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Bicyclist Killed in Local Mountains

The identity of the victim is being withheld pending next of kin notification.

A bicyclist was killed Saturday as his bike veered off a road and fell down a ravine, according to authorities.

The apparent accident occurred shortly before 9 a.m. near the intersection of Stunt Road and Mulholland Highway in the Santa Monica Mountains south of Calabasas, California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs said.

"Our paramedics responded to the scene at 8:58 a.m.,'' said a L.A. County Fire Department dispatcher.

"The man's bike went off the road and down a ravine,'' the fire department dispatcher said. ''He died at the scene.''

The victim's identity was withheld pending notification of next of kin. He was in his 40s, according to the LA Times.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the CHP, Jacobs
said.

joe July 15, 2012 at 12:39 PM
This is very sad! My heart goes out to the family. http://jokeofthedayblog.blogspot.com
Kelly Higgins July 15, 2012 at 10:20 PM
I am so sorry for the family and friends left behind but It is to dangerous to ride PCH and Malibu canyon on a bicycle, we have minimum speed requirements for a reason, meaning you can get pulled over for going to slow in a car.!!!!! And until we support a bike lane bike's cannot ride these roads, and think of the poor driver that smacks Capernikus in the malibu tunnel..!!! or on Kanan Road??? Plus some moron made it so the bicycle has the right away on these roads??? Ha? some and I do mean alot of idiots ride next to each other taking a big part of the lane...Hello!!! What part of 4000lbs going 55 do they think won't hurt???? I think it really needs to be outlawed Sorry...Or we just wait till some big shot get's killed and then we outlaw it, Let's do it before or the people that keep us safe are dumber than I all ready think they are...Over and out..
Ann Tomkins July 16, 2012 at 04:30 AM
It is truly sad to hear about a cyclist being killed while riding in the area. From the article it didn't sound like he was riding on any of the roads that you mention and it isn't clear that it had anything to do with an automobile. Nevertheless, I couldn't disagree with you more about banning bicycles from our roads. I bought my home out here 25 years ago and have always had many cyclists riding up the road. I don't mind slowing down until it is safe to pass them. I would much rather have them on the road than the idiots racing around in cars and motorcycles with no regard for anyone's safety. If you are driving so fast that you cannot slow down to avoid a bicycle, then your driving is the problem, not the cyclist. You don't get to ban anyone else from using the road just because they are in your way.
B. Scott July 16, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Kelly, the amount of stupid in your comment could fill a warehouse. Have you ever heared the phrase "there is a time and place for everything"? You should have that stamped on your forehead immediately. And where in this story does it say anything about a vehicle being involved? Are you assuming a car was involved or just hoping that there was so that it somehow validates your mind numbingly callous comments. You are a sad, selfish and careless little person for writing what you did. I am almost mad at myself for clicking on the link to this story because I now know you exist. Be safe and share the road folks. Unless you're on the same road as Kelly. Then I'd look for an alternate route.
Chris July 16, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Kelly Higgins, it's dangerous to step out your door every morning, but that doesn't mean you should stop doing that. There are probably plenty of other countries that don't allow cyclists to use the roads you'd drive on. If you feel that strongly, so strongly that you use the comment section on the story of a death to make your point, then perhaps you should seek out one of those countries and move there. However, as it stands, you've chosen to live somewhere that likely provides you with many freedoms you enjoy, and the partial cost of these freedoms is is tolerance of the freedoms that other people enjoy.
David Huntsman July 16, 2012 at 06:09 AM
It's downright scary that the owner of an automobile service business in Malibu would have such an appalling lack of knowledge about the laws of the roads and her clients' responsibilities thereon.
CaseInPoint July 16, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Kelly, Don't pay attention to the insults. You're 100% correct. This tragedy highlights the dangers caused by not having a bike lane on Mulholland Hwy. In this case, no car was involved (presumably), but almost every day I see near-accidents caused by the Mulholland not being set up for bicyclists. This is a fairly small curvy country road, with a one-way single lane in each direction. In most places, there's no shoulder at all, and not even a rail to stop bikes and cars from dropping into ravines, as happened in this case. The speed limit is anywhere between 35-55 mph, so as a result, many cars can't slow down on time to avoid hitting the bicyclists in their lane and the car almost always is forced to swerve onto the opposing traffic lane where they are in danger of a head-on collision. The bicyclists are not only endangering themselves, but the occupants of the cars who need to swerve to avoid hitting the bikes. It really is time for the County and the City to either add a bike lane, or close Mulholland to bikes. I'm not sure how many more people need to die before that's understood.
Rebecca Whitnall (Editor) July 16, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Hey folks, as always, we appreciate and encourage your comments, but please keep the conversation respectful. Thank you.
David Huntsman July 16, 2012 at 10:35 PM
CaseInPoint, I see your logic but it is based on a flaw (same as Kelly's). Mulholland Drive, like any other road in the USA (except for some - but not all - freeways and the occasional bridge) cannot be closed to bicycles (or to any other slower-than-car traffic, for that matter). Whether it inconveniences motorists or not is a matter for motorists to address. But not by bullying! The only solution here - if the lanes cannot be made wide enough for cars and bicycles to share safely side-by-side, is for motorists to understand that when there is slower traffic ahead (be it a bicyclist, a tractor or a horse) the motorist is obliged to wait. That's the nuts and bolts of it. Many Americans have a hard time understanding that, as they feel it is a "right" to proceed rapidly and unencumbered in a car. But it is not, and in fact our vehicle code requires you to drive a car much more slowly than the "speed limit" when slower traffic or even people on the side of the road (shoulder) are present (see California Vehicle Code section 22350 - the "basic speed law"). The only "right" is the right to access any road in the country, but not at a speed that poses a hazard to others.
CaseInPoint July 17, 2012 at 04:33 AM
David, you make some very good points. Slow-moving vehicles deserve to be accommodated and bikes are no exception. But there are blind turns on Mulholland where a car can't see what's coming up around the bend. The motorist has no idea if there is a group of cyclists in middle of the lane. And often enough, there are cyclists, and the cars swerve onto the oncoming traffic lane and hope to God that they can get back into their own lane before being demolished. Back to your point about not being to outlaw bikes. Yes, you may be correct. But, slow-moving vehicles and bikes in particular aren't always allowed on the road. For example, bikes are not allowed on Freeways. Mulholland Hwy is, by definition, a highway. I'm not an expert on the exact laws, but it stands to reason that a Highway would have more restrictions than a typical neighborhood street. As a final thought, check out this article from the Biking in LA Blog: http://bikinginla.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/breaking-news-chp-reports-yet-another-socal-cyclist-killed-in-solo-fall-on-mulholland-highway/ Quote: "And it’s the 10th cycling death in just the last nine days, as the horrible, tragic string of recent cycling fatalities continues for yet another day." You can draw your own conclusions...
David Huntsman July 17, 2012 at 05:35 AM
Well, this isn't expert stuff - it's as simple as this: only Freeways (examples would be the 405 Freeway) restrict cyclists, tractors, mopeds, horses et cetera. Even the 101 Freeway allows pedestrians and bicycles et cetera up closer to Santa Barbara. It looks just like the 101 in Thousand Oaks, but it allows bicycles. Why? there is no other way for cyclists (and other slower traffic) to get up/down the coast. So, Mulholland may be a highway, but "highway" is a throwaway term. I think "highway" means that it connects two towns. In the way that "boulevard" means a road is not interrupted by STOP signs (or something like that). Think of San Vicente or Ventura Blvds. Anyway, such tags at the end of street names are more poetic than anything else. They have no legal significance regarding access. In case you're wondering, local municipalities are not allowed to restrict cycling either. One often hears "Malibu should ban cyclists..." When in fact state law prohibits this. Only the state can make rules for the road. This is a painful reality for many to swallow - the idea that they do not have a right to travel rapidly but, merely, to travel. The only solution, if some motorists can't slow down, is to make wider roads with separate bicycle facilities so there is no conflict.
Sean McCarthy July 17, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Do any of you know Stunt Road? This is probably the only road I've ever driven whereas the driver I've made myself car sick. This is a dangerous road at any speed. I feel for the poor soul who died but he was driving one of the region's most challenging roads bar none. This has nothing to do with cars sharing the road with bicycles but with common sense. Bicyclist beware.
billdsd July 17, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Kelly Higgins, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. The minimum speed law, CVC 22400, cannot be used to ban slow traffic from a road. Maybe you should try reading it instead of pretending to know what it says. It makes no provision for removing slow traffic from the road. It does contain exceptions for grade, safety and compliance with the law. The grade exception effectively exempts bicyclists from the minimum speed requirement because bicyclists cannot be required to travel at a speed greater than they can reasonably sustain and the grade of most roads prevents most bicyclists from maintaining applicable speed most of the time. Have you ever driven up grapevine as the big trucks got 10mph in a 65mph (55mph for trucks) zone? Did you notice any of those trucks getting pulled over. That's because they can't go any faster due to the grade. Unfortunately, people like you like to make up imaginary laws to rationalize you delusion that the road exists for your convenience. The roads exist for everyone to travel; not just you. Bicyclists have a right to the road. It's California state law, CVC 21200(a). If you can't avoid running into the back of slow traffic, then you shouldn't be driving.
Quivering Fantods July 19, 2012 at 02:04 AM
I agree with your assessment of the dangers of Mulholland for cyclists, CaseInPoint. (Let me also say that I am very pro-cyclist, so I'm not a rager-cager "get them dang bikes of my road!" kind of person by any stretch.) I often find myself driving those beautiful, winding roads in the Santa Monica mountains, and know many of them quite well. Yet, even as a slow-and-safe driver, familiar with the twists and turns of those roads, I am *terrified* that some sad day, I'll come around a blind turn, and have one or more cyclists in my path, and not be able to avoid them safely, *even though* I am going very slowly around that blind turn. Even with the cyclists being vigilant, and listening carefully for traffic coming up behind them, there are still *many* places in the road where they simply have NO room to pull over whatsoever. I understand that cyclists take this risk knowingly, and are doing their best to stay safe, but it just seems so dangerous. Add to the mix the motorcyclists who use those same roads at great speeds; the tourists; the commuters; the construction trucks; the occasional wildlife...it all makes for some pretty dangerous conditions. I wish I had a suggestion to make it a safe, happy place for all to share, but I'm at a loss. There isn't room for a consistent bikelane on Mulholland, barring a major widening project, is there?
billdsd July 19, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Sorry but no. If you go around a corner so fast that you can't stop within the distance that you can see, then you are not going slowly around that curve. What if there was a disabled vehicle around that blind curve? Would you just slam into it? You're making excuses. You're trying to pretend that you're not but you are.
Quivering Fantods July 19, 2012 at 05:50 AM
billdsd: Can you calculate the stopping distance for me for a sedan going 15 mph around a hairpin turn (with signage indicating a 20 mph speed limit)? And yes, on some of those turns, even travelling below the signed speed limit, one would probably rear-end a disabled vehicle. Sorry, it's just the nature of the road. Keep in mind also that, as a slow driver, I am constantly at risk of being rear-ended myself by cars behind me coming around that same blind turn. And in case you're wondering: I think my pristine driving record for 20+ years speaks to the fact that I'm a cautious, attentive driver. I am very aware of the cyclists on those roads, and when I talk to newbs about the area, I let them know to drive with care. So I'm not some speed-demon lousy driver.
Quivering Fantods July 19, 2012 at 05:55 AM
Oh, I should also mention the new-ish rumble strips that have been added to the centerlines of many of the roads in the area. They are carved indents about as wide as a road stripe that run parallel to the center lines. These strips greatly limit a cyclist's ability to maneuver safely across the center line in the event that they need to take evasive measures (and woe betide the cyclist who takes a turn a little hot and drifts into one of those divots). Again, I'm not arguing that cyclists should be restricted at all. I offer no solutions, just my observations as a driver who wants everyone to be safe.
billdsd July 19, 2012 at 06:00 AM
Again, sorry but no. When I was young I drove fast and I never ran into anything but I got rear ended several times because driving fast leads to hard braking. After I got older and decided to driver slower, I stopped getting rear ended because I no longer do hard braking. Slow traffic does NOT result in rear end collisions. It simply doesn't. Your conjecture is flawed and not connected to reality. Rear end collisions are caused by driving too fast or following too close in conjunction with hard braking or sudden lane changes or occasionally from going too fast into a space in which the driver cannot see. If you go too fast into a space which you cannot see then you are in violation of the basic speed law, CVC 22350. It is not reasonable or prudent to go so fast that you cannot stop within the distance that you can see. That distance will vary with the weight of the vehicle and traction. It's up to you to know your vehicle and the road conditions. I've done plenty of driving on winding mountain roads (I used to ski a lot) and I have encountered disabled vehicles more than once. I wasn't even close to hitting them. Even when I was young and drove aggressively I had enough sense to not go around blind curves fast. My driver's education teacher made the part about disabled vehicles around blind curves very, very clear and I never forgot it. You're reaching for an excuse. You are not dealing in reality.
Quivering Fantods July 19, 2012 at 06:54 AM
bill, you didn't read my post correctly. My point was that by going well below the posted speed limit (as I often do on those blind turns), there is a very real risk that I'll get rear-ended by *someone else* (who is going the posted limit) coming up behind me on that blind curve. Unless the speed limit is dropped to, say 5 mph on some of those curves, it's just a reality of that road, and those drivers. Your experience on those ski roads may not translate to the specific conditions in the Santa Monica mountains. I've driven many ski-area roads myself, so I know a bit about those conditions. Please drop the snarky tone re: "reality". Unless you are in the driver seat on the roads in question, you aren't observing the reality those of us who frequent those roads are seeing. Your dismissive tone is not conducive to productive discourse, and is against the terms of this site. Cool it.
billdsd July 19, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Sorry but there is no other way to put it. You are dealing in rationalizing conjecture and not reality. I have been driving for 33 years and have driven well over a half million miles and it simply does not work the way that you describe. On a winding mountain road, the speed limit might be 35mph to 45mph. If you are going 25mph and the over taking driver is going 35mph, the speed differential is 10mph. To avoid a collision they don't have to slow from 35mph to 0mph. They only have to slow to 25mph, which is pretty easy. The same principle works with 45mph, though obviously they have to reduce speed by 20mph instead of 10mph. It's still easy. Furthermore, they will likely have seen you before you went around that corner so they will be expecting you to be there. They've been catching up to you for a while at 10-20mph. You don't appear out of nowhere.
David Huntsman July 19, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Quiv, when you point out that, by going well below the posted speed limit, you are likely to be rear-ended you are describing the problem exactly. What you are not clear about is what the posted speed limit means. It is not a speed below which you cannot get a ticket. It is the speed above which you can get a ticket virtually no-questions-asked The person who rear-ends you, when you are driving slower then the posted speed limit, is guilty of violating the ACTUAL speed limit which is the speed at which they would not have struck you (or even come close, really). That is California's "Basic Speed Law" under its vehicle code section 22350. That is the speed limit in effect. It reads: "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." Keep in mind that "traffic" includes bicycle riders and other "non-car" vehicles and animals.
Skip Nevell July 31, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Sean, amigo, think about it this way, por favor. I have ridden in the Santa Monica mountains on Stunt Road for more than fifty years. Thousands of riders have made uncountable descents of Stunt Road with no problem. One fatality, tragic as it is, does not make your case.

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