What started out as a very good month on SoCal streets has turned bloody for area cyclists.
After going nearly four full weeks without a fatal collision — and yes, that’s good for the heavily populated Southern California region that averages over one bike death a week — three riders have died in the last 10 days.
The latest is a 79-year old Escondido man who apparently died in a solo collision.
According to the North County Times, the rider, who has not yet been publicly identified, was found along the 400 block of East Mission Avenue in Escondido. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The Union-Tribune’s Sign On San Diego website reports that the victim was not wearing a helmet, and did not have lights on his bike. In this case, the lack of a helmet is relevant because this appears to be exactly the sort of slow speed impact that helmets were designed to protect against.
The cause of his fall is unknown; however, police report that no other vehicles were involved.
Of course, it is entirely possible for a car to cause a crash, without leaving any sign, by cutting off a rider or passing too closely and causing the victim to lose control of his bike.
Unless a witness unexpectedly turns up, it’s unlikely we’ll ever know. But this could be exactly the sort of situation that SB 910, the 3feet2pass bill that’s currently sitting on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature, is designed to prevent.
This is the 54th confirmed traffic-related death in Southern California this year, and the 11th in San Diego County. That compares to an average of just under seven deaths each year in the San Diego area, and is just one below the 55 deaths recorded in the seven county SoCal region in each of the last two years currently on record.
It’s also the 5th fatal solo bike collision this year.
Update: The victim has been identified as Jerzy Nowak of Escondido; San Diego’s 10 News reports that there were witnesses who saw him fall, and confirm that no other vehicles were involved.
And the death last week of popular cyclist and musician Alan Deane has been ruled accidental by the coroner’s office. What effect that will have on the police investigation remains to be seen.
Oddly, for someone whose death brought forth such an outpouring of grief, police have been unable to find Deane’s last known address.
Maybe you know where he was living?
Of course, it’s not just Pasadena. Or Escondido, for that matter.
KABC-7 reports that a 15-year old bike rider was injured when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver on the 5500 block of North Victoria Avenue in Highland on Monday afternoon. He was taken to the hospital with a head injury; authorities are looking for the driver of a black, 1980s pickup truck.
Finally, I’ve gotten word that Jeffrey Ray Adams, the driver accused of intentionally cutting off a cyclist in Santa Monica — then ranting about it in a video captured by the victim — missed a court appearance on Monday. As a result, I’m told that a felony bench warrant has been issued for failing to appear.
However, reports that the case has been upgraded to a felony charge appear to be incorrect. According to cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels, the District Attorney’s office still reports that the case has been referred to the Santa Monica City Attorney for misdemeanor filing, while the SaMo CA says the case is still under evaluation.
As he notes, however, it’s always possible that neither of their computer systems have been updated yet. We’ll check back in a few days.