Crash Victim Identified; Cycling Advocates Outraged

posted: July 15th, 2010 12:42 pm | 15Comments

As Newport Beach police continue to investigate a collision that killed a bicyclist earlier today, local bicycle advocates and members of the city’s cycling safety task force are expressing outrage at a third cyclist’s death within a one-year span.

The collision occurred at 7:47 a.m. today at Spyglass Hill Road at Harbor Ridge Drive, said Sgt. Steve Burdette.

Cyclist Michael William Nine, of Santa Ana, was traveling northbound Spyglass Hill Road approaching Harbor Ridge Drive when he went down on his bicycle and collided with a white Chevrolet stake bed truck, Burdette said.

Nine sustained critical injuries and was pronounced dead upon arrival at Hoag Hospital. Burdette earlier said the cyclist appeared to be traveling at more than 30 mph when he tried to avoid a gardener’s truck pulling in front of him; read that story here. The speed limit in the area is 45 mph, Burdette said.

The crash occurred a week and a day from the anniversary of another fatal cyclist crash. On July 23, 2009, Darryl Benefiel, 43, was killed on Ridge Park Road when a car turning onto Tesoro struck him on his bicycle; read more here. Benefiel’s death led to the creation of the Newport Beach Task Force on Cycling Safety, which met throughout the winter and made a lengthy report to the City Council in May; read more here.

As news spread this morning about the latest fatal crash, several task force members as well as other local cyclists expressed grief and outrage about the lack of safety for bike riders.

“That is very bad,” said John Tzinberg, a task force member who said that Nine was a regular in a group ride. “After being part of the Newport Beach Cycling Safety committee, nothing has been done to prevent further incidents and address all the issues that were raised throughout the committee meetings. Newport is having a cyclist die every few months, what does it take to get them to address these issues?”

In December, another cyclist died after a hit-and-run at Jamboree and Ford roads; read more here.

“Let’s hope this latest loss of life compels the City to act quickly,” said Frank Peters, another task force committee member. “We’ll save lives by raising awareness. We’ll raise awareness by implementing some, or any, of the recommendations.”

Crime scene investigators remained on the scene of the crash for several hours, closing the road to through traffic. The accident investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information should call Investigator Todd Bush at (949) 644-3746.


15 Responses to “Crash Victim Identified; Cycling Advocates Outraged”

Comments

tony petros

July 15th, 2010

This is another tragedy that happens too frequently in our community. As a member of the City's Cycling Safety Task Force and an avid cyclist, I am disheartened by these events. My prayers go out to the Nine family and friends. While the accident is under investigation and citizens form their opinions of events and solutions, it is paramount to first understand the circumstances that led to these particular occurence. Vitriol directed to motorists or cyclists, speeders or gardners won't bring Mr. Nine back or direct action to a positive solution. Rhetoric about blanket policies, regulations or other punitive actions do not offer a productive solution. Foremost, how can the Nine family be served first. Then, in the directed and focused analysis of these circumstances, how can we learn and act to prevent this from happening again.

Rob Templin

July 15th, 2010

This loss was devastating news; I was part of this group- ride this morning and prayed for a better answer when the ambulance pulled away. The newspaper journalist and an earlier police comment were incorrect (and many of us did talk to the police at the scene) : the cyclist was traveling under the 40 mph posted limit - and he "didn't lose control" (which sounds a bit like he was at fault for running into a vehicle), he was trying to avoid a yard-maintenance truck that pulled out in front of the riders when it wasn't safe to do so. The reporting by the paper and police make it sound like - somehow - the cyclist was responsible and/or at fault; not true. This is one of cycling's worst nightmares for those of us passioniate about our riding ...

Sebastian

July 15th, 2010

I am very saddened by this news and my heart and thoughts go out to the friends and family of the victim as well as the person who was driving the truck. However, living off of Spyglass Hill I always see bicyclists riding solo or with herds of cyclists that do not ride safely. They take up the road more than they should, and many times they do not stop at stop signs or lights. They always tell the cars to "share the road," if you want to share the road you should follow the same rules of the road. Also, even though the posted speed limit is 40-45 mph for cars, that seems like an excessive speed for a bicyclist. At that speed it is harder to break/slow down and you are not protected in heavy metal unlike driving a car. I have been thinking about this accident all day. In the morning I had to take a detour to work and when I found out why I was very upset. But when I was driving home from work today I saw a herd of bicyclists in the same vicinity and what did they do? None of them stopped at the stop sign... I am sure this story has been spread in the cyclist community.. wouldn't you try to ride a little safer?

McG

July 15th, 2010

This is an upsetting story and my heart goes out to the Nine family and friends. I live in a different part of Newport Beach where I see groups of cyclists everyday. From a motorist point of view, it is daunting to see a group of cyclists on the road, sharing the same lane as you and not going as fast but I always make an effort to slow down and/or change lanes if needed. However, another side to sharing the road are stop signs. It is upsetting to see cyclists (individual or groups) go through stops signs without stopping. I feel that if cyclists share roads with motorists, the 3-second stop at stop signs should be applied to them as well. I don't want to rant about this but I am hoping someone from the City's Cycling Safety Task Force will see this and perhaps posts signs at stop signs telling cyclists to stop as well. I have seen too many "could have been" accidents at the stop sign by my house because a cyclist did not stop. I really don't want to see anyone else hurt, I know I look around for cyclists where dricing but I am only one person in one car.

CORONA DEL MAR TODAY » Police Continue To Search For Clues In Fatal Bike Crash

July 15th, 2010

[...] our earlier story here. « Crash Victim Identified; Cycling Advocates [...]

Georgia Peach

July 15th, 2010

I am outraged by some of the previous comments!! This is not the place to comment about "share the road" or how you may be disturbed by cyclists on the road. Mike Nine did nothing unlawful and lost his life today leaving behind a wife and 2 young children!!! He didn't run a stop sign nor was he speeding. Mike was a veteran cyclists and ALWAYS followed the "road rules" just as they apply to "motorists". My husband lost his best friend today and I find it sad there are people who find "this site" to be a place to discuss your displeasure with "some" cyclists who may choose to NOT follow road signs and speed limits!!! Have a heart and pray for Mike's family and the children he has left behind. And PLEASE.... vent your frustrations on/ in the proper channels or websites. May the Nine family find strength to get through the days ahead!!! :*-(

william langstaff

July 15th, 2010

I was on this ride this morning but left a little early. This group is a Careful and safe, the route is we take every Thursday. This accident Cerrtainly brings up the point that no matter what group you ride with This is a very dangerous sport. Mike has always riden safe and considerate To other riders. This is a hugh shock and a tragic accident. We lose A great cycling friend, husband,father, citizen. Mike will be missed.

BD

July 15th, 2010

Tony Petros' blog is right on. .....I live there and saw the aftermath..........We all must learn from this....A terrible tradgedy today......Thoughts and prayers for the Nine family.

Tim Lewis

July 16th, 2010

Who are you people blaming the victim? What world do you live in? Mike's only crime was riding down a hill when someone decided they didn't care if a cyclist was coming down, but they _had_ to pull across the street at that instant instead of waiting 5 seconds. Had he been in a car or on a motorcycle the outcome would have still been a collision, it just would have hurt the truck, too. Those of us that spend time riding constantly wonder if drivers are just wrapped up in their own world and oblivious or if you are actively trying to kill us. Not that it really matters, because in either case all you have to do is tell the police, "I didn't see him." and you skate. While you go on with your lives there is a family and countless friends grieving. When a group is descending a hill like Spyglass they often take a lane in the road. It's the proper thing to do. We're going 30-35 mph in an area where the speed limit is 45. It's not going to kill you to slow down and follow or pass in the other lane. If it were a bus with 40 people on it going a little slower than the speed limit, you wouldn't try to run it off the road, but because it's a group of cyclists traveling the same speed and you know that you're safe, you get bold and honk/weave/etc. Trust me, every cyclist has seen it 100 times. This is how it works. If I make a mistake and hit you, I die. If you make a mistake and hit me, I die. In neither case does it cost you anything more than a trip to the autobody shop. Pay attention.

John

July 16th, 2010

My condolences to Mr. Nine's family. Truly a tragedy. You know, some of the misunderstanding regarding a cyclist's rights while on the roadway stem from the lack of education regarding cycling. Perhaps if the California driver's license examination contained some questions involving cyclists on the road, motorists would be more aware around cyclists. Yet it occurs to me that motorists NEVER cut off a group of Hell's Angels or Mongols. If something seems non threatening, such as a cyclist, the presence is ignored by the frequently distracted, cell phone, GPS, kid's in the car, drivers.

Corona del Mar Today Staff

July 16th, 2010

Reply to

Tim Lewis

July 16, 2010

Who are you people blaming the victim? What world do you live in? Mike's only crime was riding down a hill when someone decided they didn't care if a cyclist was coming down, but they _had_ to pull across the street at that instant instead of waiting 5 seconds. Had he been in a car or on a motorcycle the outcome would have still been a collision, it just would have hurt the truck, too. Those of us that spend time riding constantly wonder if drivers are just wrapped up in their own world and oblivious or if you are actively trying to kill us. Not that it really matters, because in either case all you have to do is tell the police, "I didn't see him." and you skate. While you go on with your lives there is a family and countless friends grieving. When a group is descending a hill like Spyglass they often take a lane in the road. It's the proper thing to do. We're going 30-35 mph in an area where the speed limit is 45. It's not going to kill you to slow down and follow or pass in the other lane. If it were a bus with 40 people on it going a little slower than the speed limit, you wouldn't try to run it off the road, but because it's a group of cyclists traveling the same speed and you know that you're safe, you get bold and honk/weave/etc. Trust me, every cyclist has seen it 100 times. This is how it works. If I make a mistake and hit you, I die. If you make a mistake and hit me, I die. In neither case does it cost you anything more than a trip to the autobody shop. Pay attention.

Tim -- From my interviews with police, who interviewed witnesses, it really is not accurate to say that someone "had to pull across the street at that instant" and caused the crash. It's all still under investigation.

CORONA DEL MAR TODAY » Fatal Cycling Crash Remains Under Investigation

July 16th, 2010

[...] our earlier stories here and [...]

Dan Belling

July 17th, 2010

I agree with "this is not the place to voice a "motorist" view of sharing the road. The fact is that many of the top contributing busienss members and many of your comminity ride a bike for pleasure, fitness and stress relief. It is a lifestyle choiuce - we as cyclist are subjected to motorist that don't allow us 3 feet of free space to ride, and frankly if we tie up an enitre lane for a mile or tow, it only cost you the driver 1 minute .. but lack of attention and frustration on your part cost a life.....

Concerned Cyclist

July 19th, 2010

If anyone is aware of any tributes being planned to share our respects for Michael and efforts to aid the Nine family please post them. Thank you.

John

July 20th, 2010

I just learned of this tragedy today...I last spoke with Mike just two weeks ago. The world (and cycling world) has lost a great ambassador. Mike Nine is my friend, an avid cyclist and proud husband and father. Mike Nine was a gentle, deep soul who's obviously needed elsewhere. Sometimes nothing makes sense. Farewell my friend. Prayers and wishes to his family.


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