.

There’s no word on which direction he was riding, or if he had lights on this bike in the early morning darkness.

The Ventura County Star reports the driver was behind the wheel of a 2018 Ford Transit Van, which has a van’s high, flat grill that dramatically increases the risk to anyone not inside a vehicle.

Like someone on a bicycle, for instance.

The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators; police don’t believe intoxication played a role in the crash.

Anyone with information is urged to call Traffic Officer Joseph Clarke at 805/385-7750, or email joseph.clarke@oxnardpd.org.

This is at least the 11th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third that I’m aware of in Ventura County, which usually averages that many bicycle deaths in an entire year.

Update: The victim was identified as 39-year old Oxnard resident Rojelio Minjarez

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Rojelio Minjarez and his loved ones.

73-year old man killed riding bike in Oxnard collision; 2nd bike-riding Oxnard septuagenarian killed in three weeks

For the second time in three weeks, someone has been killed riding a bicycle in Oxnard.

And each time, the victim was a man in his 70s.

The Ventura County Star reports 73-year old Oxnard resident Eliseo Ramirez was riding on the shoulder of northbound Rice Road shortly around 8:13 Tuesday morning.

Somewhere south of East 5th Street, Ramirez allegedly swerved left into the path of a 49-year old woman driving in the left lane of the four lane, 55 mph roadway.

He died at the scene.

The driver stayed, and was not charged, though her truck was impounded as evidence.

No explanation was given for why Ramirez crossed the roadway, or why he apparently didn’t see the large black pickup speeding up on him.

His death comes just three weeks after 75-year old Adolfo Ambriz Heredia was killed less than three miles away.

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

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Eliseo Ramirez and all his loved ones.

 

Update: 75-year old man killed by semi driver in while riding bike in Oxnard collision

A 75-year old man was killed in an Oxnard collision Saturday morning.

According to KEYT-TV, the victim was struck by a semi-truck driver while riding his bicycle around 3:43 pm Saturday, at South Oxnard Boulevard and West Wooley Road.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was struck as the driver was headed north on Oxnard after turning off of Wooley.

He died at the scene.

A police spokesman, speaking on a video from the scene, said the victim appeared to already be in the busy five-way intersection when he was run down.

The video, which is disturbing to watch, shows a mangled mountain bike under the truck, along with the victim’s body covered in a shroud. So be warned before you click the link, because you may not want to see it.

This is at least the 2nd bicycling fatality in Southern California already this year, and the first that I’m aware of in Ventura County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 75-year old Oxnard resident Adolfo Ambriz Heredia.

Still no word on why the truck driver hit Heredia’s bike, or whether he will be ticketed or charged for the apparent right hook crash.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Adolfo Ambriz Heredia and his loved ones.

Writer and adventurer Roy Wallack killed in mountain bike crash in Santa Monica Mountains Saturday morning

Roy Wallack wrote that bicycling would help you live to be 100.

Sadly, he didn’t make it.

The Irvine resident, author of Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100, was just 64 year old when he died following a crash on the Guadalasca Trail in Pt. Magu State Park Saturday morning.

According to the Ventura County Star, Wallack was riding with friends on the difficult trail when he fell around 9:20 am, although he had not been publicly identified yet in the original story.

The crash took place on the Guadalasca Trail, he said, which cuts through steep, technical terrain near the Backbone Trail. The cyclist, a man in his 60s, had reportedly been riding with friends when he crashed his bike and lost consciousness, Worthy said. The cyclist’s city of residence was not immediately known Saturday.

The man’s friends called for emergency medical assistance and performed CPR until the sheriff’s helicopter arrived with paramedics and a flight nurse. The crew continued life-saving measures but the cyclist did not survive and was pronounced dead at the scene, Worthy said.

And yes, he was wearing a helmet.

A former columnist for the LA Times, Wallack was a prolific writer, according to the Star.

Wallack was a health and fitness journalist who had penned stories and columns for publications including The Los Angeles Times, magazines including Outside, Bicycling and Men’s Journal, and had authored a book, “Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100…and Beyond,” according to his online profile on Twitter and on his Muck Rack page. His most recent tweet from Nov. 17 links to an LA Times story offering tips on buying and selling fitness gear during the coronavirus pandemic.

A Google search shows he’s the author of at least eight other fitness books.

The Times describes Wallack as a avid hiker, runner and bicyclist who took part in the Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley, as well as the 750-mile Paris-Brest-Paris bike tour.

Wallack’s work for The Times spanned barre classes, triathlons, kayaking, the L.A. Marathon and more. He penned a gear column for many years, keeping fitness fans in the loop about the hottest must-haves.

He began a 2016 piece: “Hiking the Grand Canyon was not on my bucket list. A marathon, yes. Bike 200 miles in a day, yes. Ironman triathlon, absolutely. But for some reason, a mere day hike, even in one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders, was never on my radar.”

Wallack ended up being won over by the 15-mile trek, describing it as “an otherworldly journey into a land before time” and “a true bucket-list adventure.”

The paper also describes his efforts to keep his 84-year old father active, despite being housebound by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The paper reports that he recently finished one last book, about Richard Long, the founder of GT Bicycles, who was killed in a collision with a truck while riding his motorcycle to a bike race in Big Bear in 1994.

Tributes were beginning to pour in as word of his death began to spread Sunday evening.

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

My deepest condolences and prayers for Roy Wallack and all his loved ones. 

Thanks to Zachary Rynew and Mike Burk for the heads-up.

Update: Man killed riding bike in early morning Piru crash; CHP rushes to blame the victim

The more I think about this, the angrier I get.

Details are still sparse, but multiple sources report that a middle-aged man was killed riding his bike in Piru early Tuesday morning.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding on westbound Highway 126 east of Main Street in Piru when he was struck by a driver just after 5:45 am.

He died at the scene. The driver remained and cooperated with investigators.

Naturally, CHP investigators didn’t hesitate to blame the victim.

After an on-scene investigation took place, CHP officials determined the bicyclist may have been riding in the traffic lanes and the driver of a Nissan Sentra was unable to avoid colliding with the bicyclist, according to a CHP news release. The driver sustained minor injuries.

Never mind that bicyclists have as much right to be in the roadway as motorists do. Or that the traffic lane is exactly where they’re supposed to ride.

According to California law, while bike riders are allowed to ride on the shoulder, they’re neither required or expected to. And nothing to the right of the fog line is legally considered part of the roadway.

In addition, CVC 21202(a)(4) clearly states if the traffic lane is too narrow safely share — which includes most right hand lanes in Southern California — the rider may use the full lane.

(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

Then there’s statement from the CHP that the driver was unable to avoid the collision.

So let’s be clear.

Unless the victim was riding without lights or reflectors in the early morning darkness, the driver should have been able to see him. But if he wasn’t, the CHP would undoubtedly have mentioned that.

And if the driver had his headlights on, which would be legally required at that hour, he would have been able to see him anyway — unless he was driving too fast for his headlights, which is a violation of California’s Basic Speed Law.

“No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”

The key word there in this case is visibility, which includes darkness.

So unless the victim was riding against traffic — which again, the CHP would have mentioned — the question remains why the driver couldn’t see a grown man on a bicycle directly in front of his or her car?

And why is the CHP once again blaming a victim for his own death?

Because we all deserve to know.

Anyone with information is urged to call the CHP at 805/553-0800.

This is at least the 52nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth that I’m aware of in Ventura County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 36-year old Gregory Alcozar, who the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office describes as being a transient. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Gregory Alcozar and his loved ones.

Update: 16-year old boy dies a week after Santa Paula bike crash; few details available

Heartbreaking news from Santa Paula, as a 16-year old boy died a week after he was struck by a driver while riding his bike.

According to the Ventura County Star, the victim, who was not publicly identified, was critically injured the collision at 5:53 pm on Wednesday, September 23rd, in the 100 block of West Santa Barbara Street in Santa Paula.

He was transferred to the intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where he remained in critical condition until passing away on this past Wednesday.

Unfortunately, no information is available about the crash. A street view simply shows what appears to be a pair of relatively quiet two-lane streets in a residential neighborhood.

Police say the driver, who remained at the scene, did not appear to be impaired at the time of the crash.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Santa Paula Police Department at 805/525-4474.

This is at least the 46th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth that I’m aware of in Ventura County.

It’s also the second fatal bicycling collision in the county in just one week; both victims died on the same day.

Update: The victim has been identified as 16-year old Santa Paula resident Matthew Ismael Castanon

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Matthew Ismael Castanon and his family and loved ones. 

Bike rider killed in Port Hueneme hit-and-run; no details available

Someone was killed riding a bike in Port Hueneme Wednesday morning.

Which is nearly all we know at the moment.

According to the Ventura County Star, the victim was riding somewhere in the vicinity of Ventura Road and Teakwood Street in Port Hueneme around 5:30 am, when he or she was run down by someone driving something.

However, the local TV network says the crash on occurred Ventura at Teakwood.

The victim, who was not publicly identified or described in any way, apparently died at the scene. Meanwhile, the driver fled the scene; no word on whether the police have any information to go on.

There’s also no word on how the collision occurred.

In other words, pretty much all we know is that it happened, and someone died.

Which is pretty damn shameful.

The TV story reports investigators are looking for witnesses, but once again, they don’t tell anyone how they can come forward if they know anything.

This is at least the 44th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third that I’m aware of in Ventura County.

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

 

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