CBS2: Cyclist Killed after “Running Into” Car

(editor’s note: This story has been updated with the text of the police report here.)

CBS 2 news reported earlier today that a cyclist was struck and killed after a crash with a 1989 Honda Civic that was traveling in the same lane as him.  However, despite the completely unlikely possibility that the cyclist raced up behind the moving car and slammed into him, CBS 2 seems to imply that is exactly what happened.  Emphasis dded by me:

A bicyclist was killed in a collision with a car in Lancaster, authorities said Wednesday.

Tran, 19, of Lancaster, died at a hospital following the crash, which
occurred about 10:55 p.m. Tuesday at 30th Street West and Avenue L-6,
sheriff’s Lt. Stefanie Fredericks of the Lancaster Station said.

was riding his bike south on 30th Street West when he collided with a
1989 Honda Civic that also was traveling southbound, Fredericks said

The man driving the Honda, 38-year-old Renal Fuller of Lancaster, was interviewed but was not arrested.

The family and friends of Dan Tran have my deepest sympathies and doubtless those of the entire bike community.

  • Will

    Is it completely out of the realm of possibility that a biker ran into a car? What if he lost control of his bike or hit a crack in the road?

    I don’t know why you would put such a slant on it when you don’t even know the entirety of the story.

    This is no different than Fox News spinning something out of control.

  • If he lost control of his bike after hitting a crack in the road and hit a car, then the car was either parked, which seems unlikely given that the police say both car and bike were traveling in the southbound lane, or was crowding him while passing him which would still make it the driver’s fault.

    If you read a lot of these reports, which is something I do while looking for “Today’s Headlines” you would see that these stories almost always blame the cyclist with the way they are phrased. I don’t blame you for not reading these stories, why would you, but I’ll start posting them more often so readers can see the trend.

  • I agree, there is a trend to blame the cyclist, but as of yet it has not been clearly documented. I therefore propose that Streetsblog trace this trend for the benefit of the readers….. and then present that information to the various relevant Law Enforcement Officers and ask that they respond…..

  • The implied blame to the cyclist is usually in the form of, “Well, if the cyclist wasn’t on the road int he first place, this would have never happened.”

  • I found this in the archives. True, it doesn’t speak to the specifics of this case, but it does document the bias against cyclists that I’ve been referencing:

  • michael

    just yesterday i went to my local police station to report a driver who came from behind me in the right lane, laid on his horn, flipped me off as he passed on the left, and then cut me off and slammed on the brakes. i explained this to the officer at the counter and she noted that it was my responsibility to keep a car length from traffic ahead of me and that if there had been an accident an insurance company would place me at fault for rear ending the car. as if the whole point that this driver had intentionally attempted to intimidate and/or harm me was besides the point – perhaps i had discovered some magic beans that allowed me to tailgate speedy cars through traffic on my bike. she even tried to explain the altercation with “he probably was in a rush to work.” yeah, it was probably my fault for riding in an empty parking lane in the first place, right?

    nothing makes me feel better while biking than having a driver be courteous to me on the road. but anti-bike bias is incredibly frustrating and belittling.

  • Will

    I haven’t seen any other of these news posts so I definitely wouldn’t know if they are slanted one way or the other. If they are all biased towards the cyclist being at fault then that is a shame. I would definitely imagine that most accidents would be the fault of the car, especially when anger becomes involved after seeing cyclists go whizzing by. Hopefully they’ll release some more information about this instance.

  • Concerned Parent

    The area where Dan was killed has no usable bike lane. The street narrows, the drop off from the pavement is a few inches, the bike lane area, if you can call it that, is only a few inches wide. Dan had just left the competitive swim team where he swam as a young man. He was there to visit his younger sister and help with the equipment and practice. His time of death was around 11PM but the accident happened much earlier. Practice ended at 7:30PM.

    I find it unacceptable that the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale do not have bike lanes on all roads. We have the space. Why aren’t they a requirement? I just don’t get it. States with less resources and who are considered behind the times in most areas have bike lanes! California should be ashamed.

    Concerned Parent

  • It would be nice someday if crashes and deaths meant more to those responsible for designing the roadway. Our U.S. standards for road design place automobile throughput above all else. In my experience, deaths like this are considered to be beneath some invisible threshold of acceptability for traffic engineers. I’ve seen the Los Angeles DOT’s engineers extrapolate a death like this out to “deaths per millions of inhabitants on this stretch of road”.

  • Concerned friend…

    I have the difficult position of standing on both sides. I am a very close friend of the driver and my son went to school with Dan. When this type of thing happens sometimes we find ourselves divided. Instead we should come together and change the circumstance that truly created this tragedy. I am very familar with this stretch of road and the dangers it creates. The narrowing of the road, the darkness and fact that the city does not provide for the many bike riders in inexcusible.

    My hope is that this will change, in Dan’s honor. Let this not happen to another child, family and community.

    To the Tran family my deepest condonlences for your loss. I will pray for you daily. For the QHHS community, stay strong and support one another. Moreover, for the AV community as a whole, its time for change.

  • kg

    This is so upsetting. A cyclist is dead because of the unsafe riding conditions on that street. When I got hit in my last accident, the driver only blamed me for a split second; it was the honking cars that fully illustrated what is wrong with this city. And I was lucky. Accidents always involve two people and most of the time, there is plenty of blame to go around.
    I am a little suspicious, though, of over-stating the bias in these reports. I’d be interested in seeing how they are worded before I am comfortable making that judgment. In general, I am pretty sure that the efforts of the all of the bike activists will eventually get through to our peace officers.

  • Concerned Parent,

    I understand your worry.

    While it would be great to have bike lanes on all roads, it would be even nicer if existing traffic laws were enforced with existing infrastructure.

    The law recognizes bicycles as vehicles, and therefore, drivers should treat them as such. However, reckless drivers often buzz past cyclists with zero passing room while speeding.

    Granted, some cyclists do run the occasional red light, and uninformed bikers will sometimes ride on the sidewalks which is illegal in most cities.

    But the number of drivers who speed and drive distracted puts cyclists at greater risk.

    Street paving is also a very low priority. As well as maintaining street lighting. This is especially evident through the Cahuenga Pass in Hollywood.

    I often ride on streets without bike lanes and typically have no problems. The danger arises when a distracted, impatient, speeding driver whips past me with only inches to spare. No matter how good my bike handling skills and how safely I ride, I could never prevent that from happening.

    But the police, and our city councilmembers could do more to make streets more cycling friendly with minimum investment in new infrastructure

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