Investigations Continue in Two Cycling Fatality Cases

posted: September 17th, 2012 10:34 am | 0No Comments

Ghost bikes have been placed at the scenes of two fatal bicycle-truck collisions that occurred within a 24-hour period this weekend as police continue to investigate the crashes.

Sarah Leaf, 29, died at 10:40 a.m. Friday after a truck hit her and ran over her at East Coast Highway and Bayside Drive. Catherine Ritz, 57, was killed in a hit-and-run accident 9:47 a.m. Saturday on Newport Coast Drive between Ocean Vista and Vista Ridge drives.

There are no updates on either accident, and both remain under investigation, said Kathy Lowe, a Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman, in an email.

The driver of a stake-bed truck that hit Leaf remained at the scene of the crash and has not been cited or arrested, Lowe said.

Police continue to seek the public’s help in locating the driver of a black pickup truck involved in the hit-and-run that killed Ritz, releasing a photograph of a vehicle similar to the truck involved in the crash.

Ritz was cycling with another person who witnessed the accident but was not injured, Lowe said.

The truck that hit Ritz was described as a black full-sized pickup, possibly a 2001 to 2004 Toyota Tacoma. The truck has “significant damage to the right front area of the vehicle,” police said in a statement. Anyone with information should call Traffic Investigator Eric Little at (949) 644-3746.

Meanwhile, many local bicyclists and cycling safety advocates have taken to social media, including newspaper comments sections, to encourage attendance at a special meeting of the Newport Beach Citizens Bicycle Safety Committee meeting — a meeting called to hear presentations on bike share program possibilities for the city.

The meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. today in the Friends Room of the Central Library at 1000 Avocado Ave.

Mayor Nancy Gardner, who chairs the Bicycle Safety Committee, said anyone could attend, but the focus will be the bike sharing presentations.

“It is a public meeting,” she said in an email. “However, I will not be inviting comments on the incidents since the topic is bike sharing, not bike safety.”

Read our earlier stories here, here and here.

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