CHP identifies SLO bicyclist killed by truck

December 6, 2016
Jose Martel

Jose Martel

The California Highway Patrol has identified the bicyclist who was struck and killed by a pickup truck near Cayucos on Saturday after Jose Martel, 47, of San Luis Obispo.

Shortly before 1 p.m., the driver of the pickup was headed eastbound on Old Creek Road near the north end of Whale Rock Reservoir. The driver crossed over a double yellow line, reportedly while trying to pass a vehicle, and struck Martel, who was heading westbound.

CHP officials say the driver was a 59-year-old man from Templeton. He remained at the scene and reportedly cooperated with investigators.

Officers do not believe drugs or alcohol factored into the crash. A CHP investigation is ongoing.

A Facebook page has been launched as a memorial for Martel. A mass service is also scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the San Luis Obispo mission.

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Just in time to level someone’s holiday and turn it dark, as well as making every holiday every year after a grim reminder. Makes you wonder if this world makes any damn sense at all anymore.

Just in time to level someone’s holiday and turn it dark, as well as making every holiday every year after a grim reminder. Makes you wonder why this world keeps turning somethimes.

Slow drivers, pull over. Fast drivers, have patience. All roads are public places and motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians are allowed.

Passing vehicles on Old Creek Road is soo dangerous. If you are driving that road, settle in for a beautiful ride and forget being in such a big damn hurry. What a tragedy to lose yet another rider all because someone just couldn’t stand driving slower.

Part of the problem is that a lot of people use Old Creek on their commute between Cayucos and the Paso area as an alternative to 46W in the hope it will be faster. They’re not in it for the scenery but consider Old Creek their own “secret” commuter shortcut. You can’t use Old Creek and expect to do Highway 46 speeds – or at least you can’t do it without risking disastrous consequences like this.

It’s not a secret to the locals that use it and it IS a shortcut, ask anyone going from Cayucos to Templeton or Paso, even at a slower speed. Less than one-third of the distance to the same 46 intersection. Not a road for passing though…


So sorry for his family and loved ones.

I wish bike riders would find a track or a bike lane and stay off the streets and highways but they won’t.

They love riding on Highway 1. Can’t blame them. Maybe bike lanes can be paved adjacent to the roadway up and down Highway 1. I would support this and even ride myself if these bike lanes were in place.

They wouldn’t be needed everywhere, just having a north and south bike lane on the inland side of highway 1 just 5 ft off the highway between San Simeon and SLO would have saved several lives and limbs by my count.

The bike lanes could be directed onto the streets through Morro Bay and Cayucos and then picked back up on Highway 1.

Tragedies like this one effect the victim and their families and the driver for the rest of their lives and it could happen to any of us traveling our scenic highway.

I think it would be money well spent…

I wish drivers of 6000 lb vehicles would wake up and realise there are others out there on the road besides themselves…

My money is on distracted driving, speed or just plane disrespect for others…

What are you going to do eliminate cars? The roads were built for cars not bikes. We need roads for bikes that are separated from the roadway. But go ahead and blame everyone but the guy that woke up and said I think I will ride along side of cars just feet away from them while they are traveling at 55 mph. Come on man!

The roads were built for horse and buggies, then bikes, then finally cars came along.


I could re-type it, or you could just scroll up and read it again. Horses, then bikes (1840-ish), then cars (1890-ish). It’s not that hard.

Arrogant cagers assume it’s all about them. I ride, and I drive. On Saturday, I was driving and I came across a horde of cyclists, some two-abreast, and some slow to move over. I was slightly annoyed, but recognized that they have exactly as much right to be there as I did in my car, no matter how slow they are going.

Once you make that leap to grown-up thinking, it becomes pretty easy to pull your head out of your ass.

The driver crossed over a double yellow line, reportedly while trying to pass a vehicle, and struck Martel, who was heading westbound.

Yep, Damn biker.. minding his own business.

I wish people would read more than a paragraph before commenting. No one is blaming the bike rider. But it’s the rider that is taking a risk riding on the highway. Move them over to a bike roadway. A bike lane along side of the highway where bikes can ride safely. Other states do it, why can’t we? Putting a bike lane on the highway is stupid, put it next to the highway.

IMO, this is the real quandary of the situation.

1) Had the truck driver crossed a double yellow and hit an oncoming automobile, killing the driver, everyone would say “lock him up, sue the bastard”. He crossed a double yellow and killed someone.

2) With the situation instead being about a bicyclist, a cyclist riding legally on the roadway. But rather than people thinking “lock him up, sue the bastard”, instead it’s all such a tragic accident. Why are there such dissimilar opinions with equally tragic events?

I strongly believe that intent is an essential element of this sad story. It seems as if this truck driver made a bad decision. I don’t know this guy but I bet this is a nightmare for him. He may be alive but this a bad time in his life.

So, I’m not sure what can be done now, or even what is “right”. But why does the life of a cyclist always seem less tragic than that of an oncoming motorist who was killed?


Thanks Scott ! perfectly stated !!

Good point and let me throw this out…most cycle riders are arrogant a’holes and have no respect for cars or their operators.

Again, what does a legal bicycle rider have to do with the FACT that the vehicle driver was speeding and passed unsafely killing an completely innocent person?

And if the driver had done the same and plowed head on into another vehicle we might be having a much different discussion…

Snoid, you are making an unfair generalization.

As a highly capable and experienced cyclist, it irritates me when I see cyclists disregard the laws of the road. We agree on that. But let me make clear that I follow the laws of the rode 100% of the time. I knew Jose and know that he respected the laws of the road as well.

Jose was killed by what was, in effect, a wrong way driver. Given that Jose wasn’t at fault, just consider that when you come across other cyclists. Most of us are law abiding cyclists. We’re not stupid, we know the car will win every time. We don’t have death wishes either.

In fact, my wife and two children very much need me. Keep that in mind next time you’re out and about. As I said, Jose was a really nice guy. Had you known him you may have become friends.


Rambunctious, the biker is not the problem. Creating a separate lane for bikes is simply unrealistic and it’d be littered with junk in a month and difficult to ride. If you have other ideas, let’s hear them. We are spending $5.5M on Price Canyon to install a wider road with bike lanes. It’s simply less expensive to drive more responsibly.

Other states and nations have separated bike lanes with barricades and or fencing between the highway and a two way bike lane. The riders are safe and they can still show off their latest bicycle attire to each other.

It doesn’t have to be every road or highway either by the way, just where bike traffic and auto traffic are heaviest and speeds are higher. We all here in SLO know where those areas are. Highway 1 between SLO and San Simeon would be my first targeted place to build these lanes.

Not sure why you think there would be junk littered everywhere. Don’t see the difference between a roadside bike lane and an adjacent roadside bike lane.

I’m not against bike riders, I am for their safety. This is rough for me you all, I’m the most fiscally conservative person in the world, but this seems doable to me and would save lives and get people off of the couch and on their bikes.

If I could ride to Hearst pier for lunch and back on my bike safely I would do it.

That’s all…

“We are spending $5.5M on Price Canyon to install a wider road with bike lanes. It’s simply less expensive to drive more responsibly.”

There are no guarantees that drivers will always drive safely. Sometimes it’s the bike riders fault when a collision occurs. The driver was just minding his or her business and bam out of nowhere a bike is in their path, it happens.

So lets be adults, stop blaming the other side and put our heads together and fix this problem so everyone is safe.

Check out the internet to see creative bike lanes around the world, if they can do it so can we. And regarding cost….

It sure beats an overpriced train to nowhere.

I rode some group rides with Jose. He was a happy, friendly guy; always excited to be there Saturday morning with his cycling buddies. So tragic.


I did also ride some Saturdays with Jose. He will be missed.