09 October 2011

Carbon Canyon Road Fatal Accident Update

This photo from Tuesday the 11th shows a simple floral arrangement in a pot along the embankment on the eastbound side of Carbon Canyon Road (SR-142) in Chino Hills that commemorates the death of a cyclist killed in this vicinity by a car on Satursday.  In the distance is Carriage Hills Lane.

UPDATE, 12 OCTOBER:  A roadside memorial started a day or two ago with a simple flower arrangement in a pot that seems to have identified the site of this accident as on Carbon Canyon Road between Fairway Drive/Ginseng Lane and Carriage Hills Drive.  Though the memorial is on the embankment on the shoulder of the eastbound side, it may be that the accident occurred on the westbound side, where the shoulder is very narrow and that the memorial was put where it was because of its safer location. 

By today, the memorial grew to include a couple of votive candles, a decorated cross, and a painted stone.  On the cross is the name of the bicyclist who was killed in this accident, Omar Gómez.  When I stopped there with my sons today, my younger boy noticed that the red candle, closest to the cross, had toppled from the embankment to the pavement and wanted to put it back, showing his respect for Mr. Gómez.

By today, Wednesday the 12th, the memorial had grown to include a painted stone (left, next to the flowers), two votive candles, and a decorated white cross with the name of the deceased, Omar Gómez, 27, a resident of Pomona.

UPDATE, 10 OCTOBER.  With thanks to another commenter, additional information is available about this incident:

This accident was also in the Orange County Register yesterday Oct 9th. Goverment section, news page 10.

The cyclist from Pomona was 27 years old and was struck from behind by a 23 year old unlicened driver from Anaheim. Drugs and alcohol did not appear to be factor but the driver will be charged.

Much could obviously be made of the fact that the driver was unlicensed, but whether there will be other charges related to, say, vehicular homicide or manslaughter, would be another issue.  It is possible in other words that the driver will not be charged for the accident in question, but for the fact that he or she was driving wthout a license.  Perhaps more information will be be forthcoming.

Thanks to a commenter to yesterday's post regarding the closure of Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142) yesterday at 11:30 a.m. due to a fatal accident.  This person spoke to a Sheriff's Deputy stationed at the west end of the shuttered section at Fairway Drive/Ginseng Lane and was told that the victim was a bicyclist who was hit by a vehicle somewhere along the S-curve between Fairway/Ginseng and Old Carbon Canyon Road.

Two issues immediately come to mind on this:  first, that stretch of the road is about as dangerous as any along the route and, second, bicycling almost anywhere on the highway is a risky endeavor.  While this may be the only cycling fatality that this blogger is aware of in seven and a half years of living in the Canyon, anyone who drives the highway regularly has had some experience in the potential hazards of sharing the road with bicycle riders. 

It needs to be stated upfront that bicyclists have every right to use the roadway and the drivers of cars, trucks and motorized vehicles need to respect that right, but there is clearly great risk for anyone riding the bikes on a two-lane road with many curves, questionable sight lines, narrow passages, small or non-existent shoulders in many areas and the propensity for people to cut curves by driving too close to the shoulder and those who drive with excessive speed.

Some might suggest that one fatal accident over several or more years is not necessarily indicative of a problem, but others might respond that all it takes is one tragedy like this to highlight the inherent risks of riding a bicycle on Carbon Canyon Road.

As a sidelight, it should be pointed out that this is, at least, the fourth accident of significance on the Chino Hills side in just the last few weeks.  A few Fridays back there was a two-car wreck at Canon Lane.  Last Monday, a red Mustang with a crushed left side was off the road at the bottom of the S-curve on the eastbound side a little west of Old Carbon Canyon Road.  Then, just a few days ago, there was a major accident at Canyon Hills Road, by the soon-to-be-opened Circle K, which required the "Jaws of Life" to literally cut a car in two to extract a person.  Now, the fatality from yesterday is added to the list.


Anonymous said...

This accident was also in the Orange County Register yesterday Oct 9th. Goverment section, news page 10.

The cyclist from Pomona was 27 years old and was struck from behind by a 23 year old unlicened driver from Anaheim. Drugs and alcohol did not appear to be factor but the driver will be charged.

Anonymous said...

Not a day goes by that I don't come around a blind corner in the Canyon at 45 MPH,only to find a bicycle in front of me going 2 MPH (sometimes at NIGHT!). There is being right and there is being stupid. Anyone that rides in Carbon Canyon is the latter. You might as well ride on the 57 freeway, it would be safer! (No blind curves, lower speeds, more room, etc).

prs said...

Hi Anonymous #1: many thanks for the add'l info, which I'll add to the post.

Anonymous #2: I would never ride a bike on Carbon Canyon Road for obvious reasons, but, because plenty of people do, it stands to reason that bicyclists and drivers both need to take extra care when driving the highway. Thanks for the comment.

Rick said...

I got into a really bad car accident in this canyon in May2011 it was a head on collision. a lady playing on her phone came into my lane. we were all lucky to escape with our lives. I was driving an F350 and she had a Prius. I wish I had pictures to share but I was in to much pain to even think of taking any. when driving this road be very aware and don't mess around at all with your phone.

prs said...

Hello Rick, thanks for the comment and the retelling of your accident. There are probably dozens of people out there who could relate similar stories. Awareness and common sense are key, but so would be more of an official police presence so people know that they are being observed. That just doesn't happen, though. Again, thanks.

Anonymous said...

For those who enjoy our lovely hills and park south of Olinda Village on Hwy 142 to go mountain biking or hiking...please stop making U-turns in the middle of the highway. I had my 2 and 5 year old in the back seat when a very young driver with his female passenger make a U-turn and stop right in front of me as I'm heading to Brea. You can see my skip marks that go around his car into oncoming traffic, which two motorcycles were coming at me. I luckily avoided them. Next time I'm hitting the car in front of me instead of avoiding an accident. I could of killed those motorcyclist because of this idiot's lack of driving skills. If it was a truck instead of motorcycles in the other lane, my family would be dead. Who stops in the middle of the highway while making a U-turn? Thank God no one was hurt.

prs said...

Hello Anonymous, thanks for your comment and yet another example of dangerous driving on Carbon Canyon Road. It seems that parking should not be allowed on the very narrow shoulders of the highway near the state park. That would be one way to avoid some of the problems there . . . well, there would have to be actual enforcement, so who knows?

Dana said...

My BFF was killed on carbon canyon years ago. It is a dangerous road. Rip kef