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Los Al Teen Driver Hits, Kills Cyclist

Long Beach Police Department said the cyclist was crossing a red light when she was hit by a van driven by a Los Alamitos 19-year-old.

Police say a 19-year-old driver from Los Alamitos struck and killed a 50-year-old Long Beach woman who was riding her bike across Bellflower Boulevard Tuesday.

New information released by the Long Beach Police Department Wednesday stated that the bicyclist was crossing Bellflower just outside the crosswalk and against a red light.

The woman, 50, was not named pending the notification of relatives, said Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman Nancy Pratt via an e-mailed press release. 

Late Wednesday night, the L.A. County Coroner's Office said her family had not been reached, so Patch is withholding her name.

As she rode west on Atherton and on the north side of the street, she entered the intersection "on a solid red light" and was struck by a Honda Odyssey, which had the right-of-way, Pratt wrote in the release.

The accident occured about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday, and left the woman in the roadway, where the Odyssey van driver tried to aid her and called 9-1-1, Pratt said. The van driver was a 19-year-old Los Alamitos resident who was interviewed, and not cited. The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital but died about four hours later.

Police asked that anyone with information about the crash contact Long Beach Police Accident Investigation Detective Brian Watt at (562) 570-7355. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling   1-800-222-TIPS (8477), texting TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or visitingwww.lacrimestoppers.org.

Matt January 18, 2013 at 10:21 AM
The cyclists need to be ticketed aggressively. They constantly ride out in traffic, the wrong way or in blind spots. They are supposed to be subject to the same laws as motor vehicle operators but are not. Drive on PCH any Saturday or Sunday morning and you will see gaggles of righteous riders out in the traffice lanes. They get picked off regularly but never learn
Edgar January 18, 2013 at 03:02 PM
I have the same opinion, PCH from Seal Beach Blvd. to Huntington Beach has to be one of the most treacherous for drivers and cyclists, the cyclists seem to be devoid of the fact that they bike outside the white bike lanes, ride 3 and sometimes 4 wide. I've never seen a cyclist ticketed for running red lights, failure to give the right of way to a pedestrian, try walking along the pathways from the Huntington Beach Pier and Dog Beach, the speed limits are posted for cyclists at 10 mph and 5 mph when pedestrians are present….most curse you or ring their bells telling you to get out of the way. They seem to be completely aloof of any State Laws governing cyclists.
Emily Knell January 18, 2013 at 04:01 PM
My brother almost hit a bicyclist heading north on Seal Beach Blvd at Westminster when my brother had the right of way with a green light & the bicyclist was coming west on Westminster making a right onto Seal Beach Blvd & made a really really wide right turn. My brother had the right of way & almost his this guy. Not a good ending to life for this woman who probably ate right, exercised frequently & rode her bike to be a healthy person, if she had only obeyed traffic laws & acted the same as though she were driving her car, she'd be alive today. Note to bicycle riders everywhere: Ride like you're driving your car. Red means STOP, Green means GO. Stop signs me STOP. Bike lane means, Get in the Darn Bike Lane FULLY & don't ride ON the line. This must be very traumatic for the teenager, this was the bicyclist's fault, not yours!
Camille Romano January 18, 2013 at 04:42 PM
Matt, I couldn't agree more with you. Edgar and Emily are so right also. I'm constantly amazed at the risks cyclists take, the laws they break, and the aggressive and arrogant attitude they have for drivers. Note to cyclists: They city streets are not your personal gym. If you want to exercise without interrupting your routine, join a gym. Otherwise, obey the law and stop and yield to something that outweighs you by at least a ton. I too feel bad for the 19 year old. It was the cyclists fault. What a horrible thing to live with.
Anne Vida January 18, 2013 at 08:20 PM
I agree with you - Cyclists do not respect the law when it comes to traffic. They think they own the road, and puts everyone in danger - I am not sure what happened in this case, so it is difficult to comment. However, I am sure this must be very traumatic for the teenager. I wish Law enforcement would reinforce rules for cyclists :)-
S.A.P. January 18, 2013 at 08:45 PM
I am amazed by the people who step right in the path of a bicycle on the HB bike path without even looking. I have had to swerve or slam on my brakes many times, even though I am going the speed limit. They seem completely oblivious to any common sense. Did their mothers not teach them to look both ways? BTW, I am a bicycle rider, not one of those people who wear the bike pants & jersey & travel in a pack. I ride a beach cruiser.
Marilyn riordan January 18, 2013 at 09:08 PM
Bike vs Car - guess who's ALWAYS gonna win right or wrong!?! If your gonna ride a bike in traffic - GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER.
CDC January 18, 2013 at 10:56 PM
I don't mine bike riders, I ride myself, but a lot of them ride tandem way past the outer bike lane border lines on PCH. Many biker/racers actually will challenge cars for space outside the bike lane! These bikers are just a little to aggressive and lack common sense. Maybe they are on the same steroids Armstrong was on? In any case, a 4000 pound moving car will always win out over a 15 pound bike and a overly aggressive rider. Please follow the bike laws.
ELLEN BRANNIGAN January 19, 2013 at 06:50 AM
This accident was after dark and i wonder if the cyclist had lights or reflectors? Everyone walking or pedaling at night should wear white of better yet-reflective clothing..We can't see people wearing black or dark clothes. As a recreational cyclist I always follow the rules as if I were driving a car. The San Gabriel River Bike Trail is a great place to ride safely. Ellen B.
Lisa Woodruff January 20, 2013 at 01:39 AM
Her family has been notified. Her name was Susan Curtis & she works at Up Up & Away kites on Main St. in Seal Beach for 7 years. She was a an animal lover who rescued animals who needed homes. She was also a pet sitter & dog walker. At the time of her death, there was no know next of kin, so all her beloved pets were taken by Animal control & placed in the Long Beach Shelter. Her next of kin has been found, but because of unfortunate circumstances, the animals are still in the shelter. They will be available for adoption January 30th. You can go see them now & put a hold on them & they will be released the 30th. It would have been Susan's biggest nightmare if she knew that upon her death, her beloved rescued animals would end up in a shelter. We can't let this happen. PLEASE spread the word & let's help find loving homes for Susan's pets. Make sure, especially if you are single & have no close family, make plans for your pets & notify the appropriate people what those plans are. Have contact numbers, etc. Have them in your wallet, glove compartment, on your refrigerator. Please obey the traffic laws, & wear a helmet. Who cares what you look like, it's better than dying. My prayers go out to that poor 19 year old that has to live with this for the rest of his life. RIP Susan. We will miss you. Your pets will miss you.
Debbie Montgomery January 24, 2013 at 12:25 AM
Let me say that this was a horrific accident. Susan seems to have been a wonderful woman with many friends, who spent her time caring for others. The loss of life is traumatic, not doubt. And yes, had she been following the traffic laws at the time, she'd still be here today. My heart breaks for her friends and fur-family - a good friend is gone. I will also say that this young man is devastated. He did not intend to hurt anyone, he was simply on his way to a job interview. He was following the traffic laws and a horrible thing happened. I know the deep impact on him, because he's my son. Even when he tells me he's okay, his eyes tell me he's not. He still hears the impact. I give him much credit for his strength, because when I arrived on scene shortly after the incident, I was greeted by a police officer, first responder, who told me what he saw, which was my son, trying to care for the woman he accidentally injured. On his cell phone talking to 911 and dealing with the situation calmly even in the chaos. I can tell you that he will live with this forever. He might forget for a while, but I guarantee any time a cyclist is nearby he'll recall the dark scene. My child has to live with taking someone else's life, and as a parent, that tears me up inside. I encourage everyone to contact the city of Long Beach and ask for more attention to this cycling problem. We need the laws enforced so cyclists and others are safe, physically and emotionally.
Camille Romano January 24, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Dear Mrs. Montgomery, Thank you for the closure to this story. Your son sounds like a good, kind, decent young man. I wish him the best in dealing with this terrible incident. You're correct that it is a horrible story all the way around. As far as the city of Long Beach helping, probably not going to happen. I believe they are part of the problem. They were/are on a campaign to be "The Most Bicycle Friendly City in America." (Someone on the city council must be a cyclist!). Street signs, and road lanes, permit bicyclists to ride along side cars. This is insane. Check out 4th street in L.B. heading west into downtown or Second Street in Belmont Shore to name a few. Again, thank you, and all the very best to you both.

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