Tag Archive for wrong way drivers

Man riding road bike killed by wrong way driver in San Diego; 14th bicycling death in San Diego County this year

Let’s see someone blame the victim this time.

It was just over a week ago that an Ocean Beach writer penned a truly awful piece blaming the victims of this year’s 13 bicycling fatalities in San Diego County for contributing, if not causing, their own deaths.

Make that 14 now.

But this time, the victim appears to be as blameless as humanly possible.

According to multiple, nearly identical stories, a man was riding his bicycle in the westbound bike lane on Camino Del Rio South in East Mission Valley Tuesday night, when he was hit head-on by a wrong way driver traveling east in the westbound lane.

Authorities place the crash west of Texas street, around 8:50 pm Tuesday.

The victim, publicly identified only as a 42-year old man, died at the scene.

Raw video from the crash site shows a crumpled red road bike in the tall weeds on the shoulder of the roadway, next to debris from the driver’s car, separated by a chainlink fence from the busy 8 Freeway.

The rear flasher on his bike continued to strobe on the broken bicycle, long after the crash.

The 25-year old driver’s car was stopped nearby, the windshield shattered over the steering wheel. Which means she had to see him in the bike lane directly in front of her if she was paying any attention to the road in front of her.

Police do not suspect intoxication; however, there’s no mention of whether she may have been distracted. Remarkably, though, she doesn’t seem to have been arrested, or even ticketed, at the scene.

Given that she was on the wrong side of the roadway, and somehow unaware of a grown man on a bicycle right in front of her car, it’s hard to imagine that she wouldn’t be criminally liable.

If nothing else, the presence of the bike lane to her left should have been a clue that there might be someone on a bicycle there, let alone that she was driving the wrong way.

Although these days, I suppose we should give her credit just for sticking around.

But the simple fact is the man on the bike was exactly where he was supposed to be, doing exactly what he was supposed to do, and lost his life to the plague of traffic violence — and an apparently negligent, if not distracted, driver — anyway.

This is at least the 48th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 14th that I’m aware of in San Diego County, which is suffering through an exceptionally bloody year.

Update: The victim has been identified as 42-year old San Diego resident Matthew Peter Keenan. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Matthew Peter Keenan and all his loved ones.

………

Due to the time spent researching and writing this piece, and the late hour, there will be no Morning Links today. We’ll be back as usual on Friday to catch up on what we missed. 

Cyclist pedals into action to prevent disaster on the Venice Boardwalk

It’s been less than a decade since the disaster at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, when a confused motorist plowed through a crowd of pedestrians, killing 10 people and injuring 63.

Last weekend, it could have happened again. This time on a busy Venice Boardwalk crowded with tourists.

Fortunately, a cyclist named Kim Rivera was riding her bike north through Venice around 8:30 pm last Saturday night, making her way towards Santa Monica, when she saw a possible tragedy in the making.

As I approached one of the parking lot entrances, I saw a car driving on the Boardwalk.  Right behind it, I saw a black Jeep follow the first car.  Both continued driving north on Ocean Front Walk. The 1st car was driving at a normal speed (I estimate 22-25mph). The Jeep was slower.  They both drove past a restaurant with people sitting outside. Pedestrians moved to the sides of the walk and were calling out “wrong way!” but the drivers seemed clueless.

A lot of people would have just shaken their heads and continued riding on their way, or stood to watch it all unfold before them. Instead, Kim swung into action to try and catch the drivers before it as too late.

I was riding right behind the Jeep.  My intention was to ride up along side him and point him in the right direction, but I couldn’t safely get to the side since people were already moving to the sides of Ocean Front Walk. Soon the Jeep got a clue and turned right toward the alley.

That left one more car still threatening the safety of everyone on the Boardwalk.

The 1st car was well ahead of him.  I road toward him cautiously because I didn’t know if he was drunk or what he might do next. He started to drive onto the Santa Monica Pedestrian Path that parallels the bike path, about half a car length, before stopping. He backed up and started to make a U-turn.  His car was now sideways on Ocean Front Walk.

That’s when I felt it was safe enough, and rode up about five feet away, stopped my bike lengthwise along the passenger side of the car and waved my arms, yelling “No! No! You can’t drive here.  No cars!”  He asked where he was supposed to go.  I told him this was not a street, and pointed for him to drive alongside the condos at the end there and enter the alley.

Unfortunately, the confused driver still didn’t get it.

He slowly continued to make his U-turn, so I started doing the same thing again; parked in front of him with my bike, arms waving.  He pointed to the Boardwalk and asked me, “But I can go back this way?” So I said a THIRD time, “No cars! This is not a street. You could hurt someone!”

He finally ended up going where I told him and into the alley.

Disaster averted, if barely.

Overall, they didn’t drive very far on the Boardwalk. I think they entered from Rose, but there were still a lot of people there that could have gotten hurt. Especially toward the far end near Santa Monica where it gets real dark.

Next time I ride that way, I plan to stop and take a look at the entrance to the Boardwalk at Rose, and see if something needs to be done to keep clueless drivers off.

And say a little thanks that Kim was there that night to keep a minor incident from turning into something worse.

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