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Helmetless Cyclist Suffers Traumatic Head Injury at Avenue 64 and Church Street

On the night of June 16th, 2013 at approximately 10:55 PM, residents of Garvanza were alerted to an accident after hearing screeching tire wheels just outside their homes. A helmet-less cyclist heading south on Avenue 64 after rounding Avenue 64 at Burleigh was observed to speed-wobble, possibly as he tried to break to slow his speed, witnesses said, apparently as he entered the intersection of Avenue 64 and Church Street. The 43 year old man was observed to have been thrown off his bike, landing head first onto the pavement where he remained unconscious for 15 minutes before the Fire Department arrived and took him to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena. This incident traumatized neighbors and only served to remind them that the high velocity with which vehicles and bike riders travel south on Avenue 64 remains a problem even though 4-Way Stops Signs were placed at the intersection just a few years ago demanded by residents of both Los Angeles and Pasadena. At this first phase intervention to control speeds on Avenue 64 has not worked to the degree we needed it to, it has become necessary that these two cities support the installation of traffic lights to control vehicular speeds to ensure complete stops are made by all travelers on the road. Speed humps on Church will also need to be granted. Please look out for future calls to action as the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers in the area become the motivating force behind launching a new updated effort. Meanwhile, in regard to the cyclist, we understand that he got through surgery, but his prognosis is not known at this time. We hope for his recovery, but the extent of his massive head injury was great due to the high speed in which he hit the pavement

nonoise June 19, 2013 at 01:15 AM
Speeding bicyclist that do not stop for stop signs!! Cite them!! No more stop lights.
Noel McCarthy June 20, 2013 at 01:38 AM
It truly was a horrific scene. So sad for that rider and his family. Just tonight a large party of riders blew through the same stop sign at speeds greater than car traffic - most without helmets. So dangerous...! This intersection is completely dysfunctional. Within 10 minutes - As the neighbors stood by after the paramedics pulled away - not one but two cars blew through the stop sign at full speed. There are no crosswalks and each rush hour there several near accidents. I'd love to hear suggestions as to how to fix it - because it's not acceptable as is. Just speaking with people around the neighborhood there is a great deal of support for a better solution. The Hillside School officials support a change - as does the Church. To reiterate what was already said in this post - there will be a neighborhood meeting in the near future to discuss options and ideas.
elozano June 20, 2013 at 09:20 AM
I live on Ave. 64. Speeding cars and bikes are a problem moving south and moving north. My neighbors who live on the southbound land have had their cars hit by speeding motorists, one of which died some 3 or 4 years ago. I've called the LAPD N.E. division to report the problem. Nothing comes of it. More needs to be done for respecting the traffic laws on this street. Its kind of ignored by both LAPD and Pasadena PD. I rarely see them.
Culley O. June 20, 2013 at 11:44 AM
We bikers have to collectively get better about riding with respect for the rules of the road. LA drivers have no understanding of how to coexist with bikes, and LA drivers will never bother if we bikers don't take the first step and show them how it can be done.
Michele June 20, 2013 at 12:22 PM
The stop signs at church & 64 are almost a joke, yes people do stop, briefly, but they do not yield to the traffic stopped on either side of Church, or to those turning left onto Church. Not sure who’s jurisdiction this is LAPD or PPD, but they could make a fortune citing drivers. Too bad about the bike accident, I live on Church and did not even hear about it ’til I read it here!
Michael Blanchard June 20, 2013 at 02:01 PM
This is a sad and entirely preventable event. We cyclists need to ride safely and legally, and we need to wear helmets. Even though the law does not require them for riders above the age of 18, common sense does. I hope for the sake of the man and his family that he recovers.
elmo June 20, 2013 at 02:09 PM
Those stop signs at Church St. haven't completely solved the speeding problem on Ave. 64, but they were and are a major step in the right direction. Before the stop signs, it was unsafe and practically a freeway with all the noise generated by speeding traffic. As far as the cyclist is concerned, it seems there was a lot of bad judgement involved.
Lauren June 20, 2013 at 02:42 PM
I travel up and down Ave 64 daily and always have issues at this stop sign. It's an unusual layout for an intersection as all four parts don't meet evenly. Most people who I assume don't travel this frequently do not realize they have to yield to the traffic on church.
Bob Bailey June 21, 2013 at 09:37 AM
All the bikers need to do is STOP at stop signs. Oh but it's hard to get started again. If they don't stop when there on their bikes there not stopping when they're in their cars.
Marino June 23, 2013 at 01:35 PM
In this "story" a lot of assumptions are being made based on the author's biases. The only witness account seems to be the sound of screeching tires and the rest is filled in to fit the author's agenda. Screeching tires? I've never heard screeching bike tires. Maybe there was a car involved? Speeding bikes? Yes, bikes can go fast downhill but not faster than 30mph which is the posted speed limit. If I were to jump on the assumption bandwagon I'd say that the cyclist was going fast as fast bikes can go downhill (25-30mph) and was forced to the side by a car speeding at 50+ mph as they often do. The side of the road has much worse pavement and this caused the cyclist to lose control.
Armez June 23, 2013 at 05:35 PM
"witnesses said"... Who are you?
Marino June 23, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Witnesses said to whom? To you personally? Something you read online? Link? Sorry but the timeline doesn't add up. First we hear screeching tires (a sound bicycles don't produce) and then we go out and see a wobbling speeding cyclist.
Bob Bailey June 23, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Yes Marino You won't hear a bike tire screeching. But if you think a bike will only 30 mpg down hill. Wrong. Most of the bikers do not obey the laws. They have no regard for any law. Marino you maybe the only biker in Highland Park that stops for stop signs.
nonoise June 24, 2013 at 11:16 AM
Most bikers do not stop at stop signs.
Marino June 24, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Where in the "story" does it mention the cyclist failed to stop at a stop sign? It doesn't even establish if there were EYE witnesses.
Bob Bailey June 24, 2013 at 07:09 PM
No it does not. But I speak from watching you bikers I see none that stop at any stop sign at any time. If they wort you bikers up we could stop raising taxes. When I grew up here In Highland Park we had three motor cops that would write their own mother up in a hart beat.
a June 25, 2013 at 02:51 AM
This man is my cousin, and what a beautiful soul he is. This was a ACCIDENT. Witness never stated seeing him pass thru stop signs or riding at an unsafe speed. Please be respectful to the seriousness and sadness of the situation. Advocate in your city safer bicycle/ vehicle laws so your loved ones can avoid ACCIDENTS like this.
Noel McCarthy June 26, 2013 at 12:47 AM
I am so sorry to receive word that he did not survive the accident. Our heart goes out to you and all his family. May we know his name to give proper tribute?
Margaret Garcia-Moreno June 26, 2013 at 12:59 AM
Jose Cuellar
Danielle Jimenez June 26, 2013 at 02:19 PM
I am appalled by the level of assumption and criticism on this comment board. Jose (Joey) Cuellar was my cousin and an incredible, loving, all together great being! I will not disregard the fact that some precaution could've been taken to avoid the loss of his life but to take it as an opportunity to criticize bikers is down right sickening. Plain and simple, a man lost his life because someones lack of awareness, whether that be himself or a driver of a vehicle. Nonetheless, have some respect. There has obviously been past occurrences at this intersection and I hope proper action is taken so the pain that our family has gone through, and continues to go through, can be prevented.
Armez June 27, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Condolences to the Cuellar family. Devastating news. So sorry for your loss. Peace.

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