San Luis Obispo man struck, killed by truck

December 3, 2016

CHP@A 47-year-old cyclist was killed Saturday afternoon after being struck by a pickup truck near Cayucos on Old Creek Road.

Shortly before 1 p.m., the driver of the pickup truck was headed eastbound when he crossed over a double yellow line and struck the westbound cyclist near the north end of Whale Rock Reservoir. Cal Fire and CHP responded to the scene.

Officials have identified the driver as a 59-year-old man from Templeton and the victim as a 47-year-old man from San Luis Obispo.

Officers do not think drug or alcohol played a role in the crash. A CHP investigation into the crash is ongoing.

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I think a really important clarification is between the words accident and choice. If the driver had a momentary lack of attention and drifted over the double yellow, I might agree this was an accident. However, he made a choice to pass another car in an area clearly marked as a no passing zone FOR A REASON. That in my mind is not an accident.

How many need to needlessly die before the County wisens up and closes this road to bicycle traffic?

They have the ability and authority to close it to truck traffic, due to safety concerns. They can close to bicycles, if they can afford the political blowback.

It seems as though an alternate point of view is warranted here.

While I am sorry that this person lost their life, I find the comments wanting to throw the book at the driver over the top.

The truth is; Bicyclists need to pick better roads.

This one in particular is not a good road to bicycle on, from a safety perspective. I am sure it could be a fun ride, but we don’t need you on it.

All too often you’ll encounter bicyclists traveling slowly, two abreast or more, riding this route. If I never crossed the yellow line I’d never be able to go around a bicyclist on this road, so the line will always be crossed if a bike is around.

Secondly, this road is a locale’s road. It is a fast road. And it has a “line” all on its own—which does not follow the double yellow that were only recently added–All double yellow for the nine-mile length too.

The road was not designed for how it is being used now—mixed used—higher traffic density than when put in. Thanks to google maps I now encounter lost semi-trucks trying to make it up through the switchbacks, and failing, along the way.

Let’s thank Cal-Trans for the double yellow’s and no passing areas which help to ratchet up intensity of those traveling along that road; either people drive it fast or drive it slow. The two don’t mix well. Toss in the polka dotted bicyclists who think they’re in the middle of nowhere pedaling along the twisting turning roads.

We were all much better off when Cal-Trans put in the effort to keep the trees and poison oak trimmed back along this route, and left the road without any lines on it. We could see better back then, and didn’t have others on the road riding, by any means, with a false sense of security that the double lines yellow imbues.

Again, I am so sorry that this person died, but I don’t want to throw the book at the driver who most likely drove this route in the same manner that most of us do on this very “old creek” road.

If Bicyclists want a similar experience they should —Pick a Better Road—and cross Hwy 46 and ride Santa Rosa.

Santa Rosa is not the main road in and out of Cambria to the east—while Old Creek is for Cayucos.

This will always be a dangerous road. Keeping bikes off it would make it much safer for everyone, and would have helped to avoid this tragedy.

For someone who seems to know this road so well, you have no idea who maintains it. Or is Caltrans just a catch-all term for you to refer to some public agency that you can blame for someone else’s mistakes. Whether you like sharing the road with bicyclists or not, you are bound by law to do so. Passing over a double yellow line on what I assume was a blind curve is no one’s fault but the driver’s.

Yes, Cal-Trans is just a catch all for road maintainers. But I do know a few who work at Cal Trans, and they’re the ones have seen maintaining that road over the years.

In fact, I wasn’t blaming anyone, as accidents do happen. I was coming to the defense of the driver, who many here assessed complete culpability in this manner. And yes Cal-Trans can be held accountable for poorly designed roads, but I wasn’t attempting to find a scapegoat, but merely point out there are many contributing factors in accidents such as this.

While you “assume” it was a blind curve you don’t know. Most curves on that road are “obscured” but not completely blind—one of the main reasons it is not good for someone on a bicycle.

I was pointing out, not blaming, that Cal Trans (or whatever agency you’d like me to reference) has not properly maintained that road for the increased traffic that is on it. Merely putting double lines down the whole thing didn’t improve it, or make it safer. It had the opposite affect it is in fact less safe than in years past.

If I am navigating along the road, approaching a curve with a bicyclist in my lane I have to go over the yellow line to pass this bicyclist. Or if I come around one of the blind curves you mention and there’s two bicyclist riding side by side (illegally) or even a single rider in the middle of the lane I have to cross that double line to ensure their safety. Every time I pass any cyclist on that road I am over the double line—otherwise I would be passing too closely. If you were familiar with that road you’d also know that there is a lot of debris that falls to the roadside because of steep hills—which need to be avoided by crossing yellow lines—a lot of debris. Bicyclists should be aware of this and stay close to the edge of the roads at all times—they do not.

Did you assume a clear and clean road for this driver, or did you assume a callous recklessness merely because it was reported that someone was over the line?

You actually help to make my point; just because you can ride on a road doesn’t mean you should. And just because you claim the right to do so, doesn’t make it less risky. I share the road just fine, but I am able to realize when that shared road is a risky one.

Accidents happen, tragic ones like this. And unless this driver comes back with drugs etc. in their system or real proof of gross negligence, we should consider this an unfortunate accident—and hold back on manslaughter talk. There are many mitigating factors to consider with a road like this.

The roads are to be shared by all and if that means that motor vehicles need to slow way down until they can pass safely, that is what must be done. As a cyclist who has ridden this road many times over the years, I know that Old Creek Road is a bit dangerous due to the number of impatient drivers on the road, so I try to leave as much room as I can SAFELY do and stay alert to potentially dangerous situations. However, if I only ride on roads that are very safe, I would not be able to do much riding on the Central Coast. As for those cyclists who are neither alert nor considerate, I have less sympathy for them when they get hit but there is no evidence showing that this was the case here yet.

I will agree that it is too early to start throwing the book at the driver. I can think of several reasons why this accident may have happened and a couple of them would be grounds for mitigating circumstances. If the description of the location is accurate, there is not a major problem with visibility there. The most likely causes would be driver inattention resulting in leaving the correct lane or excessive speed. Those are not excusable and could just as easily have resulted in a head-on collision with a car as with a bicyclist.

As long as i can remember i have walked and ridden bicycles against the flow of traffic even though it is against the law . I want to see vehicles coming near me , for the life of me riding with traffic makes no sense , it is bad enough when people drive right on top of motorcycles tail lamp with no braking room what so ever . bicycles with mirrors is not enough

There are many good reasons for not riding a bike against traffic flow. The lack of lateral mobility limits your ability to react to an oncoming vehicle and the fact that it is oncoming lessens your reaction time significantly. The speed of the average cyclist also goes against safety at intersections — including driveways. Motorists are not accustomed to looking for traffic going at that speed from an unanticipated direction. Accident statistics bear out this latter factor as a major cause of bike/car accidents.

I understand the “gut feeling” that it is safer when you can see what is coming at you but this is a case where the gut feeling is mostly wrong. From my personal experience (40+ years and over 100,000 miles on bikes), I find that the vast majority of motorists are not intentionally aggressive with cyclists and don’t try to hit them or otherwise harass them. The new 3′ passing rule has proved to be beneficial as well — although the increase in distracted driving probably negates the safety benefits from it.

PS If I am riding on the right side of the road and you are coming at me, I will expect you to pull out of my way and get just a wee bit annoyed at your ignorance/arrogance as well.

This is the textbook definition of manslaughter: the crime of killing a human being without malice aforethought, or otherwise in circumstances not amounting to murder.

Given that this IDIOT crossed the double yellow to pass and did not ensure that the path was clear is, simply, two examples of how much of an IDIOT he was.

SLO District Attorney, I’ll be watching this one.

I call crossing dbl yellow line to pass recklessly and killing innocent man man slaughter ! Or did you miss that part of the ACCIDENT!

This is unbelievable tragedy. No excuse for this idiots actions. He should locked up now. Hope his last surf trip was good. Should be his last !!!!!!!!!

It is frightening-truly frightening, to picture someone like you as a parent. I think they call things like this “accidents” for a reason. I find your need for vengeance alarming. The article strongly hints at a lack of drug or alcohol use.

What possible legitimate excuse could there be for crossing over the double yellow line, much less killing someone on the other side of the road? If taking the driver off the road forever is vengeance, than I’m all for it.

There vertually hundreds of reasons that one might legally cross a double yellow line.

A “double yellow” line means that traffic in both directions may not cross for the purpose of “passing”. The fact that there are two solid yellow lines does not add to the danger of crossing a single solid yellow line.

The law does not prohibit crossing a solid yellow line except to pass. An example of a legal reason to cross a double yellow line is while making a left turn.

Having said that, I am not defending this guys crossing of a double yellow line at that particular time.

I will say that a recently passed law is causing major problems of roads like this. That law is having to stay 3 feet away from bicyclists I ride motorcycles and have passed a group of bicyclists while going down hill. I stayed the required 3 feet away. Shortly after passing them, they caught up with me and passed me on the right without leaving the required 3 feet. Bicyclist.are not required to stay away from motor vehicles but motor vehicles are required to stay away from them.

What is the “major problem” you speak of?

If a cyclist passes you on the right and a collision results, it is the cyclist’s fault in most cases. The danger is to the cyclist and such an action is generally “at his own risk.” (The one exception is if you make an unsignaled turn or lane change across his path.)