HUNTINGTON BEACH, California – Riding a bicycle in beautiful Huntington Beach can be great exercise and fun, but last year the city was one of the deadliest places for a bicyclists to be in Orange County.
It was worst year on record for fatal traffic accidents involving bicyclists in Huntington Beach recorded in the past 10 years.
Indeed three men were killed in fatal bicycle accidents around the city of Huntington Beach, more than all of those killed in the entire county in 2010. It’s also the largest number of bicycle fatalities in the city recorded between 2001 and 2010, according to the most current records compiled by the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Report.
According to the CHP statistics, prior to 2012 the city of Huntington Beach had had a total of only eight fatal bicycle accidents during the 10-year period between 2001 and 2010. There were no deaths recorded in 2003, 2006 and 2008. There were two deaths in 2005 and the remaining years had only one death each recorded.
Two of the three fatal bicycle accidents in 2012 involved drunk drivers and one of those fled the scene of the crash, but was later caught and arrested for felony hit-and-run.
“Motorists should be especially alert for bicyclists when traveling in Huntington Beach as it’s a popular city for riders, however, sadly it’s also a city that’s a popular place for drinking and driving,” said Attorney West Thomas, founder of the Thomas Law Firm in Newport Beach.
It’s a fact that Huntington Beach is ranked by the California Office of Traffic Safety as one of the five worst cities for alcohol-related crashes on its list of 53 cities with a population between 100,001 and 250,000 people.
Fatal bicycle accidents are also on the rise nationally too, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There was an 8.7 percent increase to 677 deaths in 2011 involving pedalcyclists compared to the previous year 2010, the NHTSA reported. In the same year, the NHTSA reported that overall traffic fatalities declined by 2 percent to about 32,000 the lowest recorded since 1949.
According to the website bikinginla, which unofficially tracks bicycle accidents reported in the region, there were 74 bicycle fatalities in Southern California in 2012 compared to 70 in 2011.
However, in an effort to cut down on overall traffic accidents, the Huntington Beach Police Department was recently awarded a $90,469 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety in November 2012, according to a press release issued by the police department. The funds will be used to implement a year-long program aimed at preventing deaths and injuries resulting from traffic accidents.
Police will use the extra money to undergo specialized DUI and drugged driving training such as Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement. The city will have more DUI saturation patrols this year and will specifically target multiple DUI offenders with its warrant service operations.
Police will also be out enforcing motorcycle safety, distracted driving violations, seatbelt and child safety violations and drivers who are speeding, running red lights and stop signs.
Fatal 2012 Huntington Beach Bicycle Accidents
- FEBRUARY: Bicyclist Ernest Klein, 79, of Westminster was struckby the driver of a gold 2009 BMW 325I sedan as he rode eastbound on Bolsa Avenue just west of Able Lane. Klein was transported to UCI Medical Center in Orange where he died at 11:55 a.m. The 23-year-old Long Beach man who was driving, was cooperative with police and was not cited or arrested following the fatal bicycle accident.
- JUNE: Bicyclist Roger Michael Lippman, 63, of Huntington Beach died when he was struck by a hit-and-run drunk driver on Pacific Coast Highway. Police later arrested driver Joel Alexander Murphy, 27, of Mission Viejo on suspicion of hit-and-run, driving under the influence, felony vehicular manslaughter as well as violating the terms of his probation
- JULY: Bicyclist Kenneth Prevatte, 52, of Long Beach was killed after a suspected drunk driver struck his bicycle as he drove northbound on Pacific Coast Highway near 8th Street. Prevatte died of his injuries at the scene of the 4:19 p.m. crash. Huntington Beach Police Department arrested Becki James, 58, of Huntington Beach for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Orange County Bicycle Accident Attorney
This article was sponsored by the Thomas Law Firm. Our attorneys offer a free consultation for prospective clients who have been injured or have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. Call 1-855-ASK–WEST (1-855-275-9378) to speak with an attorney.
“We are a victim’s law firm,” explains West Thomas, an Orange County personal injury attorney. “We don’t represent negligent drivers or business entities. We represent you and your family and make it our job to make things right.”
For over 30 years, the firm has been a staunch advocate for victims’ rights and has fought to win justice for clients involved in personal injury and wrongful death cases, including premises liability, product liability, auto accidents, bicycle accidents, dog bites, nursing home negligence, medical malpractice, at-work injuries, police brutality and more. The firm has offices in Newport Beach, Riverside, Los Angeles and San Bernardino, San Diego, San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Francisco, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
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